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Benefits of modding to a bottomless portafilter?
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MikeSD
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Jan 2013
Posts: 53
Location: Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: De'Longhi EC155
Grinder: Hario Skerton, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Yama Stovetop 8 Cup
Drip: Hario Pourover
Roaster: Homemade SC/CO
Posted Tue Jan 28, 2014, 9:54pm
Subject: Benefits of modding to a bottomless portafilter?
 

I have a Delongi EC 155.  I currently have an unpressurized basket and a new steam wand tip on their way.  I have noticed that a lot of people are cutting their portafilters to make them bottomless.  I would like to know the benefit of this other than looking cool. Will it actually help my espresso shots?
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,036
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Jan 28, 2014, 11:06pm
Subject: Re: Benefits of modding to a bottomless portafilter?
 

Mostly it is a training tool and lets you see if your pucks are well done.  If you do all things right you see a pretty cone, if not sprites and sprays and mess.   It gives you a bit more crema but not needed.  Unless you get it done for free or do it yourself, I would not bother till you get a machine you will keep longer.  It cost me 35 or 45$ to get it done to mine.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,317
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Wed Jan 29, 2014, 8:50am
Subject: Re: Benefits of modding to a bottomless portafilter?
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

Mostly it is a training tool and lets you see if your pucks are well done.  If you do all things right you see a pretty cone, if not sprites and sprays and mess.   It gives you a bit more crema but not needed.  Unless you get it done for free or do it yourself, I would not bother till you get a machine you will keep longer.  It cost me 35 or 45$ to get it done to mine.

Posted January 28, 2014 link

+1... including don't "bother till you get a (better) machine."  You already have enough on your hands.  

Diagnosing distributional problems aside, my primary reasons for using a naked pf regularly are (a) it looks cool; and (b) is easier to clean than a spouted pf.  On the other hand, I tend to get distracted by and overrate the importance of visual flaws which don't affect "in the cup" qualities. So, I switch on the bases of whim or frustration.  

BDL
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,036
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Jan 29, 2014, 9:30am
Subject: Re: Benefits of modding to a bottomless portafilter?
 

BDL, please watch your tone, I am sure you don't intentionally want to dismiss and discourage new people and cause hurt feelings.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,163
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed Jan 29, 2014, 1:44pm
Subject: Re: Benefits of modding to a bottomless portafilter?
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

BDL, please watch your tone, I am sure you don't intentionally want to dismiss and discourage new people and cause hurt feelings.

Posted January 29, 2014 link

see...I told you, you should have applied for one of the open moderator positions! ;)

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,854
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
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Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
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Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
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Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu Jan 30, 2014, 7:17am
Subject: Re: Benefits of modding to a bottomless portafilter?
 

After you become practiced at pulling shots and no longer need it for that, the biggest advantage I see is that it provides more room under the group for different cups, on some machines, that can be a lot of difference in room.

 
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Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,050
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Thu Jan 30, 2014, 7:53am
Subject: Re: Benefits of modding to a bottomless portafilter?
 

calblacksmith Said:

After you become practiced at pulling shots and no longer need it for that.

Posted January 30, 2014 link

I remember the first time I used a naked PF. Even though I already had a bit of experience in preparing espresso back then, I was quite nervous, because I had been reading a lot about a naked PF making a mess unless you got your dose distribution and tamping perfectly right. What a surprise! Beautiful tiger stripes and no spraying right from the first extraction. So, it's not that difficult after all.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,163
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Jan 30, 2014, 8:08am
Subject: Re: Benefits of modding to a bottomless portafilter?
 

NobbyR Said:

I remember the first time I used a naked PF. Even though I already had a bit of experience in preparing espresso back then, I was quite nervous, because I had been reading a lot about a naked PF making a mess unless you got your dose distribution and tamping perfectly right. What a surprise! Beautiful tiger stripes and no spraying right from the first extraction. So, it's not that difficult after all.

Posted January 30, 2014 link

I think your pre-naked pf experience made the difference for you.  I has a similar experience.  I can't remember when I got my first naked pf, but it too was after I had a few years under my belt.  The people who are most likely to experience large sprites and sprays going every which way are going to be newbies, who haven't developed good distribution technique.  Of course, they'll be the ones who benefit most from the training aspects of using a naked pf.

Besides seeing areas of channeling (which is what gives you sprites and sprays), you can see areas of under or over extraction.  Basically, you are looking for a nice even extraction across the bottom of the basket, with the mouse tail developing and staying in the center, until what is commonly referred to as blonding (yeah, I have a problem with that term, as I think it doesn't accurately portray all of the changes to the stream), and you subsequently ending the extraction.

Wayne brought up an excellent point about head space under the group and pf for cups.  It really sucks to have to tilt a cup in and (especially) out of the area. Getting rid of the spouts can add a significant amount of height to the cup space.

...and as others have said...it just looks really cool!  So cool, in fact, that I find it difficult to tear myself away until the shot ends.

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,163
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Jan 30, 2014, 8:19am
Subject: Re: Benefits of modding to a bottomless portafilter?
 

boar_d_laze Said:

...don't "bother till you get a (better) machine."  You already have enough on your hands.

Posted January 29, 2014 link

I wouldn't kick your machine this way, but agree you should strongly consider if and when you might be upgrading, before you purchase a naked pf for the EC155.  The biggest reason is that your machine uses a basket size that is much less common and smaller than almost all of the machines you would probably consider upgrading to.  Most machines use 58mm baskets, your machine uses 51mm, I think, so if you upgrade, you'll probably end up selling any extra baskets and pf handles you purchased after-market.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,317
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Thu Jan 30, 2014, 10:40am
Subject: Re: Benefits of modding to a bottomless portafilter?
 

emradguy Said:

I wouldn't kick your machine this way...

Posted January 30, 2014 link

Not a kick.  It's a fact that the DeLonghi user faces temperature and pressure issues as well as the usual dose, grind and distribution challenges when it comes to making consistently good coffee.  

For someone in that situation, it's enough to use generic good distribution techniques like filling in the voids, leveling the top of the puck, and using the right sized tampers; and to watch out for egregious problems like slow flow, gushing and early blonding -- rather than trying to learn the manicuring lessons taught by a naked pf.  

My interest in espresso began in the late sixties, but I never thought much about making it at home until the eighties.  The only machines made for home use at the time weren't very good, but they were very popular Christmas presents.  Everyone I knew who had one became frustrated by their inability to make good espresso and lost interest quickly.  The DeLonghi is a step up from those machines, but -- and I'm sorry if this makes me a Billy Buzzkill -- not by much.  

Grampa Moe used to say that if money was your biggest problem, you had a good life.  Espresso is similar in that IF buying a better setup (machine and grinder) will make a world of difference, that's a good thing to know, to save for, and to do.   You can get a really nice combination, brand new, for $1000.  Not exactly cheap, but not beyond aspiration either.  And of course, you can buy even better for less if you shop used and catch a little luck.

But Wait, There's More!!!  It can't be said often enough:  The biggest improvement most people starting out can make, is better beans.

BDL
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