Basket Size, Dose Size and Extraction

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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#1: Post by JHCCoffee »

Saw a blog post by Matt Perger that suggested that smaller doses produced greater extractions. I presume that this is because if one doses lower, you have to grind finer to produce the same flow (ie output within the same time). And finer grinds extract more, all other factors being equal.

Still, I have stayed with the same dose (17 grams in an 18g IMS basket), to eliminate one variable. I then focus on the other variables (brew ratio - i.e. output; temp; pressure; water; coffee; etc.). The more variables one can eliminate (control) the better. Pouring tasty espresso shots is challenging enough, without introducing additional variables.

Still, does Matt Perger have a valid point? Should I be dosing lower, in my 18g IMS basket (I would think that anything less than 16g in an 18g basket is not a good idea).

So should I be using a smaller basket and dosing lower(such as 13g in a 14g basket, if this exists?)

What about using the maximum dose (18g in an 18g basket), or more?

Or following the third wave trend (dare I say American) of using high dose baskets and fully dosing within them?

All of this sounds like another rabbit hole to me. I think that I should stay with my standard 17g (in 18g IMS basket), unless I am convinced otherwise.



I understand that by comparison Italian cafes typically pour 7 gram singles or 14g doubles. The14g doubles are used to produce two 7 gram singles, through a spouted portafilter. This is in stark contrast to many American cafes that overdose large baskets. I very much enjoyed drinking cappuccinos in Rome a few years ago. It's considered a breakfast drink only. And most of the AM office workers lined up for coffee ordered and sipped a single espresso shot, generally without sugar.

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#2: Post by Jake_G »

I was going to chide you for asking a question that has been answered a million times already (it has) but, given the ubiquity of the terms "dose" and "basket", it is actually not very easy to search for these terms and quickly find the answers that have been given a million times. So, instead I'll point you to Jim's excellent post:
Espresso 101: How to Adjust Dose and Grind Setting by Taste

From here I would say that the only thing you "should do" is experiment with different doses, yields and grind settings and see what you prefer. There is no "right" answer.


- Jake
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#3: Post by cafeIKE »

JHCCoffee wrote:Still, I have stayed with the same dose (17 grams in an 18g IMS basket), to eliminate one variable.
All things are variable and should be changed per coffee / time of year / beverage.

FWIW, when a coffee is dialed, I seldom change the grind. I might adjust the dose as the coffee ages and shift a bit for a latte vs Americano vs a straight shot. It's my feeling that grind affects the flavor balance more than the dose and dose fine tunes the flavor balance.

As far as a NUMBERED dose, when I upgraded to a 0.01g resolution scale from 0.1g, consistency increased a quantum leap. Scale resolution is 1 count + 1 lsd. So, a 0.1g is ±0.2g while a 0.01g scale is ±0.02g, all other things being equal.

In the same IMS basket with similar coffees, 17.0, 16.7, 17.5g are recent doses.
In the same Faema basket with similar coffees, 18.5, 18.25, 17.85g are recent doses.
In the same Synesso basket with similar coffees, 16.5, 17.4g are recent doses.

The IMS and Faema are similar shaped but differ just enough to favor one over the other. The Synesso is a different kettle of fish.

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#4: Post by another_jim »

JHCCoffee wrote:Still, I have stayed with the same dose (17 grams in an 18g IMS basket), to eliminate one variable ...
That's like eliminating the steering wheel on a car. The combination of dose and grind pairings that achieve the same flow in a given basket is the single most important control variable you have in espresso prep (i.e. apart from the coffee itself). Temperature, pressure, and brew ratio (if kept within their normal ranges so as to produce drinkable shots) are all minor league in comparison. Varying dose and grind independently, then compensating for flow changes with pressure profiling, gets some added mileage, especially with lighter roasts, but is still not as important.

