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

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PIXIllate
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#1: Post by PIXIllate »

Baskets are an essential part of this seemingly impossible, ridiculous little task of making perfect, repeatable tiny drinks of coffee.

Many people have suggested that the ultimate answer to the question of which basket is "best" was not totally put to rest with the invention of the VST range of baskets. I have been using the VST 18g exclusively since receiving my new Profitec 600 a few months ago. Encouraged by people here and on the Kafatek forum I decided to buy some of the Espresso Parts High Quality baskets many people talk of having success with. The first hurdle (at least for me) was finding an affordable way of buying them, as Espresso Parts does not ship to Canada for reasonable rates. Luckily I found an old post here that recommended a Canadian retailer:

https://coffeeaddicts.ca/collections/es ... ter-basket

After a week or so the baskets showed up. My initial reaction was that they seemed to be pretty much identical to the Profitec/ECM OEM baskets. I decided to do a physical comparison. Below are the photos.











I struggle to tell the difference between the EPHQ14 Ridged and the double Profitec/OEM supplied basket. Similarly I struggle to see differences between the EPHQ21 and the triple basket that came with my ECM bottomless portafilter. The interesting one here seems to be the EPHQ14 ridgeless which is physically very close to the same size as the VST 18g basket but the hole pattern on the bottom covers a MUCH smaller area.

As a brief initial comparison I pulled a few shots of the coffee I currently have open, The People Daily from Social Coffee. Medium roast, very smooth comfort blend of Brazilian and Colombian coffees.

The shots were pulled to the roasters recommend 18-18.5g dose with 42-44g out in 25-28 seconds. First in the VST 18g basket, then I repeated the shot in the EPHQ 14 ridged/tapered basket and finally in the EPHQ14 ridgeless/straight sided basket. Grinder setting was not changed. All shots were prepped the same with WDT and leveling before the tamp which I visually confirmed was level for each shot with the tamper standing in the basket.

Here's what I got out:

VST 18g - 18.5g in - 44.4 out in 27 seconds
EPHQ14 ridged/tapered - 18g in - 43.1 out in 30 seconds
EPHQ14 ridgeless/straight - 18.5g in - 43.7 out in 28 seconds

There is obviously not enough data here to draw any conclusions from but it does appear that the EPHQ baskets do slow down shots compared to the VST. As for taste I had a small preference for the EPHQ baskets as they seemed to bring out more cocao and caramel than the VST but that could be just normal shot to shot variance.

Thoughts?

ADDITION:

I just received the E&B Superfine 18g basket so I thought I would add it to this visual comparison.

It would appear to be similar in volume and hole pattern to the EPNW14 ridgeless but with a taper to the bottom part of the basket that more resembles the EPNW14 ridged. Additionally it's major feature is a very fine mesh screen that appears to have been micro spot welded to the inside bottom of the basket. I've done my best to provide a look at how it relates to the hole pattern.





foam2

#2: Post by foam2 »

I found the stock ecm triple screen to flow slower than the vst as as well.

John49

#3: Post by John49 »

Baskets with a reduced perforation area will reduce the EY%, primarily due to the lack of holes near the basket wall. When you knock out the puck you will notice a dark ring of under extraction around the outer edge of the puck. One of the Decent Diaspora demonstrated this by re-extracting cookie cutter sections from a spent puck. I've switched from my once favourite Reneka micro sieve to a VST 15g and gone from 19g down to 16g.

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Jeff
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#4: Post by Jeff »

EPNW 14 is a forgiving basket, and one that works well with pressure-driven profiles. It seems to be more tolerant of weak puck prep than VST/DE and most IMS baskets.

On a DE1, using a flow-driven profile, its behavior is unsatisfactory as it seems to "clog" during moderate flow rates.

For a classic pump-driven or lever machine, I still consider it a basket worthy to explore. Its modest price adds to its value.

PIXIllate (original poster)
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#5: Post by PIXIllate (original poster) »

Watching the flow from these does seem a little odd after using the VST that has almost complete coverage of the bottom. I can't say I noticed any improvement in terms of how the shot came together and poured but I have clean pours from the VST all the time so I guess that's to be expected.

Jeff, what kind of shots are clogging? Blooming shots that use a very fine grind?

