Bezzera Strega: differences between baskets of same size, different brands

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BartG
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Postby BartG » Jan 09, 2016, 2:35 pm

I'm considering buying a Bezzera Strega (upgrading from a Gaggia Classic) and been reading a lot about it. I'm kind of bewildered by the amount of info and practices there are available on this machine!

One of the things that puzzles me is that baskets of the same size but of different brands produce different results.

I now already own a ridged 21g Strada basket which I frequently use to make triple ristretto's on the Gaggia.
Can anybody tell me if there will be a noticeable taste difference when using a ridgeless 21g HQ basket (as recommended in some posts)?
It seems a bit silly buying the HQ basket since it's almost the same type as the one I already own...

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

erik82
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Postby erik82 » Jan 11, 2016, 4:01 pm

The Strada baskets don't work well with the Strega in my eyes (I owned a Strega for 4 years and a Strada basket). They need a finer grind and baskets that need a finer grind don't really work well on the Strega.

The EP HQ14 baskets, which holds 18gr, are by far the best ones for the Strega and really worth the money. I used them almost exclusively with the Strega. I didn't really like the EP HQ21 which holds 24gr but if you want to dose a lot then there the best triple baskets for the Strega.

Ellejaycafe
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Postby Ellejaycafe » Jan 11, 2016, 4:16 pm

erik82 wrote:The Strada baskets don't work well with the Strega in my eyes (I owned a Strega for 4 years and a Strada basket). They need a finer grind and baskets that need a finer grind don't really work well on the Strega.

The EP HQ14 baskets, which holds 18gr, are by far the best ones for the Strega and really worth the money. I used them almost exclusively with the Strega. I didn't really like the EP HQ21 which holds 24gr but if you want to dose a lot then there the best triple baskets for the Strega.

FYI the HQ21 ridged baskets are closer to 20-22 gram range. I like them better. I do like HQ14 gram ridge less though. They are perfect for 17-18 grams and make perfect pours. I only use the VST baskets now but have heard a lot of people have trouble with levers and VST baskets.
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Ellejaycafe
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Postby Ellejaycafe » Jan 11, 2016, 4:17 pm

BartG wrote:I'm considering buying a Bezzera Strega (upgrading from a Gaggia Classic) and been reading a lot about it. I'm kind of bewildered by the amount of info and practices there are available on this machine!

One of the things that puzzles me is that baskets of the same size but of different brands produce different results.

I now already own a ridged 21g Strada basket which I frequently use to make triple ristretto's on the Gaggia.
Can anybody tell me if there will be a noticeable taste difference when using a ridgeless 21g HQ basket (as recommended in some posts)?
It seems a bit silly buying the HQ basket since it's almost the same type as the one I already own...

Thanks in advance for any feedback.


For the price I would almost pick up every single HQ basket to play around with. They are pretty darn cheap and will last a lifetime in a home setting.
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baldheadracing
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Postby baldheadracing » Jan 11, 2016, 5:30 pm

Ellejaycafe wrote:For the price I would almost pick up every single HQ basket to play around with. They are pretty darn cheap and will last a lifetime in a home setting.

They're inexpensive in the US because EPNW has a policy of parts ship free in the USA. The OP is in Belgium; I am in Canada, Espresso Parts charges a hefty amount to ship outside the USA. Note that I am not complaining, just mentioning that both IMS competition and VST baskets may well work out to be less expensive then EPNW's HQ baskets once shipping is factored in. The Londinium folk seem to like IMS competition - although Reiss has demonstrated using the VST15 in his enhancement kit development.

On my Strega, I do notice a difference between IMS competition and VST, between stock and VST, but not between IMS competition and stock. These differences may well be entirely due to grinder settings and not the baskets themselves. Which I prefer depends on the coffee. If you really want a taste difference, try IMS "The Single" vs. anything else ...

Ellejaycafe
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Postby Ellejaycafe » Jan 11, 2016, 6:36 pm

baldheadracing wrote:They're inexpensive in the US because EPNW has a policy of parts ship free in the USA. The OP is in Belgium; I am in Canada, Espresso Parts charges a hefty amount to ship outside the USA. Note that I am not complaining, just mentioning that both IMS competition and VST baskets may well work out to be less expensive then EPNW's HQ baskets once shipping is factored in. The Londinium folk seem to like IMS competition - although Reiss has demonstrated using the VST15 in his enhancement kit development.

