First time VST basket observation

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
HotLava
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#1: Post by HotLava »

Hi all

I just received my first VST basket yesterday and did a trial run this morning. I got an 18 g VST basket to replace the stock 18 in my Breville dual boiler.

The way my workflow goes in the morning is I always make my wife an Americano first. This way if the extraction is less than perfect I can adjust before pulling my double.

I used a 30lb calibrated tamper after doing my version of WDT. When I pulled her double for the Americano, the pressure went to 9 bars but slowly dropped during the shot. The shot ran for around 34 seconds 18/38. Looked and tasted great.

When I dis my double I decided to decrease the grind one notch and I tamped a second time to assure I had enough pressure on the coffee. I observed s similar albeit not as drastic a drop in pressure. Started at 9.5 then 9 then 8.5 then 8 then 7.5. Then the shot was done.

Results were 18/37.1 in 32 seconds. Great color and body on the shot. I think the flavor was well balanced ( I have to stop brushing my teeth before I have my coffee).

Could the pressure changes represent Channeling or is it a result of more holes equal faster flow?

I will try another double later and maybe go another notch finer on the grind to experiment. It did not produce a bad shot the way I pulled it. Just not sure why the pressure kept dropping.
Joe

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spressomon

#2: Post by spressomon »

For grins...try tamping much lighter and grinding finer to compensate. I just use a grooming tool and don't tamp separately anymore and with the relatively light tamp I rarely get channeling. FWIW, I grind into a dosing cup, mix ("WDT") in the cup by shaking the grounds around, then into the basket.
No Espresso = Depresso

HotLava
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#3: Post by HotLava »

I'm in the process of upgrading my grinder soon. The current one clumps a lot when I go finer so WDT is a must. I'm about to shake things up from my normal process. I'll try it out. Since I'm stuck at home I will be drinking more coffee. :mrgreen:
Joe

HotLava
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#4: Post by HotLava »

So I pulled an additional 3 shots on the VST basket and an additional shot on the Breville basket. Here are the results.

1. 18/37.1 in 35 seconds. Grind #5. Was a little watery and bitter

2. 18/36.4 in 39 seconds. Grind #6. Using a lighter tamp with the manual tamper. Much brighter and fruitier.

3. 18.2/37.2 in 27 seconds. Had some sputtering from the funnel (I don't have an open portafilter). Never had that before. Less bitter and a little more acidic and fruity. Lighter tamp with the 30lb tamper.

4. 18.2/37 in 28 seconds on the Breville 18g basket. Balanced and fruity good color ok body. Not chocolatey like yesterday morning.

Overall the stock basket was more consistent. Additionally the coffee is at 2 weeks off roast. Not sure between the new basket, aging coffee what the difference was. My routine was mostly consistent unless I purposely changed tamp pressure. Possible the grinder is spitting out inconsistent grinds as well. Will see what tomorrow brings. I'll be breaking in a new coffee to me. People's liberation from social coffee in Canada.
Joe

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spressomon

#5: Post by spressomon »

Not personally familiar with your grinder but from the quick read of reviews its, at best, a starting point for all things espresso. I'd say you have the right thought about upgrading your grinder especially given the capability of your espresso machine! Again, not from personal experience, but the Niche Zero seems to be the biggest bang for the buck right now.
No Espresso = Depresso

HotLava
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#6: Post by HotLava »

I have not had any inconsistencies like this in a long time. I just ordered a Ceado e6p v2. Got a great deal. That should do the trick.
Joe

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spressomon

#7: Post by spressomon »

Are you using pre-infusion on your Breville?
No Espresso = Depresso

HotLava
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#8: Post by HotLava »

This was with stock 7 seconds. I did a back flush to make sure the OPV valve/ solenoid were working fine and pressure shoots up with blind portafilter. Either grind inconsistency or barista error. My coffee is at 2 weeks today as well. But yesterday shots were spot on. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.
Joe

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Spitz.me

#9: Post by Spitz.me »

Hey, I did reply to your PM.

Strange, I notice almost no difference between the stock basket and the VST. :?:

The benefit of a basket that is manufactured to tight tolerances is that we can share parameters and be fairly certain that our baskets are effectively the same. This is great because different baskets can vary widely. The VST isn't necessarily going to improve your shots unless you wished you could grind finer while still getting an appropriate shot time.

Regardless of my experience with the stock and VST baskets. Maybe the SMART grinder's grind is not good for whatever change the VST makes to your process. The VST
I know I've pulled a great shot when the flavour is 'like a beany taste that tastes like a bean'.

HotLava
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#10: Post by HotLava »

The grinder is capable of good espresso with the stock baskets. However I can tell that between full steps to the grind, I wish there were micro adjustments. So there would be less of a swing. I haven't messed with the burr carrier adjustment on the SGP but I have a Ceado e6p v2 on its way. I'll probably use both. Keep the SGP for small batch or sample beans.
Joe