I really think it ended up being a bit of a waste for me as the Profitec ridged double really does seem to be the same. At least the 14g ridgeless offers something interesting in how much less hole coverage there is. I can imagine the puck would look different in those areas. I don't have access to the Decent forum to check it out.

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Jeff
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#6: Post by Jeff »

PIXIllate wrote:what kind of shots are clogging? Blooming shots that use a very fine grind?
Yes, exactly. Fully saturated puck that sits for 30 seconds with no additional flow and then is then extracted with a flow rate of 2-2.5 ml/s. The EPNW 14 ridgeless shows an increasing pressure during extraction to maintain the flow rate. Typically you would expect a peak in pressure, then declining as the puck erodes. They hypothesis is migration of fines.

To be clear, the EPNW 14 ridgeless is a basket that I've enjoyed using with my E61, and works well for pressure-driven profiles. These profiles are comparable to what most pump-driven and lever machines provide. I can't say whether it improves "donut" tendencies, or merely hides them due its shape and hole pattern.

Edit: As a note, I understand that there are only two "worthwhile" manufacturers of "precision" baskets.

PIXIllate (original poster)
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#7: Post by PIXIllate (original poster) »

Jeff wrote: Edit: As a note, I understand that there are only two "worthwhile" manufacturers of "precision" baskets.
Yes, I was under the impression that there was VST(manufactures the Decent baskets) and IMS. What I'm not clear on is who manufactures the EPHQ ones. How many OEM's are using those (potentially ECM/Profitec based on my observations here) and how much lower is the quality on other OEM's baskets?

I compared all the ones I had on hand. Which, when looking back at this, is WAY too many for someone who makes 3-4 espressos a day :)

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lancealot

#8: Post by lancealot »

Nice post. I have the 14g EPNW ridgeless and an 18g VST. I find the EPNW has a lot more "internal resistance" than the VST. I think these 2 baskets are on opposite ends of the extraction spectrum. I call the VST - fast, and the EPNW - slow. I have a breville basket that is pretty close to the VST but not quite as fast. Almost but not quite.
When I need to extract the most out of the coffee, ex: lighter roasts, I grind fine and use the VST. When I need to extract less, a whole lot less, cause I can't get rid of some nasties that come out when the coffee is extracted more, ex: darker roasts, I grind a lot coarser and use the EPNW. I might also use the EPNW if I am trying to under-extract in search of hidden acidity in medium to darker roasted coffees.
I use the breville basket for almost everything. It also happens to be pretty darn cheap.
https://www.breville.com/us/en/parts-ac ... 01880.html

PIXIllate (original poster)
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#9: Post by PIXIllate (original poster) »

lancealot wrote: When I need to extract the most out of the coffee, ex: lighter roasts, I grind fine and use the VST. When I need to extract less, a whole lot less, cause I can't get rid of some nasties that come out when the coffee is extracted more, ex: darker roasts, I grind a lot coarser and use the EPNW. I might also use the EPNW if I am trying to under-extract in search of hidden acidity in medium to darker roasted coffees.
This seems like a pretty logical approach. Funny thing happened right after I got these baskets. I opened a bag of coffee from a roasters that I had never tried and found I was struggling to grind fine enough to get anything longer than about 23 seconds even at/close to my touch point. Popped in the EPHQ tapered/ridged basket and I was able to open up the grind a few notches and still get a more normal 27 second pour.

I'm a bit stubborn and hard headed so I'll start with the VST even if it is fussier but if I run into shots that are timing well and still not tasting right I'll keep your notes in mind.

PIXIllate (original poster)
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#10: Post by PIXIllate (original poster) »

I've kind of put these baskets aside for awhile and gone back to just the VST 18g and 20g depending on coffee. The more I do this the better my puck prep becomes and the new. 4mm WDT tool has really helped. I'm now getting a basket that comes close to filling in all at once almost all the time and with the bag of Anaerobic Geisha I am drinking all the pours are coming together In a nice extended cone and finishing within a second of each other.

What's brought me back to this is I finally broke down and ordered a Monolith Flat. Is it just MAX users that are switching baskets to maintain shot times due to lack of fines or do people with the normal Flat experience this as well?