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Thread: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

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    VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Been playing around with my 15g & 18g VST filter baskets for over a week now. Was wondering what our resident experts have found in using these basket? What changes in techniques, grind setting and dosing have you found necessary?

    My own experience when compared to my synesso baskets is that they do allow much more water flow and you have to grind significantly finer. So far I have updosed these baskets to 18.5-19.0 and 21.0g respectively and 4 teeth finer on my Mazzer. Some have recommended dosing down to the rated basket capacity and leave a concave in the coffee bed in the middle. Have yet to try that.

    Taste wise so far the synessos win but early days yet.

    As Greg says these are the Pullmans of Filter baskets - absolute engineering marvel so I am persisting.

    regards
    JohnT

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Hi John - Ive now been using mine for a month.

    The flow is indeed quicker. But in comparison to the Synesso baskets - small but noticeable improvement IMHO.

    Only did one back-to-back comparison, and slightly muffed the grinder setting so the shot via the VST was a tiny bit fast. The two shots tasted too close to pick, but the one I did immediately after with the grinder tweaked a bit more was lovely. But that could be wishful thinking..

    I do love the way the puck just drops clear too! I suspect I might be getting the single version when it comes out (I have the 18g).

    /Kevin

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Good one Kevin,

    Are you dosing at the 18g mark or overdosing?

    I have been using the 15g most dosing at 15.7g. and the pucks come out sloppy and not in one piece. But coffee tastes fine and extraction is at 28 seconds so pretty good.

    regards
    JohnT

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    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Been using my 18g basket a couple of weeks now, I initially had to dial my Mini in a few notches to slow down the faster pour compared to the Synesso basket, I have noticed a small improvement in shot quality and consistency has been good, if I dose a fraction low I get damp pucks. More than happy with the VST :) :) :)

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    KJM
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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Dosing - well, I used to weigh the beans before putting them in the grinder.* But I got to thinking that seemed just a bit too anal.*

    I discovered that the little shot glass in the cupboard held exactly 18g of KJM blend beans, and also 18g of the Ghimbi and also the Malawi...* So I just dose in a volumetric way.* Which still gets a chuckle from the spectators, but I can live with that* ::)

    So yes - everything is 18g +/- a small amount.

    /Kevin

    PS: More and more Im convinced the VST is actually quite a good improvement. Id buy another. In fact, when the single is available Ill buy one [Greg: expect me in your office when that happens!]

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Im trying to use the 22g baskets, but have almost given up on them.

    Ive found that even at the finest grind setting before the burrs touch, I cant get great shots. Ive been trying to only dose 22g, which doesnt fill the basket well, but pours at an ok rate. It tends to channel around the edges of the basket, and never really group or pour at the centre.

    Ive got a very good fitting, flat tamp. Ive tried several techniques, but every time, my pucks appear perforated around the edges, and (if I updose to about 25g) fairly dry in the centre. Upon further investigation, I found that my e61 group only seems to pour water around the edges, but I dont understand why this is only happening to myself :|


    A very frustrated,
    Nader.

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Could be that others are having the same problem and dont want to say, or could be a technique issue that your distribution isnt as good as it could be.

    Brett

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Is it only with the VSTs youre having this issue? If so +1 moto and look at your dosing technique. Id strongly recommend reading through http://coffeegeek.com/opinions/markprince/04-29-2011 because Mark Princes original technique gave him poor results. Once he changed the technique everything fell into place.

    Greg
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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    I found this with some useful comments and hints on the VST:

    http://haveanicecoffeetime.com/2011/...e-vst-baskets/

    I still have not decided if the VST produce better coffee for me than my previous synessos. They are just different - but well see.

    regards
    JohnT

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    I have received my 15 and 18gm vst.Ill
    Let everyone know how I go

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Nader, you are not the only one.

    I had the same issues last week when the VST arrived from Greg.

    All Ive learnt from these VST baskets is that I need to pay a fair bit more attention to dosing and distributing the grinds. Also, (this may sound a bit daft) but I now realised I sometimes collapse on a slight angle and somehow that is more evident in the VST than the Synesso basket.

