[Homeroast] Bottomless Portafilter

Samuel Goldberger sgold at sphere.bz
Tue May 4 01:44:36 CDT 2010


What Andy said. The primary purpose of the BPF (bottomless portafilter) is as a training tool, either for oneself, or for a barista, to verify that distribution, tamping and grind are correct. There are a number of videos on YouTube that illustrate this very well indeed. 

In a similar fashion, at Four Barrels in San Francisco, when you order a single origin shot at the side bar, the barista uses a BPF as a means of demonstrating to the customer that he/she is getting an optimal shot. Quite convincing.

What I learned in using a BPF with my Mazzer and La Cimbali Jr. is that once you've calibrated your technique reasonably well, you no longer need it, as you can get a pretty accurate sense of the shot quality by observing the stream of coffee as it emerges from a conventional portafilter. Since BPF's are quite expensive ($70-90 for a serious machine)--whether you purchase one outright or make one by sawing off the bottom of your spare as I did--I'm not entirely convinced that they are critical to the learning process. One might do just as well by inviting someone over to help you calibrate your technique, or simply by practice. 

But it certainly is fun and revealing. And it ain't no gimmick.
 
---
Samuel Goldberger, Ph.D.




On May 3, 2010, at 11:07 PM, Andy Thomas wrote:

> Ray, Are you confusing a bottomless pf with a blank pf ? or with a pressurized or nonpressurized one? Anyway, you got "Neither a bottomless portafilter nor any other magic will turn bad technique into a good espresso shot." right. But that is pretty much what everone else said too.
> 
> 
> 
> ________________________________
> From: "raymanowen at gmail.com" <raymanowen at gmail.com>
> To: "A list to discuss home coffee roasting. There are rules for this list, available at http://www.sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html" <homeroast at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com>
> Sent: Mon, May 3, 2010 10:43:43 PM
> Subject: Re: [Homeroast] Bottomless Portafilter
> 
> "I was wondering if anyone has tried a bottomless porta  filter..."
> 
> The bottomless portafilter is a gimmick.  Somehow, espresso drinks managed
> to get prepared well enough to gain quite the popular following before my
> string (2) of barista-prepared shots convinced me it was a complete waste of
> beans and machinery. Neither a bottomless portafilter nor any other magic
> will turn bad technique into a good espresso shot.
> 
> As supplied, the porta filter handle of my Capresso thingy had some carbon
> fiber pieces that come out with the removal of a single torx-head screw.
> When I first got the Crapesso, my questions to Hufford about removing the
> pieces to make a bottomless pf went unanswered.
> 
> With no answers forthcoming from the seller or manufacturer, that's carte
> blanche for me to find out on my own, Love it- checking how things work my
> own coffee pot. I already cracked the carbon fiber valve body when I
> followed the cleaner's directions. Ready to put some radiator Stop-Leak in
> it - almost. The Duesenberg hose clamp worked.
> 
> The output of the 55 watt pump had an apparent pressure relief valve on it-
> looked exactly like one, with the relief flow plumbed to the reservoir tank.
> No functional relief valve on the new "rebuilt" one either.
> 
> Bottomless porta filters are built-in to Crapessos. You can't thoroughly
> clean it unless you make it so, anyway- four complete surfaces in the pf
> could only be lightly rinsed before removal of the extra pieces.  P.poor
> performance for the clean freak that likes to see crystal clear water on a
> blank flush.
> 
> Save your money on the blank portafilter. Spend Wampum on a better grinder,
> whatever you have now.
> 
> miKe's right- if you already have a fire hydrant-sized grinder, replace the
> burrs unless you absolutely know they're almost new.  With only 400# use
> since new, my burrs felt wicked sharp to the touch.  *$ probably ground a
> lot more in the ten years on the previous burr maintenance tag. New burrs
> made an amazing difference after my mild home use.
> 
> Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
> 
> Got Grinder?
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