La Marzocco Basket Woes - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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malachi

#11: Post by malachi »

Taste is subjective but yes, to my taste it does.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#12: Post by cannonfodder »

HB wrote:I use the LM cinch-waist and dose to above the the retainer clip (around 17-18 grams) and never had a problem. It's true that you'd definitely clang metal if you want a true 14 gram dose. Is that what you're doing?
My HB tamper does not fit a stock LM basket as documented in my How To Cut Your Own Naked Portafilter thread. It quite literally has to be forced into the basket and then wiggled out. It will not even pass into the top of the basket without forcing it.

Image
Photo of my HB tamper stuck in the standard LM basket

I have seen another thread where someone was having the same problem. If I use my generic 58mm tamp, it works because of the lower tolerances on a 'made in china' piston. So I kept the basket for use on my Isomac with the generic tamp.

I traded a couple of emails with Terry and Dave at EPWNW (which is where I ordered the baskets from). LM uses the 'worn stamping die' excuse and the problem is common enough that they list the stock LM basket as a 57mm not 58. So I ordered a couple of ridgeless and my HB tamp fits perfectly.

They offered to send me a couple of other baskets to see if one of the stock baskets would fit but I elected to go with a couple of ridgeless.

FYI, they contacted me when they saw the post with the problem before I had a chance to call them the next morning. Now that is customer service.

Almost forgot, I dose 17G doubles.
Dave Stephens

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#13: Post by cannonfodder »

malachi wrote:As with many things espresso, the LM double basket is less forgiving but when handled correctly (IMHO) results in better tasting espresso.
I had fits with my ridgeless. I went from near perfectly even extraction to monstrosities like this...
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So I doubled my concentration on technique and practice, practice and practiced some more. Now I am rewarded with shots like this from my Faema two group...
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And they are darn tasty.
Dave Stephens

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HB
Admin

#14: Post by HB »

cannonfodder wrote:My HB tamper does not fit a stock LM basket as documented in my How To Cut Your Own Naked Portafilter thread. It quite literally has to be forced into the basket and then wiggled out. It will not even pass into the top of the basket without forcing it.
I tried eight different tampers against three different LM baskets. The Bumper tamper would not pass on two of the three baskets and the EspressoCraft tamper stuck on one of them. The Reg Barber / HB tamper caught on one of the three. The remaining five either bottomed out with little or no resistance. The TORR / Cafe Kultur tamper didn't even blink.

Apparently the definition of 58mm is subject to interpretation, even for stainless steel pistons sized on a precision lathe.


cannonfodder wrote:So I doubled my concentration on technique and practice, practice and practiced some more. Now I am rewarded with shots like this from my Faema two group...
Most excellent. Well, I should say that I prefer to see the moments before the cone develops to check for evenness rather than "center cut" glamour shots. Or better yet a video.
Dan Kehn

GRB

#15: Post by GRB »

malachi wrote:Taste is subjective but yes, to my taste it does.
These kinds of statements remind me of hifi forums (fora?) where they deliberately impose a "double blind free zone" so that "experts" can make totally unjustifiable statements about speaker cables, etc. without sceptics asking for double blind test results.

My observation is that HB generally emphasises objective discussion - it would be poorer for allowing these statements to go unchallenged.

Come on people! A LM ridgeless double basket makes coffee taste better than a non-LM ridgeless double basket? Maybe it's the shape of the holes? Eh?

GRB

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#16: Post by cannonfodder »

Actually, it is probably due to the shape and proportions of the basket which alters how the coffee is exposed to water and pressure. But I am not an espresso scientist, I just play one at home.

Can I tell a difference, no. But my skills as a barista are no where near Malachi's, nor is my sense of taste as developed. One day, years from now, who knows?

Some people are blessed with an acute sense of taste and can detect very small changes in flavor. There are professional taste testers that literally have their tongues insured for millions. Scientific fact my friend.
Dave Stephens

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#17: Post by cannonfodder »

HB wrote:I tried eight different tampers against three different LM baskets
And I thought I was living large with three different tampers and 4 baskets...
HB wrote:Most excellent. Well, I should say that I prefer to see the moments before the cone develops to check for evenness rather than "center cut" glamour shots. Or better yet a video.
Ya, I know, but that was the only photo I had. I have stopped taking photos of extractions unless there is a reason. After all, how many photos of naked extractions do I really need? Not every shot is as nice. Nothing is worse than taking a peek at the bottom of a shot just to get a jet channel in the face, or worse on a white shirt just before work.

Pretty or not, all that matters is taste. I even drink the bad shots. It helps to train my palate for defects. That way I know what an over extracted, under extracted, channeled, etc shot tastes like. An insight I picked up from Malachi some time ago.
Dave Stephens

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GRB

#18: Post by GRB »

cannonfodder wrote:Actually, it is probably due to the shape and proportions of the basket which alters how the coffee is exposed to water and pressure. But I am not an espresso scientist, I just play one at home.
What? The shape and proportion of a LM double basket is significantly different to another double basket? A lot of double baskets are very similar in shape... Next you'll be telling me that some guy can taste the difference between 9.2 and 9.3 bar brewing pressure.
cannonfodder wrote:Can I tell a difference, no. But my skills as a barista are no where near Malachi's, nor is my sense of taste as developed. One day, years from now, who knows?
I suspect you are selling yourself short. Is there any actual evidence for Malachi's claims?
cannonfodder wrote:Some people are blessed with an acute sense of taste and can detect very small changes in flavor. There are professional taste testers that literally have their tongues insured for millions. Scientific fact my friend.
I'd say it's just a fact. However unless it is backed up by objective testing it's not. Malachi claims his taste is subjective and that certainly is not scientific.

So is HB about scientific, verifiable and repeatable investigations in espresso or is it about something else?

GRB

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#19: Post by cannonfodder »

Don't know, maybe a better phrase would have been '...is maybe due...'. I am just an amateur learning as I go.

I do know in other applications that a very small change can yield a difference in performance. Sounds like this would make an interesting study.
Dave Stephens

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another_jim
Team HB

#20: Post by another_jim »

What? The shape and proportion of a LM double basket is significantly different to another double basket?
Yes.

Baskets vary from quite conical (wider at the top than the bottom) or cylindrical. LM baskets are completely cylindrical, even their two-step single baskets; Faema and Cimbali baskets are nearly cylindrical; and other baskets are more tapered.

LM baskets also have a slightly different shape of hole at the bottom; this, I think, may make more of a difference than the shape.

In any case, it doesn't take a double blind testing, since the difference is quite visible: LM baskets tend to start with a lighter flow, that stays nearly the same color throughout the shot; whereas Cimbali and Faema baskets tend to start very dark and lighten more. This is why many people prefer the LM for normales and the other two for ristretto shots. In barista competition, where even colored crema and normale shots are a must, LM baskets definitely will give the competitor an edge. This is also true when making beauty pictures of espresso shots or extractions.

Whether the difference would survive a double blind, blind-folded taste test (when, as the old cook school trick shows, most people can't tell rhubarb from calve's liver blindfolded), and how one could double blind test a basket (how many statisticians does it take to mount a PF?), are, in themselves quite fascinating questions.
Jim Schulman