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    I know I am going against the collective wisdom on the use of these baskets but I have gone back to overdosing these baskets (just like the synesso) and I am liking the taste much more! I mean those sloppy pucks just didnt seem right! Am dosing the 15g with 19g and it works for me, had to adjust grind 1 notch coarser too.

    Be interested in your experience in over vs on spec dosing.

    regards
    JohnT

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    Senior Member NakiChap's Avatar
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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Hello

    I have found 19.5g dose of beans in the 18g VST basket works well for me, just needed to use a finer grind than I was using with the standard expobar basket
    Using a K3 T and expobar minore 3 .

    Regards
    MNSTA

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Im grinding finer and dosing so that the screen leaves a slight impression on the coffee on my VBM Super. Seems to work for me, WHEN I get it right :)

    Cheers.

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Im about to give up on the VST and go back to the Synesso. My dosing etc is obviously not great but Im really after a "decent" morning coffee or 2 and I can get that easier with the Synesso.

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Im using the 18g basket and cant tell the difference between the the stock basket (for one cup only).

    Both baskets pour out of the naked handle well. Im using self roasted beans.

    Doesnt change the fact that the VST basket is a cool little toy that is built quite well. The metals nicer and thicker than the original.

    Im thinking of getting the triple basket for use with the double spout handle. Ill have to make sure it fits first :D

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    JJJ
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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Just received my 18g VST basket and couldnt wait to give it a shot.
    Thankfully it fit perfectly in my Domobar Junior.

    Very impressive looking basket and easy to tell its beautifully made.

    I generally use 21g in my Synesso baskets and had to go up to 22g for the VST.

    I had to grind quite a bit finer, too, going down three quarters of a number of my K3T.

    Whilst dialing in my grinder for the new baskets i did have one bad shot where it just gushed out within seconds, no doubt due to both an uneven tamp and severe channeling.
    Ive never actually had that problem, or one that severe, with the Synessos so its obvious the VST baskets are far less forgiving.

    Still too early to know if its making a difference in the cup but ill persist and report back when i reach a conclusion.

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Had another go with it today. Mucked around with grinding even finer and tried to pay more attention to dosing, but still not much joy. I think the VST is headed for the b.....d box for the moment. Ill go back to the VBM filter basket for a while, before all this does my head in.

    Cheers.

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    I am quite a few kg into using 18 and 22g VSTs and they are unforgiving to poor technique!

    If you want to make your lives a little easier then purchase a small set of Scottie Callaghans dosing tools off one of the sponsors. Think Jetblack and Coffeeparts have them plus others. This saved me from going insane trying to stop edge channelling.

    Dose required will be dependant on several factors including the individual height of YOUR shower screen so discussions of I use X grams are not that useful is what I am getting at. On dose I have been checking with some gram scales and the baskets when dosed consistantly give consistant results.

    Flavour definite slight improvement using matched DRM grinders with one set to a Synesso triple and the other set to the VST 22g.

    Still havent reached any final conclusions as to if I would use them commercially and let a mix of staff near them without a fair bit of additional training as the Syneesos are so easy to use to get a good result while the VSTs used averagely give a worse result. :-/
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    JJJ
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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2C2B2F202822372720294E0 link=1310342134/18#18 date=1314347733
    I am quite a few kg into using 18 and 22g VSTs and they are unforgiving to poor technique!
    Are they ever.
    Thankfully ive only had one bad shot in the 5-6 ive done so far, which is a nice little confidence booster in terms of my technique, but they certainly keep you on your toes.

    One other thing ive noticed, and im sure the real experts amongst us will be able to explain why it is, is that pretty much all my pucks are quite wet initially with the VST baskets.
    They dry in no time at all but its a real surprise to see a small pool of water quickly sinking into the puck when i take out my group handle, especially when i saw nothing like that when using the Synesso baskets.

    Its going to take me a few weeks to decide whether im getting better results with the VSTs, but im enjoying trying them out.

