Basket Science or Propaganda - Page 2

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SteveRhinehart

#11: Post by SteveRhinehart »

civ wrote:Hello:


Hmm ...
I think the right definition is malarkey.

CIV
I'd say it's more like "sprover, but more fuss." We can already make great sprovers using standard baskets. Perhaps switching to a triple if headspace is an issue with the coarser grind. I'm unsure what a conical mesh filter is meant to add apart from an awkward part to find storage space for. I'd also be concerned that one of the main benefits of sprover - reduction of channeling through the bed - is actually reversed by adding a conical filter. Maybe it'll fit into a V60 01 and you can at least use it for manual brewing as well. Nonetheless, I'd give it a shot and see if it becomes available without the machine.



As for baskets in general, I'm a firm believer in one of VST's originally stated benefits: consistency between baskets. Put three VST baskets in your machine and you can reliably have shots perform the way you'd expect across all of them. These days that might sound trivial but I cut my teeth on a Rancilio Classe 8 that had one "weird" basket, and I know many other coffee pros can relate to lackluster baskets with off-center punches, incomplete holes, or uneven flow. Eliminating that concern leads to better espresso and less annoyance behind the bar. To that end, VST and the others who have put in the effort to make standard, quality baskets have my wholehearted appreciation.

For home use I don't know that any one specific basket is going to change your world. There are definite differences in flow rate and hole area (and hole coverage) which at least to me aren't exactly earth-shattering but perhaps could help you get the results you want. I've stuck with VST just because they're familiar to me. I've used them on bar, I've used them at work, and I'm content to use them at home as well. The generic baskets that came with my E61 machine look fine to my eye and probably pull fine as well. I wouldn't make a fuss if I had to switch over for some reason, I'd just expect I would need to grind a little coarser.

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cafeIKE (original poster)
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#12: Post by cafeIKE (original poster) »

SteveRhinehart wrote:I'd just expect I would need to grind a little coarser.
Basket shape?
Hole diameter / count / variance?

Why not lower dose, if any change necessary?

Care to 'splain why?

BaristaBob

#13: Post by BaristaBob » replying to cafeIKE »

Yes, why not (lower dose). Personally I'd try both, and have done both just to see which approach tasted better. In my milk based drinks sometimes lowering the dose causes them to become a little weak, other times it's the perfect fix...likewise with grinding coarser.

I guess that's the thing, espresso has a "mano" or barista component and with experience that is ever growing we can turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. Yum!!
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..I've come to drink you once again"

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SteveRhinehart

#14: Post by SteveRhinehart »

cafeIKE wrote:Basket shape?
Hole diameter / count / variance?

Why not lower dose, if any change necessary?

Care to 'splain why?
Simply because when I switched to VST baskets initially, I found I had to grind finer to get the expected flow rate and shot times as well as tastier coffee. If I were to come back to conventional my expectation would be to take the grind coarser than I have been using. But in the end I'd let the results in the cup drive my actual changes.

I'd prefer not to lower dose because I very often split my shots to have a single espresso and a small cappuccino, and I prefer to have at least 20 grams of espresso in the capp cup for most coffees. That's just a peculiarity of my preferred way to imbibe coffees and not to say that dropping dose wouldn't be an acceptable solution for others.

michang5

#15: Post by michang5 »

I'm raising my hand as a former newbie who ASS-umed - from reading Reddit - that I simply had to have a VST or IMS basket because it was mentioned in so many posts or was always included in the "must have accessories" lists.

Switching back to my stock Quick Mill basket was the single best move I made when I was trying to figure things out. Maybe I'll give the VST another try soon...

PIXIllate
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#16: Post by PIXIllate »

SteveRhinehart wrote:I'd just expect I would need to grind a little coarser.
This is the correct assumption. VST (and similar precision) baskets have a higher flow rate based on the size of the perforated area and the size of the individual perforations. I did a physical comparison of a large selection of more traditional style baskets and it's easy to see why they have lower flow rates and would therefore require a coarser grind compared to a VST to achieve a similar flow rate.

Basket Comparison (EPHQ, VST and OEM) - Added E&B Superfine

As for lowering dose there are many reasons someone may not want to do this. I drink nothing but straight shots and after a lot of experimentation I have concluded that for me my ideal amount of coffee in my cup is 27-32g. I also have a strong preference for a more concentrated flavour profile and enhanced mouthfeel.

