Okay, so here is my opinion/question/rant.
I call that one the question sandwich. a question layered in my own beliefs.
Naked portafilters have been toted as one of the biggest advancements in espresso in the past few years. They allow the barista to see the shot the whole way through, analyze what is happening from start to finish and on the espresso side; naked offers the potential for more crema, thus solids in the espresso, and create a longer chain of brew colloids, thus upping the mouth feel of the espresso. (or so some say). Clean up is also a breeze, less parts makes life easier, to go cups fit underneath quite comfortably. and there are many more plusses I'm sure (feel free to point them out)
At my shop we use spouts on all three group heads. We do this for a very specific reason. We have three sizes of drinks: 8 oz, 12 oz. and 16 oz. We put one shot in a small, two in a medium, and three in a large. We do this to keep consistency with our drinks. Arguably the ratio is not perfect, but this is what tastes best to us. We've considered moving to naked portafilter, however we can't get over the idea of getting rid of spouts and forcing us to only put two shots in a large. (We could of course get a triple filter, or we could keep one spout, but these options don't satisfy us, as we make a lot of large drinks.) My next qualm with naked portafilter's is pulling espresso out of them. it is forcing the barista to use a double basket to make a single espresso. I'm not saying you can't get a great shot of espresso out of this, however for me, I often find them far too acidic, and the espresso hasn't had a chance to fully develop. Especially since over cosing seems the norm these days, your pulling a single shot of espresso (often under a full oz.) out of up to 21 grams of espresso, what I would use at my shop to pull two shots of espresso. maybe I'm not seeing something, and again if it tastes better, then I'm all for it, but someone either enlighten me, or make me a fantastic espresso out of a 21 gram double naked portafilter.
Question: How is your machine set up? all naked? some spouts/naked? All spouts. Why?
Rant: I got nothing left. I guess what I'm saying is, as much as I appreciate innovation in espresso, This is one thing I haven't fully accepted as THE way yet. So why have so many others?
Also I am fully aware of the benefits of naked portafilters for training, and I support that fully!