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    I put my old synesso basket back into one of my portafilter holders, trying some Sprocket coffee picked up from the Maitland Aroma Festival. Dialed it in in no time at all. How easy was that to get a great tasting cup? With the VST it would take me days.

    I reckon the VST is much more critical of dosing and distribution technique - best reserved for the pros maybe? And with everyone reporting they have to grind finer - is that a good thing, does it put too much onus on the grinder? I dont know.

    regards
    JohnT

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Most of the decent grinders should cope fine with the VST finer grind. It is more a dose and distribution thing that is critical.

    Make yourself a crude dosing tool from some stiff plastic. Centre of the puck about 2-3mm lower than the sides works for me (#3 Scottie dosing tool). Greatly reduced chances of edge channelling and a more consistent pour.

    I have been going back to distributing manually some of the time and now I have a benchmark established with the dosing tools I am getting better results again.

    Also get some gram scales and weigh the PFs for a bit to establish your dose consistency. Do this to eliminate a variable. Eye balling it or using kitchen scales wont do especially if your playing heavilly with the grind. Establish the correct ballpark weight for your machine/basket once then just work on grind and distribution.

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3E3B3C3A20352127540 link=1310342134/20#20 date=1314430783
    I put my old synesso basket back into one of my portafilter holders, trying some Sprocket coffee picked up from the Maitland Aroma Festival. Dialed it in in no time at all. How easy was that to get a great tasting cup? With the VST it would take me days.

    I reckon the VST is much more critical of dosing and distribution technique - best reserved for the pros maybe? And with everyone reporting they have to grind finer - is that a good thing, does it put too much onus on the grinder? I dont know.

    regards
    JohnT

    As Ive said elsewhere, same logic could be applied to a bottomless portafilter. Theres nothing to mask the flaws in your technique and its something which is rightly embraced as a tool to help us achieve better results. Same goes for the VST basket. It could be best reserved for the pros if were happy to settle for less-than-pro results but if were chasing the best then we should embrace something that helps us get there.

    Of course at the end of the day whatever does it for you and it may not be the same kit for everyone, but dont discard something thats highlighting something youre doing wrong and settle for mediocrity.

    Greg
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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Well Greg exactly my point. The VST baskets require such a focus on technique, and as you say my technique is "mediocre". Well so be it - that is where I am at the moment.

    If you have mastered them it would be great if you would share what your experiences with us mere mortals so we can learn. But from what I have read so far it is still up in the air as to whether the VST baskets are an improvement.

    Bottom line is that it did not improve the taste in the cup for me. After several months I decided it was not worth it.


    Regards
    JohnT

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Sorry if my post came across the wrong way, all Im saying is not a criticism but that if theres an issue then far better to know about it and address it that than mask it. To be honest I havent found the learning curve that steep myself; I use a fitted flat-base tamper, dose to the levels they suggest and find I get pretty good results. But of course the basket is only one part of my setup, it could be that other differences in our kits are highlighting an issue at your end that I dont have.

    I discussed a similar issue to yours with VST a little while ago. Their response was:

    "The KEY point is this:

    When the grinder is working correctly, use of the VST filter is easier, mor forgiving of technique, and requires far less time to set up and use on a regular basis.

    If that is NOT what they found, then they have an other problem. Water, coffee (under-developed), but in most cases it is the grinder. Especially if it is a flat burr grinder. Conical Robur or K10 are always superior, and last longer.

    If he tries a 22-g filter with a 22-23g dose and cuts the pump at 28-30 grams BEV weight, he should adjust grind until that shot pours in 27-32 seconds. If that is not the best tasting espresso he has EVER had, something else is wrong with the setup."

    Not all of that may be relevant to your situation but it may give you somewhere to start.

    As I said, end of the day everyones got to pick what works for them, but hopefully you can get the results these units are capable of.

    Greg

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Hi Greg,

    Thanks for your reply and for including the response from VST.