Since getting my Monolith grinder I've found there is no longer any problems with pulling shorter shots and getting balanced results even with lighter roasted coffee. If I drop my dose much lower than 17-17.5 g I loose intensity of flavour and seem to gain no benefits. Some people may still be struggling with puck prep and get more even extractions with a larger headspace but I've found I like to minimize the gap (without actually touching the screen) to increase mouthfeel.

These "lighter roast ristretto" style shots simply taste better to me with 18ish grams in 27-32g out. Less liquid out and I don't have enough to enjoy two mouth filling sips, more liquid out and it suffers from dilution by comparison.

I can get good results with the EPHQ, IMS E&B and VST baskets. I do think the VST basket with the grind dialed in properly offers more flavour in the cup but admittedly this requires a (not insignificantly) higher skill level in puck prep to obtain consistently from shot to shot.

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cafeIKE (original poster)
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#17: Post by cafeIKE (original poster) »

PIXIllate wrote: This is the correct assumption. VST (and similar precision) baskets have a higher flow rate
¿Que? Precision baskets have considerable hole size variation:
cafeIKE wrote: LM 0.014 17.5g 30.0g / 25s
IMS 0.012 16.5g 29.5g / 25s
Syn 0.016 17.5g 30.5g / 25s
Precision baskets existed long before VST concocted their offering. VST baskets have a different shape from then typical tapered basket. The vertical wall results in a thinner cake, increasing flow. The IMS basket in the original post is more tapered than the LM and even more so than the Synesso, resulting in a thicker cake.

PIXIllate
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#18: Post by PIXIllate »

cafeIKE wrote:¿Que? Precision baskets have considerable hole size variation:


Precision baskets existed long before VST concocted their offering. VST baskets have a different shape from then typical tapered basket. The vertical wall results in a thinner cake, increasing flow. The IMS basket in the original post is more tapered than the LM and even more so than the Synesso, resulting in a thicker cake.
Which is why I stated VST AND SIMILAR baskets. The quote I was replying to was about VST baskets.

For a physical comparison of different tapered baskets see the link I provided.

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cafeIKE (original poster)
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#19: Post by cafeIKE (original poster) »

The link provided has a multitude of 'precision' baskets and thus I found VST AND SIMILAR obtuse.
It could be construed as "precision basket" :?

Similar how?
  • holes: shape, size, count, uniformity, pattern
  • shape
  • depth
  • inner polish
  • etc.
Since we're talking precision, let's be precise :wink: Precision baskets are bling

FWIW, I have 3 sizes of Synesso precision baskets that are at least 15 years old, i.e. predating ♦♦♦* by at least 5 years. A short double, a 'standard' double and a triple. With a dose that does not contact the screen in the shortest basket, flow is nearly identical in the standard and triple.

All other parameters similar, if the shape, and thus depth, ain't the same, likely neither is the flow.

Before anyone plunks down cash on a basket expecting a miracle, they should read How filter baskets affect espresso taste and barista technique:

"It is impossible to gather data for these baskets on all machines, all coffees, and all grinders. This study looked at each basket using one grinder, one coffee and one machine. The guiding assumption is that the data gathered from this will indicate how the baskets perform in general."

and

"♦♦♦ claims that its baskets are more consistent in commercial operation than regular baskets. The study does not support this claim. Random shot to shot variation is large enough that the differences in conventional baskets are only a minor exacerbating factor. Moreover, the narrower dosing range of the ♦♦♦ baskets means that it amplifies small random errors in grind and dose. In this study, this added error proneness offset any gain from tighter manufacturing tolerances."

Admittedly, the study is 10 years old and grinders, techniques and tools have made giant strides.

* redacted to avoid legal complications.

erik82

#20: Post by erik82 »

Precision baskets can give better results if one has all the main components completely under control. And even then it depends on type of roast and origin. For a beginner I would always advice to NOT start with VST or IMS baskets but with the stock basket as they're much more forgiving. Especially with a brand new grinder and burrs that need to be broken, in giving a less then optimal grind distribution, which is even more exaggerated by VST of IMS baskets. Then you'll be going mad.

For me the main key to these baskets is consistency in a commercial environment. And because you need to grind so much finer and not every grinder is capable of that the struggle continues. So in general it's best to stay away from them until you master all aspects of espresso making and really know the limits of your equipment.

That being said for a Strega I would advice to buy the EPHQ baskets as soon as possible as they give so much better results without the fuss, but that's specific to that machine as it's kind of in it's own class.

Things like a bottomless portafilter, good diameter tamper and simple 0.1gr scale and timer are much more important for beginners in getting everything under control.