Bottomless Portafilter: Everything You Need to Know!

By Evelina •  Updated: 01/13/22 •  8 min read

The Best Answer:

Bottomless portafilters are for beginners who are still learning how to produce even shots. The benefit of using a bottomless portafilter is that it makes it easier to see and control the airflow and pressure, which means you can fine-tune your extraction process until you develop a good rhythm.

A bottomless portafilter is a great way to improve your espresso shots. By using a bottomless portafilter, you can learn how to produce an evenly tamped and consistent shot. This guide will show you everything you need to know about using a bottomless portafilter!

What Is A Bottomless Portafilter?

A bottomless portafilter is a device that looks like a normal espresso portafilter, but with the addition of an open bottom. This allows you to see if your tamp was sufficient and even throughout the shot. This is great for beginners who are still learning how to produce even shots. You can also learn how to see the flow of espresso and go from a thick 8 oz. cappuccino-like texture to a nice rich 1-2 oz. micro-foam like texture!

When compared to the traditional portafilter, shots pulled through the bottomless portafilter will have a much easier flow. This is because less resistance will be met throughout the extraction process. Since you can see the flow of espresso, it will be easier to correct any deficiencies within your technique. For instance, if you see that there is no crema or the shot is coming out too fast, you can make the necessary adjustments.

Bottomless portafilters do not come standard on all espresso machines. You’ll need to purchase one separately, depending on the machine you are using.

Why Use A Bottomless Portafilter?

Now that you know what a bottomless portafilter is, you might be wondering why you should use one! There are a few reasons:

1) To Fine Tune Your Tamp

The first reason you should use a bottomless portafilter is that it makes it easier to control the airflow and pressure. This means that if your shots are coming out inconsistently, you can fine-tune your tamp and airflow until you develop a good rhythm.

2) For Visual Aids

Using a bottomless portafilter is like having the answers to every test in front of you. It allows you to see what’s happening inside your espresso machine during extraction. You can observe this by watching the flow, color, and texture. When you use a bottomless portafilter to do this, it helps improve consistency because you become more aware of what’s going on.

3) You Can See If Your Tamp Was Even Throughout The Shot

The third reason you should use a bottomless portafilter is that it makes it easier to see whether you have a good tamp and if the tamp is even throughout the shot! This tool is very helpful in learning how to produce even shots.

4) For A Deeper Clean

Our favorite reason for using a bottomless portafilter is that it helps give your machine a deeper clean! You might notice small bits of coffee grinds around the group heads. These are usually packed inside the walls of your group gasket and can be hard to remove! However, when you use a bottomless portafilter, the grinds fall right through into the tray. This is one way to make sure your machine is staying clean and fresh!

5) Taste And Quality

Using a bottomless portafilter will help you develop an even extraction which means more balanced shots. This also makes it easier to see the flow of espresso (from start to finish), which will improve the overall taste and quality of your shot.

6) Training Reasons

The final reason you should use a bottomless portafilter is that it makes training easier. It does this by making it easier to monitor and understand what you’re doing. It lets you “see” your shots, observe the espresso, and identify deficiencies in your technique. So if you’re looking to improve your latte art or just get better shots overall, this is one of the best ways to do it!

How to Use The Bottomless Portafilter

Now that you know about the benefits of using a bottomless portafilter, you might be wondering how to use one! The process is actually pretty simple.

1) Make Sure It Fits Your Espresso Machine

The first step towards using your bottomless portafilter is making sure it will fit inside your machine. Most bottomless portafilters will fit inside the group head, but some may need to be attached to the steam wand for stability. When attaching it to your steam wand, make sure not to burn yourself by testing the temperature before placing it on!

2) Grind Your Coffee

Now that you’ve prepared your bottomless portafilter, you need to start grinding your coffee. Put the proper amount of coffee inside the ground basket and make sure it’s evenly distributed. A bottomless portafilter is more difficult to level than a standard portafilter, so this might take you a few tries to get it right.

3) Tamp Your Coffee

Once the coffee is evenly distributed, you want to make sure it’s tamped securely. If your bottomless portafilter sits on top of the ground basket, then this will be pretty simple because you can just “feel” that it’s secure.

4) Experiment With In-And-Out Movement

After the coffee is tamped securely, you might notice that there’s a small amount of space between the top of the portafilter and the top of the basket. It can be difficult to get all of this espresso in without “shorting” it, which means it’s watery and not able to develop crema. To fix this problem, try moving your portafilter in an out motion while holding down the top firmly with your tamper. This should push any excess air out and ensure you’re getting it all!

5) Pull Your Shot

Now pull your shot like you normally would! Remember that using a bottomless portafilter will make the espresso flow more quickly, so you might need to do less of an in-and-out movement or use slower speeds. This is simply because it’s easier to extract since no obstacles are blocking the group head!

Where Can You Buy A Bottomless Portafilter?

Now that you know all about bottomless portafilters and what they can do, you might be wondering where you can find one! Fortunately, there are a variety of options.

1) The Easiest Option: Your Local Coffee Shop!

If your local coffee shop has an espresso machine, then it’s probably got a bottomless portafilter! This is by far the easiest option because they’re usually glad to help you learn how to use it and walk you through the process.

2) Buy An Expensive Bottomless Portafilter On Amazon

This might seem like an expensive route, but high-quality bottomless portafilters can be found for about $60-$70 on Amazon. While this is more expensive than many models, you get what you pay for with these portafilters because they are of significantly better quality.

3) Buy A Cheap Bottomless Portafilter on eBay

If you’ve got some time and patience, then it’s possible to find a bottomless portafilter for a fraction of the cost on eBay. You can often find them in good condition for around $20-$30, which is a much more reasonable price tag!

4) Build Your Own Bottomless Portafilter

The cheapest way to get a bottomless portafilter is to build it yourself! This can be difficult depending on your current skill level, but some great YouTube tutorials walk you through the process step by step. It might not be the easiest option, but if you’re looking to save money it is definitely possible!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a bottomless portafilter better?

Yes! A bottomless portafilter is definitely better than a standard portafilter! This model will allow you to pull shots that are richer, more flavorful, and just overall better.

Why should I use a bottomless portafilter?

Using a bottomless portafilter will make your espresso shots taste much better! Since you can easily see how the shot is developing, you’ll be able to adjust the process accordingly for richer brews.

How many grams is a bottomless portafilter?

Most bottomless portafilters hold around 18 grams of coffee, but this might vary depending on the specific model you’re using.

Last Thoughts

Bottomless portafilters are a great way to make your espresso experience the best it can be. They’re easy to use, and if you follow our instructions on how to properly use one (and where you can buy them), then there’s no reason not to give this new tool in home coffee-making a try! You’ll never look back. We hope that with all of the information we’ve provided today, you feel fully equipped for selecting and using bottomless portafilters at home. If any questions arise after reading this blog post or its conclusion, please don’t hesitate to reach out – we’re happy to help!

Evelina

Evelina’s passion for coffee could never been hidden. Having worked as a barista, she learned the true value of the coffee bean and its secrets. As she continued to evolve as a barista, so did her knowledge, techniques on making different coffee blends and most importantly how to operate every kind of gear when it comes to coffee. Having a degree in biomedicine and being a barista, allows her to provide our community with in-depth knowledge surrounding the topics of coffee.