    I must say your comments did prompt me to revisit my technique with VSTs. Mostly been using my 15g but changed it yesterday with the 18g at 5 graduations finer on my Robur e dosed at 19.5g (on the same timer settings - was over 20g on the coarser grind), distributed so I got a slight hollow in the centre , levelled, tamped with my Barista tamper. Stopped at 35sec, pour looked good but tasted too much on the sour side.

    Oh well still a WIP with the VSTs. I will retry again sticking closely to the rated dose of the basket and play with the grind for those pour times and see.

    If anyone knows of cafes that use the VSTs commercially in Sydney could you please post Id like to give it a try.

    regards
    JohnT




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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    hey john

    we use 22gm vst baskets at work (wollongong though, not too far for a weekend drive, well worth the visit). i would assume that campos in newtown would use them as we use campos and the baskets were supplied through them, im sure they would be more than happy to talk to you about there technique/results, and the coffee you will get when your there will make the visit worth it even if just for that.

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Thanks Ill give Campos a try.

    regards
    JohnT

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Well after Greg posted the reply from VST I revisited but this time with my 18g basket. The thing I took from that post was to dose to rated capacity. I was very careful to dose exactly 18.5g everytime by using a scale, grind to produce my 27-30g in 25-30 seconds. Voila it works!

    Distribution does not seem that critical, Ive tried distributing before tamping and just tipping it in to the portafilter give it a bit of side to side shake and tamp. Does not seem to make much difference. Now 18g does not even come up to the sides of the basket so I use a CD to distribute. My reasoning as to why is that the headspace is so big that the grinds redistribute on infusion - ie. self levelling.

    Dosing to capacity seems to eliminate spritzing which I got with overdosing or the dreaded doughnut extraction. Seem to get a very nice extraction everytime.

    A couple of things. Ive been taught in barista school that to determine if you have dosed enough the puck has to be firm. Well you have to forget that, the pucks are sloppy.

    Does it taste better? Well its too hard to test back to back with my old synesso double basket as youd have to change back & forth on the grinder. Too hard with just 1 grinder. Certainly saves on coffee! 18.5g vs 22g! Commercially it could be an imperative!

    Just my experiences but am no expert. If you find out anything else please post, always learning.

    regards
    JohnT

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    my VST 18g do great job since day 1.

    just adjust my Robur E finer give slow tap 1x , than make even, kill the rest in to the bin. always come up 18-19g.

    pretty much consistency.

    cheers.... :D

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Bluecoin, very interesting. I find my first grind from my Robur e is always way too heavy. Like 19.6g and then second grind is OK at what I want, which is 18.5g.

    Have only done about 1000 shots on my Robur so maybe the burrs are not run in yet?

    regards
    JohnT

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Just letting you guys know ridgeless and single (ridged) versions are coming. Ive just posted in the sponsor area if you want to read more.

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Whats the difference with the ridgeless version? Is it referring to the inside wall of the basket? How is this supposed to affect the output?

    thanks :)

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    well, I just placed the order for 2 rideless VST baskets and matching tamper so well see what it does 8-)

    I guess Ill have to wait a bit since the 18g is still on backorder :(

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3A323A3D3731530 link=1310342134/32#32 date=1319509702
    Whats the difference with the ridgeless version?* Is it referring to the inside wall of the basket?* How is this supposed to affect the output?

    thanks :)
    Hi Iain,

    As PM, but for the benefit of others...

    1) With no ridge there is a greater chance of the basket being more uniformly circular. We have found more eccentricity with ridged Synessos than ridgeless, presumably because the ridge-pressing process deforms the basket slightly. Depending on the amount of distortion (and weve seen pretty ovoid baskets in our time!), a fitted tamper can be more difficult to achieve which can lead to less than ideal extractions.