A simple example. Give me a light and difficult coffee, and a 1980s vintage HX machine which goes off the rails when shots are longer than 30 seconds. As long as I have a singel basket that can dose down to 5.5 to 6 grams, I can grind fine enough to pull a tasty shot. It won't be as good as from a saturated group profiling machine, but it will be close. Take the same great profiling machine, and tell people they have to make shots with a triple basket at 21 grams; and the taste will be terrible, no matter how they temperature or pressure profile, and no matter what brew ratio they use. Their best option is to produce some kind of non-espresso, an extrem lungo, a cafe crema or brewed coffee using lower pressure and insipid brew ratios.
Jim Schulman

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#5: Post by Jake_G »

Having had the pleasure of enjoying Jim's company and enjoying espresso with him, I can say with confidence that heeding his advice is a smart decision.
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#6: Post by JHCCoffee (original poster) »

Thanks for the good advice Jim; appreciated. I have been up until now been varying grind size and brew ratio to maintain consistent flow and time, while keeping dose constant, all to provide the required taste and extraction for the coffee bean being consumed. I can absolutely also vary basket size and dose, as well.

I currently decently understand the impacts of dose size on body and taste, due to the impacts of dose changes on the brew ratio. What I currently do not sufficiently understand is the impacts of lower vs higher doses on body/taste, if the same brew ratio is maintained. In other words, how does body/taste change (when grinding the same bean) when pouring say a 14g in 28g out 1:2.0) shot vs a 16g in 32g out shot (also 1:2.0)? And what beans/roasts benefit from lower vs higher doses, if the brew ratio is maintained? Until now, I had mistakenly thought that taste would not change if the same brew ratio was maintained. I now need to understand how and why body/taste (and extraction) changes when the same brew ratio is maintained, using smaller vs larger doses.

Similarly, I would very much like to understand the impacts of basket size on body/taste (and extraction) when the basket size is increased or decreased, but the brew ratio is the same. When should I use a smaller vs larger basket? For which beans/roasts?

As I do not have unlimited funds, I must choose my basket purchases wisely. I currently use the IMS BaristaPro 18g basket. I also have (but do not currently use) the "single" and "double" baskets that came with my Lelit Elizabeth. If I were to purchase say 2 more basket sizes, which would they be?

Any insights or guidance will be gratefully welcomed, through reply post or PM or links to other posts or reading materials.

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#7: Post by another_jim »

I'm not sure what to say; you are making things very complicated for yourself. Use one basket for doubles, one for singles, baskets you like. Then vary the dose and grind together, lower doses with finer grinds, higher doses with coarser grinds. VST style baskets suck at this and should be avoided. I like the IMS single and E61 style double, but I don't know how their 18 gram basket works. There is a sticky post at the top of the section with more detailed instuctions.
Jim Schulman


#8: Post by iyayy »

can i suggest trying the elizabeth stock basket?
while i was reading about it, afaik its stock basket are ims, meaning you would already have 3 basket of different size from same manufacturer to test.
i wasnt able to find lelit dealer here back then so i got bdb instead.

in my own experience, higher dose have the issues excessive extraction on upper vs lower part puck. i wasnt able to get good ratio yield with my ims 22. i find only first 1:1.5 of shot taste good, the latter 1.5~2.0 having combination of both well extracted and underextracted taste. combining both results in muddy uninteresting cup. this shows in the shot pucks, upper half being very pale, and lower half dark, and tasting those dark parts there is still good flavors. if i extend and collect extra 2.0 to 2.5 yield so that bottom pucks also gets extracted and turns pale, those last yield have a wierd combination of some average-weak flavor with lots of bitterness and astrigency. granted i do use a very fine grind settings. i assume by keeping the time, grinding coarser to allow faster flow and yielding higher ratio will result in more even puck extraction top to bottom, which would correlates well with what jim said above. ymmv.

initially i wanted to make a bigger cup or more intense one (for milk) but doesnt seem to work well. maybe some flow profiling can help, but i dont have method to test this.

i have better puck color evenness with my vst15g, and better flavor of dose vs yield, which i feel is a more even extraction (of the good parts) and efficient use of beans (at my grind settings).

i am curious if i can actually use same settings at higher dose with vst22, since i read vst basket hole are varied to keep same flow between different size, or if changing to pullman (more holes) or decent (maybe different hole arrangement) would give different result. but i agree these basket are expensive, and good coffee too.. so i also hope to hear some owner's experience on it.

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#9: Post by cafeIKE »

Something I forgot to mention is I use the shortest e61 shower screen I could find.
Contacting the shower screen introduces a tipping point in dose / grind combinations that I eschew. I have to use H U G E overdoses to contact the shower screen.

See I Screen, You Screen, We All Screen for a New Screen