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Why Do Espresso Machines Have 2 Spouts?

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Portafilters on espresso machines have 2 spouts so they can brew 2 espresso shots simultaneously. Having 2 spouts doesn’t affect your espresso’s taste or crema compared to a single spout. Keep reading to find more differences.

As an espresso enthusiast, I want to optimize every aspect of espresso-making. That led me to research why portafilters on espresso machines typically have 2 spouts and whether they impact taste.

It doesn’t. However, you’ll need to pit it against other portafilter types to determine what portafilter you should use.

I’ll explain why portafilters have 2 spouts (in-depth). Then I’ll compare dual-spout portafilters to their counterparts. And finally, I’ll explain whether having 2 spouts impacts flavor and why.

Here is an overview:

Keep reading to learn more.

Key Takeaways

  • Espresso machines have 2 spouts to brew 2 shots at once.
  • You can still brew single shots with 2 spouts, you’ll need a bigger cup.
  • Single-spout portafilters are only useful for folks who use small espresso glasses.
  • Bottomless portafilters are only good for diagnosing.
  • Most of the time, you’ll want to stick with a portafilter with 2 spouts.

Why Do Espresso Machines Have 2 Spouts?

Espresso machines often have 2 spouts for serving speed and consistency. This design allows baristas to make 2 drinks simultaneously.

Two spouts in espresso machines split the flow evenly from one basket. This results in identical shots, offering consistent strength and flavor. It ensures each cup matches in quality, which is crucial for customer satisfaction.

The espresso flowing from both sides of the spout comes from the same basket and doesn’t affect the crema and taste of your resulting drink.

Commercial (business) espresso machines almost always include portafilters with 2 spouts. Most espresso machines for home use will include single- or double spout portafilters. 

Why should you use a dual-spout portafilter over its counterparts? Keep reading to learn why.

Why Should You Use a Double Spout Portafilter?

Why Do Espresso Machines Have 2 Spouts? 2

Its design, capable of pulling 2 espresso shots simultaneously, is great in busy environments like a café, where serving multiple customers quickly is key. That’s critical for delivering multiple drinks to guests quickly.

You also don’t sacrifice quality despite using multiple spouts.

Moreover, the double spout design inherently minimizes mess. Unlike bottomless portafilters, which can be prone to splashing and require precise technique. The directed flow of espresso into the cup from a double spout portafilter keeps the workspace cleaner and more manageable. 

This design choice is crucial in fast-paced settings where cleanliness and quick turnarounds are essential. Because you don’t want your baristas to waste their time cleaning messes caused by splashing from bottomless portafilters.

The versatility of a double spout portafilter also contributes to its appeal. It can cater to single or double servings. It’s a flexible tool for a variety of drink preparations. So long as you use the right portafilter basket.

You’ll need a single-shot basket that holds 8–10 grams of coffee for single shots. Then, a double shot basket, which holds 16–22 grams, is used for double shots.

I almost forgot about home users.

It’s less useful for home users unless you frequently drink doppio (double shots). If you do, using them at home has all the same benefits. Because you don’t want to waste time cleaning.

All portafilters have their purposes, though. I’ll compare them in the next section.

Summary: Use double spout portafilters if you brew more than 1 shot of espresso for any reason. But ensure you also use double shot baskets.

Portafilter Variations

The following sections will talk about these portafilters:

FactorDouble Spout PortafilterSingle-Spout PortafilterBottomless Portafilter
Extraction VisibilityLimited visibilitySimilar to double spoutExcellent visibility
Spout DesignDiverts coffee into 2 separate streamsDiverts coffee into a single streamNo spouts; coffee flows directly from the basket
Ease of UseUser-friendly for beginnersSimilar ease of use to double spoutIdeal for experienced baristas
Cleaning and MaintenanceMore components to clean dueFewer components to cleanEasiest to clean due to lack of spouts
Use CaseIdeal for high-volume settingsBest for single servingsPerfect for training, skill improvement
Crema QualityCrema can be affected by the split of the streamSimilar to double spout, with potential for better crema qualityPotentially better crema quality due to uninterrupted flow

I’ll compare the differences, along with the pros and cons of all the variations below.

There are also triple-shot portafilter baskets, but those aren’t common. And they’re only practical for people who frequently brew 3 shots at a time.

Let’s keep moving.

1. Bottomless Portafilters Explained

Summarized benefits:

  • Extraction Diagnosis: Shows the entire extraction process. Identifies issues like channeling or uneven tamping.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Offers a visually appealing extraction process. Attracts customers and coffee enthusiasts.

A bottomless portafilter, also known as a naked portafilter, has no bottom or spouts. It lets espresso flow directly from the basket to the cup.

This design allows baristas to observe the espresso shot as it brews, providing immediate feedback on extraction quality. It reveals issues like channeling or uneven tamping.

A 2-spout portafilter, in contrast, directs espresso through 2 spouts. This is common in traditional espresso machines. It’s designed for splitting a shot into 2 cups simultaneously. The spouts prevent direct observation of the extraction process.

The difference lies in visibility and feedback. Bottomless portafilters aid in honing barista skills, while 2-spout portafilters focus on serving efficiency.

Double Spout Portafilter vs. Bottomless Portafilter

Best for:

  • Double Spout: Folks who drink double shots frequently or coffee houses
  • Bottomless: Troubleshooting and training

Bottomless portafilters are messier than double spout ones due to not having a spout to direct the flow of coffee. However, they’re better for troubleshooting your shots to prevent espresso channeling.

They also (supposedly) do/have the following:

  • Retain less heat: Less metal for the machine to heat up.
    • It’ll cool off quicker when finished brewing.
  • More even extraction: Some baristas claim that it’ll result in a more consistent extraction.

