Baskets: what am I doing wrong, if anything?

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#1: Post by Lavazza »

I am getting a better espresso with my Pullman baskets than the much more expensive VST (UK prices). I have tried tweaking the volumes and grind etc but consistently I prefer the Pullman shot. Any thoughts before I consign the VST to my spares cupboard?

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#2: Post by bznelson91 »

There's been some discussion in other threads here lately. Sworks, Weber, VST, all of those companies making these crazy baskets, with not a ton of science to back up what they actually do. At the end of the day, refractometers, scales, baskets, graphs, etc. have never drank a single drop of coffee. If it tastes good, it IS good. :)

That said, I'm expecting a Weber Unibasket next week; I'll compare to my Decent stock baskets that came with my DE1PRO. Who knows what I'll find?


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#3: Post by lancealot »

Different coffees do better with different baskets. It's good to have a quiver. Search HB. Plenty of information has been posted about this.

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#4: Post by Jeff »

I agree that different baskets work better for different coffees.

I think that for more traditional blends and roasts, often medium-dark and darker, VST, Pullman, some IMS, and other high-flow baskets (including the recent crop) are often inferior in the cup to rounded or tapered baskets with reduced hole areas.

For light-roast espresso (Tim Wendelboe "filter" and lighter) I have a slight preference for my Puilman basket over VST baskets, either compared with or without Ahlstrom 909 bottom filters.

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#5: Post by Lavazza (original poster) »

I am sure you are right. In fairness, I have tried three slightly different coffee beans (arabicas, blends, medium-dark roasts) and so far I still prefer the Pullman shots; the flavours are more vibrant. The Pullman sets up easier as well. Yet they are very similar designs...

No point in overthinking it. For my taste the Pullman works better on my setup. Thats is what matters. And it saves me money! Thanks for your helpful thoughts.

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#6: Post by kye »

I've been experimenting with baskets recently too. I've used IMS ones for years, but bought the IMS Big Bang one a few months ago and have a Normcore one on order (one of the ones with thousands of tiny holes that go all the way to the edge).

I have been curious about the fact that the edges of the puck seem to be under-extracted compared with the middle, and the Big Bang was in the opposite direction to this, which I only realised afterwards.
In researching I watched a bunch of videos comparing different baskets and someone said something really interesting - that some of the crazier baskets that deliberately block off parts of the bottom might be deliberately under-extracting the coffee in order to produce an extraction with a greater variety in flavour to make a more complex shot.

Much of the discussion is around maximising extraction, which when combined with adversity to bitterness, pushes towards uniformity, but that's not always the goal for everyone in the cup.

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#7: Post by Pigeontree »

Didn't Hoffman say that Pullman baskets are his preference as well?