Okay, so here is my opinion/question/rant.
I call that one the question sandwich. a question layered in my own beliefs.

Opinion:
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?
Teach me!

Also I am fully aware of the benefits of naked portafilters for training, and I support that fully!

Chris

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we use a single elektra filter that holds around 7 grams and get wicked shots. maybe were lucky. our blend maybe? i don't know exactly why, but it rocks.

Kevin Ayers said:
A sub-question... Is anyone actually using those single shot baskets that come with all machines? you know, the ones that have a very small area for delivery and hold roughly 7g of grounds? I think there is just no way to make good shots with those fawkers.

Our shops all have 3 group marzoccos, and we have 1 bottomless at every store. It is not mandatory for our baristas to use them, but most do as they realize the potential for better/fuller tasting shots. We still keep at least one double basket/double spout porta filter, and one triple basket/spouted porta filter on at all times. As I stated above, we NEVER use the single shot baskets or spouts. IMHO they are crap.
Single baskets may require a different grind from a double or triple, depending on the bean
when i use the single ones, need to have different grind and dose as well, to get good result.

Mike Benis said:
Single baskets may require a different grind from a double or triple, depending on the bean
Why do you think there is "just no way" to make good shots with a single spout/basket? We do it every day. Takes some practice, and produces a different kind of shot than the super-dense and concentrated double ristretto, but it is definitely possible to make good coffee.

Our singles float from 8-10g, dosing-wise, and we pour about an 1 1/4oz.

Mazzer Robur E, and an Arduino Adonis 3 group.
When I say there is just no way, it's just my opinion based on my own tastes/experiences.

How long does it take to extract the 1.25oz of liquid you're getting from those?

Chris Weybright said:
Why do you think there is "just no way" to make good shots with a single spout/basket? We do it every day. Takes some practice, and produces a different kind of shot than the super-dense and concentrated double ristretto, but it is definitely possible to make good coffee.

Our singles float from 8-10g, dosing-wise, and we pour about an 1 1/4oz.

Mazzer Robur E, and an Arduino Adonis 3 group.
on our single. we dose around 9g. to get to 1 1/4 oz. it takes around twenty to thirty sconds. depending on the day, grind, dose, etc. I still think it rocks though. I get better tasting singles out of that then I would splitting a double.

Kevin Ayers said:
When I say there is just no way, it's just my opinion based on my own tastes/experiences.

How long does it take to extract the 1.25oz of liquid you're getting from those?

Chris Weybright said:
Why do you think there is "just no way" to make good shots with a single spout/basket? We do it every day. Takes some practice, and produces a different kind of shot than the super-dense and concentrated double ristretto, but it is definitely possible to make good coffee.

Our singles float from 8-10g, dosing-wise, and we pour about an 1 1/4oz.

Mazzer Robur E, and an Arduino Adonis 3 group.
I use a linea 2grp and keep 3 portafilters on hand a spouted double fitted with a LM ridged Triple basket, a Chopped LM with the same and a spouted single with a cone shaped single basket. I use the single basket primarily to "season" after chemical backflush, as the "single espresso" I'd serve would almost always be a very ristretto triple cut short.

I think its impossible to avoid the diagnostic value of the Bottomless. You can tell by color, crema density, and a number of other factors if your temperature/dose are dialed in well, so you can add an additional and less subjective metrics when dialing in a fresh roast batch or new blend.

As far as the actual flavor in the cup, I think bottomless wins out only in milk drinks, where the higher apparent acidity allows the espresso to be more obvious in the drink. I'm not sure this means better however.

I find that in general the bottomless shot is brighter and less rounded out when drunk as basic espresso.
just my 2c
After much lusting, I got a naked portafilter on my Linnea last week. After just a few shots, I'd adjusted my dosing/distributing/tamping to get better, less channel-y shots more consistently...every barista that's used it has commented on it; for a fairly experienced staff, it's awesome to have such a transparent self-training tool. I do notice some differences in the shot quality in the cup--it seems to veer towards the sourish side of acidity sometimes. There's also slightly more volume and persistent creaminess to the crema, and definitely more defined reddish color. I wouldn't want to weigh in yet on whether this is (marginally) better or worse for the espresso, but as a sexy training tool that still makes highly servable shots, I'm quite impressed. I dream about setting up some complicated system of mirrors or videocamera/screens so that crew and customers can more readily watch the naked extraction...that'll probably have to wait.
A naked PF is absolutely paramount for me in successfully adjusting my grinder's setting. And in the beginning it was just as important in figuring out the correct distribution/tamping technique, boiler temp, and pump pressure settings.

After I get the shot dialed in for the particular bean I'm using, I'll just go and use whatever type of portafilter I want for a few days after that.

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