Bottomless Portafilter Spraying – Why and How to Fix It Like a Pro

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A bottomless portafilter is an excellent tool for observing espresso extraction issues. But, sometimes, you may notice an abnormality in extraction when using one that seems like spraying everywhere.

Your bottomless portafilter can spray for a variety of reasons. In general, improper distribution of ground coffee and poor dosing technique cause the issue. Another common reason that causes this problem is selecting the wrong grind size. If you are doubtful about what is creating this annoying problem, you may need to conduct several experiments to find the actual reason.

This article will share some common reasons why your bottomless portafilter is spraying and how to fix them.

Common Reasons and Fixes for Bottomless Portafilter Spraying

If you continuously face spraying issues with a bottomless portafilter, this section will help you identify the reasons and possible solutions.

Channeling, the Main Culprit

The most common reason for this problem is channeling in coffee puck. It occurs when poor tamping technique creates narrow paths in the coffee puck, and water passes through them randomly.

If a channeling occurs inside your portafilter during extraction, it may look like spraying espresso everywhere rather than dropping straight. Along with poor tamping and distribution technique, the too-fine grind can also be responsible for this issue.

How to Fix Portafilter Channeling Issue:

The simplest solution to this problem is to be good at tamping ground coffee. You need to use an espresso distributor tool as well to ensure no presence of clumps in the coffee puck. For extra precaution, you may try a puck screen during extraction.

Read: Best 54mm and 58mm Portafilters

A Coarse Grind

A coarse grind is not advised for espresso-based drinks since the grind will deliver under-extracted and sour espresso. Not only that, but also this grind can cause spraying issues when used in a bottomless portafilter.

The coarse-grind coffee puck’s density is thinner than fine grind coffee puck. The problem with a coarse-grind coffee puck is – pressurized water from an espresso machine goes through it faster than usual. Along with producing watery espresso, the extraction can look like spraying.

Solution: Using a standard fine grind for espresso can instantly solve the trouble. The best grind for espresso is a size between the coarse grind and the excessively finer grind.

Read: How to Get Espresso Puck Out from Portafilter?

The Insufficient Ground in the Basket

The spraying problem can happen if you accidentally fill a portafilter basket with insufficient ground coffee. For a single shot, you will need 7 to 8 grams of fine-grind coffee, producing 25 to 30 ml of espresso. In the case of a double shot espresso, you will require 14 to 16 grams of ground coffee and get 50 to 60 ml of drink.

If you fill the portafilter basket insufficiently and pull a shot, the extraction will happen too fast, which can also cause spraying.

Solution: In this case, precise measurement of ground coffee according to the number of shots is crucial. Using a coffee weight scale can be very helpful in brewing the exact amount of espresso.

Frequently Asked Questions on Portafilter Spraying

Is it okay if my bottomless portafilter is spraying espresso?

No. Any portafilter should drop espresso straight into a cup. You may be having any of the above issues unknowingly.

Is channeling and spraying the same thing?

Channeling can cause spraying; however, they are not the same. Channeling occurs inside a portafilter, whereas spraying happens during an extraction.

Read: Difference Between Pressurized and non Pressurized Portafilter

Final Words

The reasons behind spraying bottomless portafilter are very common. Besides, the solution to each issue is surprisingly easy without requiring technical knowledge. Perhaps, your problem is solved now. However, if the issue continues even after applying all techniques, meet a professional as soon as possible.

I currently reside at Millburn, NJ, United States. I'm a skilled barista and roaster known for my passion for coffee and dedication to creating the perfect cup. I have a strong following of loyal customers who appreciate my expertise and friendly demeanor. In my free time, I enjoy trying new coffee recipes and experimenting with different brewing techniques.

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