Which 'high end' basket

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.

#1: Post by pdx-climber »

So I'll start this off since Mr Hoffmann just published his 'get a good basket' video, and I was thinking of getting one anyway...

Preface - will be using in a QM M58 + DF64 with light roasts and low/no milk drinks if that matters...
18g +/- dose planned (1:2ish extraction)
currently have what the prev-owner used which he said was Espresso parts hq basket (I assume 20+g version but i could measure)
I do have the stock baskets that came with the QM

So... IMS has so many options its almost boggling... not quite sure what they do differently with standard vs competition.
VST is nice and clear - pick a size and ridge or no and your done. Similar for Pullman. I'd give VST the nod for heritage reasons alone.

Will use (for now) cheapish Apexstone leveler and/or Espro calibrated tamper (after DWT)... so not 'needed' a 58.4mm tamper would be a plus.
(Tho considering the V3 Decent tamper for the leveling feature)

Price is not a big deal (it's a ~$10 range on a ~$35 product... who cares).

Would I 'play' with doses up to 20g??? Maybe... but 18 is my go-to these days - but welcome the 'advise' of getting a 20g in whichever if the slightly lighter dose would be "as good" (we heard James suggest getting slightly bigger)

For reference, this is what I found for models for IMS... SO MANY!!!

CF3T195 18/21
GC2T051 18
IMS3T011 18/21
NS2T142 18/20
RC3T192 18/20

IMS Comp
B682TCH26.5E 18/20
B702TCH26E 18/20
B702TCH28.5E 20/22

IMS / E&B Labs
B702TFH26 18/20
B702TFH26NT 18/20
B702TFH28 20/22
B702TFH28NT 20/22
B702TH28.5M 18/20
B702TH28SF 18/20

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Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

I like the ridgeless EPNW HQ 14 (doses like an 18) for a forgiving basket. I think it is a good choice for those looking for a first "precision" basket, as well as those that aren't enjoying high-flow baskets (like the VSTs).

I've tried several of the IMS baskets and they vary in both profile (vertical walls vs. tapered) and hole pattern. I don't find the NT coating to be of value. They range in behavior from comparable to the EPNW to similar to the VSTs. I can't say that any is "better" than another. A lot will depend on your choice of coffees, extraction profile, prep skills, and tastes. I've gone back and forth among the IMS baskets I have.

For most "standard" machines, the B70 is the proper diameter. 2T is two "cups", 28,5 is a 28.5 mm depth, the suffix letter relates to the hole pattern.

A precision basket isn't necessary to make great espresso. The classic, stamped baskets work well, as long as you have one that was evenly stamped.

I like ridgeless as I prep my baskets out of the PF handle.

For my tastes in light roasts, including Nordic roasters, with my prep, and my flow-profiling machine, I tend to 17 g and VST baskets for my shots. I'm often in the 1:2.5 to 1:3 ratio range for these, with extended soak (not a classic, pump-machine profile). On an E61, I was much more mixed in basket preferences. I'd only recommend a high-flow basket, IMS or VST, once you've got your prep down and repeatability to the point that you can try one compared to something like the EPNW and decide if you like the process and results better for your gear, coffees, and tastes.

I'd stick with simple prep to start. Get the grinds into the basket as evenly as possible, a funnel for neatness, WDT to break up clumps, homogenize, and level, then "any" tamper that fits your hand well. Spend your money on great beans. There are no silver bullets in prep tools that I know of.