Image displaying espresso from the bottomless portafilter

Bottomless portafilters

About Bottomless Portafiltas for espresso machines.

First of all Bottomless Portafiltas are similar to standard filter holders.The difference being there are no spouts attached. In addition there is no underside at all.

This small change makes a big difference. When it comes to making coffee, this tool changes everything.  Furthermore it’s coffee like you have never tasted before.

Image displaying the drip of the coffee cone pour

The first drip of the cone pour.

The coffee pours straight from the basket into the cup. Consequently resulting in coffee having less contact with solid objects. Therefore the coffee is extracted in a more direct and natural way.

Consequently this results in the temperature being maintained. Giving  a thicker and tastier Crema layer,

Bottomless portafilta with a triple pour action

The beginning of the pour from the bottomless portafilta.

Crema is the result of oils from the coffee beans being heated up. Which is why it floats. In theory the more heat you have the better the Crema. Therefore the less disruption crema has on the journey, the thicker it comes out.

However it should be noted that if the water is too hot it will nuke the coffee resulting in less taste.

Image displaying the cone shape pour from bottomless portafilters

The central cone shape pour, achieved by tamping flat.

Build Quality.

Especially relevant between a good bottomless and a bad one, is the build quality.

Most of all there are some available that are ‘modified from standard’. These items have been crudely chopped horizontally.The chop leaves a nasty tatty sharp edge. This could prove to be very dangerous.

Image displaying La Spaziale Bottomless Portafilter

Happy Donkey bottomless are specifically moulded and then chromed afterwards and that is the important thing to watch out for. Our models are smooth and properly finished in the factory.

You can be 100% sure that when you buy this product from us you’ll get the best there is.

Buy bottomless portafilters online.


Bottomless portafilters come with a double 14G  or a treble 18G basket. The baskets are interchangeable. It is possible to use existing compatible single and double versions without any problems.

It should be noted that singles do not work very well. With the exception of the Marzocco single basket which works extremely well. Subject to compatibility. The known compatibles being Iberital, Faema and Rancilio.

Image displaying the bottomless portafiltas espresso shot.

Looking good as the crema builds this was a lovely tasting espresso shot.

Height Advantage – Bottomless portafiltas:

Using bottomless Portafiltas allows more height to work with when making coffee. Another advantage gained by absence of spouts. There is more room left between the chassis and the machines group head.  Particularly useful if you want to use a taller or ‘takeaway cup’ to serve your drink into. The spanish call this Alto.

Image displaying Spaziale bottomless upside down view

When the tamp is right the pour from the bottomless will resemble a cone shape. This is what what you should be aiming for.

A Great Barista Training Tool.

In order to get the best out of these you really do need to tamp straight. Failure to do this will result in channels of coffee shooting off in odd directions. For that reason it is now recognised as one of the best training tools for a barista available.

Images displaying crema from the espresso shot.

Settled Crema on one of the espresso shots.

Don’t let that put you off , the benefits of use far outweigh the down side. The bottomless can be laid flat on a tamping mat. This is due to not having a spout connected to the base.

Using your arm with the elbow above and almost in-line with your wrist, allows you to easily tamp straight, imagine your arm and coffee tamper in unison acting as a piston and you’re half way there already.

Most noteworthy is it really does not take that long to master the technique and it’s like riding a bike, you will never forget how to do it and you will be pleased you took the time to learn something new and useful.

In conclusion

Hopefully that’s bottomless portafilters explained. Making coffee this way is pure, raw and unpretentious. If the real taste of coffee is what you’re after it doesn’t come any better than this. If western cowboys had drank espresso, this is how they would have made it.

Espresso machine, grinder and bottomless, Happy Donkey Classic Brazilian or Italian coffee beans, job done !

Finally  thanks for reading this article.  Please feel free to add comments, viewpoint etc in the boxes below.

To get the most from a naked portafilter read up on tampers here.

7 thoughts on “Bottomless portafilters

  1. Mikegm

    Am in the throws of getting myself a new Gaggia Classic plus all the extras!!! Of course I will order a naked portafilter. The above article has been a very informative read. Do I need a double 14G or a treble 18G??

    1. Scott White Post author

      Hello Thanks for the comment. The machine will probably some with a 14G. As it is possible to swap the basket out on the bottomless, a treble (18g) basket would be a good choice. It will gift the ability to experiment.


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