    2) A ridge potentially creates a weak spot in the puck for peripheral channelling to start. If youre tamping below the ridge this is much less likely to be an issue but thats not always the case

    3) The diameter of the basket is not always the same above and below the ridge. A La Marzocco double basket is the worst offender in this regard, with the diameter cutting in a [s]good[/s] bad 3mm below the ridge but others exhibit it to a lesser degree. If the basket is smaller below the ridge, the tamper will bottom out on the ridge making it impossible to apply much tamp pressure to the coffee below the ridge, resulting in an undertamped puck. If the basket is larger below the ridge (as happens with baskets with an inwardly-formed ridge) then a ring of completely untamped coffee will exist around the edge of the basket which the water will immediately find and escape through. The bottom line is that any variation in basket diameter through the majority of the height of the basket will lead to uneven tamping which can greatly affect how evenly the espresso is extracted. With a ridge this situation is more likely to present itself.

    4) Pucks knock out a lot cleaner from a ridgeless basket vs a ridged. Thats one of the few things I disliked going from a ridgeless Synesso to a ridged VST - there was always a smattering of puck stuck in the ridge. With a ridgeless basket the basket is normally pretty clean, needing only a wipe before the next shot as opposed to a wash + dry.

    The only downside I know of is that you need a stronger spring, and if you have ridged baskets as well these can be held rather too tightly in place with the stronger spring.

    For me the pros far outweigh the cons, which is why I encouraged VST so strongly in this direction, despite their initial reticence to go down the ridgeless path.

    Greg

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    Roz
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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Damn, I should of waited haha? any chance I could return my ridged unused VSTs for ridgless versions that would hopefully near match the nexus? :-/

    Ive been too busy to try my VSTs

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Are the ridgless VSTs similar size to ridgeless Synessos? Ie is it likely I can get a VST to match my current Pullman tamper?

    Cheers

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Quote Originally Posted by 222D2A372B20450 link=1310342134/35#35 date=1319606371
    Damn, I should of waited haha? any chance I could return my ridged unused VSTs for ridgless versions that would hopefully near match the nexus?* *:-/

    Ive been too busy to try my VSTs
    Have PMd you.

    Quote Originally Posted by 24373128242B450 link=1310342134/36#36 date=1319609284
    Are the ridgless VSTs similar size to ridgeless Synessos?* Ie is it likely I can get a VST to match my current Pullman tamper?

    Cheers
    VSTs are heading a bit smaller in diameter. This is the third lot weve gotten in and while every batch has had a range of sizes, in general each shipment has been a couple of tenths of a millimetre smaller than the previous one (this is a case in point as to the value of measuring each basket which is why we do it). VST have explained this is a byproduct of getting all their different baskets to be as close as possible in diameter. The variation is much less than some other baskets I should point out!

    So I doubt it if we sized your tamper for a Synesso basket, but let me know the serial number of your tamper and I can tell you definitively.

    Greg

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Greg, Id be keen to hear if you have tracked the diameter of baskets over their life. My experience is that the Synesso that came with my barista tamper + also my 22g VST seem to be a slightly slacker fit than when new (although still within the definition of a perfect fit).

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Hi SC,

    Not specifically; the only anecdotal thing weve noticed is that baskets sometimes get slightly smaller over time as they get deformed by the portafilter spring. This depends greatly on the strength of the spring and the thickness of the basket wall.

    We had one tamper we fitted to the customers basket and when they put it in their portafilter the tamper didnt fit. We were all puzzled until we told the customer to remove the basket from portafilter and then it fit properly! The spring was extremely strong and was distorting the basket significantly!

    I cant think of any reason the basket would get larger over time unless the tamper was so tight it was scraping and managed to wear away the metal! But I think youd notice that happening!

    Greg

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Quote Originally Posted by 6D686F6973667274070 link=1310342134/30#30 date=1319411643
    Bluecoin, very interesting. I find my first grind from my Robur e is always way too heavy. Like 19.6g and then second grind is OK at what I want, which is 18.5g.

    Have only done about 1000 shots on my Robur so maybe the burrs are not run in yet?

    regards
    JohnT

    hi John, my Robur just done 650 shots so far, but do great job, however i have to adjust for every roast as i roast always different every weeks and blend.

    try use digital scale for 1st time, than try my way. you will get right amount or close without scale one day .

    cheers....

  42. #42
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Ridgeless VST...

