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Crotchless Portafilter?


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This cropped up in one of my other coffee forums. Basically this guy Chris Tacy chopped off the bottom part of his portafilter, allowing the espresso to flow directy from the basket. The results (from those who tasted it) were pretty much unanimous - everyone who tatsed the shots from the chopped portafilter pretty much liked it over the ones pulled from a 'crotched' one. Take a look at his blog at


I'm sure you'll find it interesting. It makes me want to go out and look for a spare portafilter that I can play with for my Gaggia Classic.....

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Not to toot our company's own horn, but the two gentlemen who got this portafilter on the scene work at the same cafe as me.

The shots taste so incredible. If any of you live in Seattle you should swing by Zoka and try one. Just ask for the "crotchless" portafilter and the barista should know what you mean.

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Hi Kyle!

I'm really curious about the taste - just how different is it from the standard portafilter pulled one? Your post now makes me want to chop up my portafilter right now! Anyway, where did the idea come from? What was the inspiration? Thanks....

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Man, that espresso looks creamy and delicious!! Kyle, any idea what he used to cut the portafilter with? It might be time to invest in another one and do a test!

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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OK, first of all - i didn't invent the idea at all. as Kyle says, the folks at Zoka were the ones who not only came up with the concept, but did the first chop job and (more importantly) then chose to share the results with all of us.

They get ALL the credit for this one.

secondly - the portafilter was not chopped. the bottom was cut our using a holesaw and a drill press. you can actually buy modified portafilters from Terry at EspressoParts NW.

third - the basket in those photos is a LM triple basket. dosing is identical to dosing in this basket with a normal (uncut) portafilter.

fourth - tamping is actually easier with a naked portafilter. you can rest the portafilter on the edge of the counter and the combination of the large, flat surface created by the cut portafilter and the slight lip left from where the handle meets the portafilter base give you great stability. even with the LM triple basket, the bottom of the basket is high enough off the countertop to avoid transfering any substance to the bottom of the basket.

in terms of taste testing...

we have yet to have someone (in blind testing) choose the standard shot over the naked shot. we've pulled shots using five different blends and four different single origin espressos. we've tested on baristi and on customers.

in my humble opinion, the big difference is actually in the mouthfeel. the shots are more creamy and more rich and more coating. it's really nice! the flavour differences are, i would say, discernable and positive - but not profound.

the biggest value, however, is in training. this is arguable one of the best training tools of all time. problems with technique (distribution, dosing, tamping, anything!) become instantly apparent. it's really cool!


Edited by malachi (log)


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I think malachi sums it up best. Everyone at Zoka is astonished at how fast this swept the coffee world. There are "crotchless" portafilters all over the country right now, in Canada, and possibly Norway and Denmark. If you go to the forums on www.coffeegeek.com you'll find some threads detailing how to make one. If anyone living Seattle is in the Greenlake/Wallingford area, swing by Zoka today from 12-6 and your first shot is on me.


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If anyone living Seattle is in the Greenlake/Wallingford area, swing by Zoka today from 12-6 and your first shot is on me.

How about if I just stop by in January or March on my next Seattle visit. We can pretend that I live in Seattle and pretentd that it's really today. Will that work? :wink:

This is very cool. I'll not only be getting my own technnique worked out on some LM machien over the next several weeks but may be doing some training for new employees after that. Although the shops are standardized on Swift grinders, most of the baristi are still doing a final polish with a Reg Barber tamper before pulling the shots. I think we can probably get some useful understanding of what's happening with the shots by doing this.

Not to mention the fact that never before have I been able to see such gorgeous pictures of crema. It's sooooo much easier to see the tiger striping this way and it shows up very nicely in the pics. Hats off to Zoka for this one!

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I think malachi sums it up best. Everyone at Zoka is astonished at how fast this swept the coffee world. There are "crotchless" portafilters all over the country right now, in Canada, and possibly Norway and Denmark. If you go to the forums on www.coffeegeek.com you'll find some threads detailing how to make one. If anyone living Seattle is in the Greenlake/Wallingford area, swing by Zoka today from 12-6 and your first shot is on me.


I couldn't resist taking Kyle up on his offer, especially after enjoying the incredible creama on the photo's. It's for real, but something Kyle didn't mention about his making this type of espresso, is that it's his palette for making a picture on every cup of espresso he prepares. If there's going to be a Barista contest I'm backing Kyle all the way. You actually have to think twice before stirring and drinking your cup.

I hadn't stopped in "Zoka" previously but after serving my grandchildren 2 pieces of the Berry Pastries both large and very delicious it was fun to look at their berry blue faces with the big grins.

I'm pretty sure that this is the start of a new trend in elevating the appearance and taste of espresso, that will soon become popular all over the states.

Years ago in the non-automatic Espresso Machines we used a similar method for merchandising after dinner Vienna Roast De-café Coffee made to order in Mugs or large Cups in our Espresso Machine, at that time we made excuses for the "Creama" by explaining that the De-Café was prepared to order in a Pressure Filter. Customers really enjoyed that De=Café and more important liked it so much that they willingly paid extra for the second cup. [This was during the time when packet's of "Sanka" were very popular.] We purchased our Vienna Roast De-Cafe from the "Thanksgiving Coffee Company" in Fort Bragg, Ca. it was then excellent and I'm sure it's still superior today.

Drop into 'ZoKa" and drink a cup of intresting artistic Coffee, and you'll be able to say I was there when, but don't forget the Pastry.


I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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Hey Irwin,

Thank you for the kind words. I'm so glad you enjoyed the pie and the espresso. Make sure and come back and visit, we can talk some more coffee.

To anyone else interested, my work schedule is pretty sporadic for the next couple of weeks. There is a barista competition coming up soon and my boss was gracious enough to take me off of the schedule so I can practice. If you do stop by, just ask the barista on shift to make you a shot with the "crotchless" or "naked" portafilter.

Hope to see you all soon.


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