On my Strega, I do notice a difference between IMS competition and VST, between stock and VST, but not between IMS competition and stock. These differences may well be entirely due to grinder settings and not the baskets themselves. Which I prefer depends on the coffee. If you really want a taste difference, try IMS "The Single" vs. anything else ...


Ahhhhhh yes I didn't realize, nor did I factor in, his need for shipping outside the USA. That makes it a different ball game all together. I have never tried the IMS baskets but have always been interested... These days I find myself using the VST 18g exclusively or the EPNW 14 for finicky coffees. I really need to try some IMS baskets, the guys at EPNW suggests them highly and a lot of people here do as well. If I were the OP that's probably what I would get. Based on the plethora of posts I have seen from lever owners suggesting them they seem to work well in that respect.

So really the OP can spend months trying different baskets. I will leave it to Strega owners to comment on what they like best.
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erik82
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Postby erik82 » Jan 12, 2016, 2:09 am

Shipping is around 18 dollar so not a big deal (I ordered 3 times with them). You just have to email them directly to get a cheap shipping option for small parts like filterbaskets because the website indeed says around 40-50 dollars but that is meant for large orders.

Ellejaycafe wrote:FYI the HQ21 ridged baskets are closer to 20-22 gram range. I like them better. I do like HQ14 gram ridge less though. They are perfect for 17-18 grams and make perfect pours. I only use the VST baskets now but have heard a lot of people have trouble with levers and VST baskets.


This post just isn't true for the Strega. VST's are perfect for levers just not for the Strega. I could fit 22-24gr in the EP HQ21 on the Strega.

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another_jim
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Postby another_jim » Jan 12, 2016, 4:19 am

BartG wrote:I'm considering buying a Bezzera Strega ... One of the things that puzzles me is that baskets of the same size but of different brands produce different results.


It's pretty simple, but goes against the prevailing espresso mythology. If you put 14 grams in a standard Italian double basket, or 7 in a standard Italian single, you wiull get a well extracted shot with a pump machine. Because this is the US and bigger is better here, we use around 18 grams in double baskets and don't use singles at all. This requires a coarser grind and gets us underextracted shots. As long as we were roasting bigger and better too (aka darker), this sort of worked. But now, with the fashion of lighter roasts, the underextracted shots really bite. You would think that we'd just start dosing at 14 grams again, but noooooo, that would be an unamerican and wussy. Instead, we have VST and Strada baskets with "more precise" (aka larger) holes. Hallelujah! now we have a basket that can take 18 grams with as fine a grind as 14 grams in a regular basket, and we can pull properly extracted shots that are bigger and better.

Along comes the Strega, a machine with lots of punch. So much punch, in fact, that if you take an ordinary basket, fill it ith 18 grams, you need to grind as fine as 14 grams in a regular machine. Use a VST basket on a Strega, and you are down to a Turkish grinds. This has the advantage that it's impossible to get a shot that bites; but it has the disadvantage of often producing excessively soft shots.

So my two cents, avoid VST baskets unless you are using really light and fast roasts. Overload the regular baskets with around 18 grams. This will get you shots in the proper extraction range, and you can fine tune it from there.

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BartG
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Postby BartG » Jan 12, 2016, 11:05 am

Thanks everyone for the replies!

I'll do some testing when I have the Strega and report back here.

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BartG
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Postby BartG » Jan 28, 2016, 9:25 am

I've just received the HQ 14 and 21 baskets!
Only compared the HQ 21 (ridgeless) withe the ridged 21 I have.
The biggest difference is that the HQ basket holds less grams of coffee. When I have to dose 24g on a certain grind setting to get a nice pour with a bottomless pf, the HQ 21 "only" needs 23g, or a gram less...

Both shots on the different baskets were nice, but I welcome the possibility to get more or less the same taste with slightly less coffee...
For the rest I think comparisons are difficult on the strega since there're more variables on it than on a traditional pump machine.

 
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