Double spout portafilters are cheaper than their naked counterparts and easier to clean.

And that’s where the main differences end. Let’s compare the advantages and disadvantages of bottomless (naked) portafilters.

Pros & Cons of Bottomless Portafilters


  • Diagnostic Tool: Reveals extraction quality, showing issues like channeling.
  • Educational Value: Assists in improving tamping and grinding skills.
  • Visual Appeal: Provides a captivating extraction view for customers.

Bottomless portafilters are great for diagnosing espresso shots and have educational value due to giving you a glance at how your shot is extracted. You’ll need to watch for areas where there’s no espresso coming through to diagnose espresso channeling.

An issue that’ll lead to under- and over-extracted (weak and sour) coffee. This type of portafilter helps you identify where there are uneven grinds in your puck to help you improve your tamping technique.

If you don’t like the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) version, you can upgrade to an IMS or VST precision basket to further improve your shots.

It’s also pretty to watch, which is great for espresso enthusiasts who find themselves mesmerized by flowing espresso.


  • Mess Potential: Incorrect use can lead to splashing and mess.
  • Skill Requirement: Demands more barista skill for consistent results.
  • Limited to Single Shot: Cannot simultaneously produce multiple shots.

These portafilters aren’t ideal for brewing double shots since the espresso comes from one area. And when it flows, it’ll likely splash on you and your countertop when brewing.

It also requires some skill to use. Because you’ll need to know how to diagnose espresso channeling. Considering you’ve read this section, you’re likely patient enough to develop the skill to use this portafilter.

If not, the next portafilter is probably up your alley.

2. Single Spout Portafilters Explained


  • Single Spout: Directs espresso into a single cup.
  • Easier to Clean: With fewer parts, the portafilter is easier to clean.

A single-spout portafilter in an espresso machine directs espresso into one cup. It’s different from a 2-spout portafilter, which splits the flow for 2 cups simultaneously.

Using a single spout is more efficient for individual servings. It reduces the complexity of the brewing process and offers precise control over each shot.

Additionally, with fewer components than a 2-spout, it simplifies cleaning and maintenance. This makes it a popular choice for baristas focusing on single, high-quality espresso shots.

Dual-Spout Portafilter vs. Single-Spout Portafilter

Best for:

  • Dual-spout: Businesses and home baristas who frequently brew more than 1 shot.
  • Single-spout: Serving single shots.

Single-spout portafilters are portafilters that have one less spout. They’re better because they’re easier to clean because of this design.

Why would you need a single-spout portafilter?

If you don’t mind using wide coffee mugs to catch the espresso flowing from both sides of a dual-spout, you may as well stick with a double spout. However, if you want to serve it in small espresso glasses, then a single-spout is useful.

I don’t know what else to tell you other than to read the pros and cons.

Pros & Cons of Single-Spout Portafilters


  • Reduced Waste: Saves coffee when one shot is needed.
  • Consistent Extraction: Offers uniform extraction for a single shot.

As the name says, it’s a single-spout portafilter that ensures uniform extraction since espresso is flowing from a single spout. There aren’t any significant differences from their double spouted counterparts, otherwise.


  • Slower for Multiple Orders: Not suited for quick multiple servings.
  • Less Diagnostic: Doesn’t reveal extraction issues like a bottomless portafilter.
  • Limited Visual Appeal: Lacks the visual flair of bottomless portafilters.

Single-spout portafilters cannot diagnose issues with shots like bottomless portafilters, and they’re not good for serving multiple shots simultaneously. They also aren’t aesthetically pleasing to watch like bottomless portafilters.

No portafilter type is good for every purpose. If you’re serious about making espresso, you’ll need a bottomless portafilter until you master your tamping technique. Afterward, you’ll need to choose between a single- or double spout.

Your choice depends on how many espresso shots you frequently brew. Even if you seldom brew double shots, I recommend a double spout.

Because having 2 spouts doesn’t affect your taste and crema. Keep reading to learn why.

2 Spout Portafilter Impact on Espresso Flavor

The flavor of coffee from a double spout portafilter compared to a single-spout portafilter remains consistent, with no impact on the taste [1]. The design of the spout—double or single—influences the direction and division of the espresso flow, not the extraction process itself.

Here’s why the flavor remains unaffected:

  • Extraction Process: The quality and flavor of espresso are determined by the extraction process in the basket; double and single-spout portafilters use the same basket for extraction.
  • Even Distribution: So long as the extraction is even and properly executed, there should be no difference in the flavor of the coffee from each spout.
  • Crema Quality: The spouts do not alter the crema significantly as long as the espresso is properly extracted.

The choice between a double and single-spout portafilter is more about functionality and preference rather than a difference in flavor.

Summary: Having 2 spouts on an espresso machine portafilter doesn’t affect flavor or crema.

FAQs for Espresso Machines With 2 Spouts

Read on to find frequently asked questions about espresso machines with 2 spouts.

Why Do Espresso Machines Have 2 Steam Wands?

Espresso machines have 2 steam wands to simultaneously steam milk for multiple drinks, increasing efficiency in high-volume settings. This feature allows baristas to cater to a larger number of customers more quickly.


Portafilters on espresso machines typically have 2 spouts because it allows them to brew 2 shots at once. That’s ideal for businesses and people who drink multiple espresso shots daily. It’ll still work for brewing single shots, though.

Learn more about how espresso machines work by checking out our espresso machine parts guide.

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Tim Lee is, as you might have guessed the founder of He is a former barista and a professional web publisher. He has now combined his knowledge and expertise in both subjects to create
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