A couple of years ago, I used a Dremel tool to grind off the twin spigots on my espresso maker's portafilter. (Here's how to make one.) The result is called a "naked portafilter" (also called a "bottomless portafilter" or "crotchless portafilter").
Why make a naked portafilter? Four reasons:
1. You can observe the changes in color of the liquid espresso as it comes out of the filter, which is useful for timing your shot.
2. The espresso looks beautiful as it comes out (see some photos here).
3. It will accept a "triple shot" filter basket.
4. It's a good way to learn how evenly you tamped your coffee grinds into the filter basket — if you did a poor job, the espresso will come on in multiple streams.
I'm not a very good tamper, and often a tiny spray of espresso will squirt off to the side, hitting the counter, the machine, or me. It's a big mess. My friend Kent Barnes, also a naked portafilter enthusiast, suffered the same plight, but unlike me, he did something about it. He found a silicone cupcake liner that fits over the filter basket and cut a hole through it. Now the errant streams are reigned in, without losing the benefits of the bottomless portafilter.
Kent bought his silicone baking cups at Daiso (a Japanese "dollar" store chain), but any silicone cupcake liner with a top diameter of approximately 3-inches will do. You can trim off the top until you achieve the diameter needed to fit the filter basket.
[Photos: Kent K. Barnes / kentkb]
Wilton Easy Flex Silicone 3-Inch Reusable Baking Cups, 12 count – $10
Available from Amazon
Manufactured by Wilton