    Benefits - more than I could possibly have thought of, all listed above

    Downside - its very easy to suck the puck out of place while removing the tamper, unless the tamper is a loose fit, or your remove it slowly.

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Quote Originally Posted by 51707B7B7C66150 link=1310342134/41#41 date=1320645243
    Ridgeless VST...

    Downside - its very easy to suck the puck out of place while removing the tamper, unless the tamper is a loose fit, or your remove it slowly.
    This would apply to an almost equal degree to ridged baskets so the issue there is not the basket but the fit of the tamper. I guess it depends on your definition of loose - if the tamper is such a tight fit that it creates a vacuum then its too tight, but you dont need much clearance to eliminate the vacuum effect. But if youre talking 58.0mm thats going too far the other way - for 95% of machines out there thats a lot sloppier than necessary. VST are recommending 58.3-58.4mm for their baskets which in my experience even that is a touch looser than it needs to be.

    Greg

  44. #44
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7471686869656A040 link=1310342134/42#42 date=1320707930
    Dennis wrote Yesterday at 16:54:
    Ridgeless VST...

    Downside - its very easy to suck the puck out of place while removing the tamper, unless the tamper is a loose fit, or your remove it slowly.


    This would apply to an almost equal degree to ridged baskets
    No, thats not the case Greg; not by a long shot, and I am talking 58.3mm.

    Partly, I think what is happening may have something to do with the fact that the VST baskets have an almost polished finish, making it a lot easier for the puck to slide upward.

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Ive been using a ridgeless 18gm VST for a couple of weeks now and cant say Ive noticed any of that, but I dont know exactly what size the tamper is either. Ill check it out tonight and report back.

    But either way I still cant see what difference the ridge would make, which was the question behind the original comment. All VSTs baskets have the same polished finish so if its a problem with the ridgeless then it should be similarly with the ridged. If you havent noticed the problem with the ridged version then I suspect its more an issue of differing basket diameters than the presence or absence of a ridge.

    Greg

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Just got a 15gm VST and a Synesso double to go with my BZ07; was curious to see the difference, if any. Synesso was pretty simple, dose to 17.5-18gm, tamp, and go; good shots, same grind as the stock basket, but definitely stronger due I guess to using 1.5-2gm more coffee than the standard basket. VST has taken a few shots to get in the ballpark, grinding around 1 notch finer on the rocky, and dosing to 16gm has delivered a very good double this morning, and will refine things further over the next week or so to see how much better it can get. I weigh the grounds before going in to the basket, so dose is pretty consistent, and distribute the grounds with a bamboo skewer to break up clumps before tamping (anal, I know, but seems to work!). No obvious channelling to date. Happy to use less coffee than the Synesso if I can get consistently good results, but time will tell. Worth noting that the Rocky is not far (.75 notch) off bottoming out when using the VST, so care is required!!
    A big thanks to the folks at Pullman for supplying the baskets quickly, and for matching them to my existing tamper as well. :)

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    Site Sponsor pullman's Avatar
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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3B3E2727262A254B0 link=1310342134/44#44 date=1320714073
    Ive been using a ridgeless 18gm VST for a couple of weeks now and cant say Ive noticed any of that, but I dont know exactly what size the tamper is either. Ill check it out tonight and report back.

    But either way I still cant see what difference the ridge would make, which was the question behind the original comment. All VSTs baskets have the same polished finish so if its a problem with the ridgeless then it should be similarly with the ridged. If you havent noticed the problem with the ridged version then I suspect its more an issue of differing basket diameters than the presence or absence of a ridge.

    Greg
    Well ran some tests this morning and it all worked fine. Tamper size was 58.33mm, VST basket measured 58.64mm diameter (which is in fact the smallest VST Ive seen so far). No matter how quickly pulled the tamper up the puck just sat there. Even when I turned the portafilter upside down the puck didnt move, and in a basket with a polished surface like the VSTs this is a good test - if there had been any disruption of the adhesion between puck and basket it would have dropped straight out.

    So not sure Dennis whats going on at your end. All I can assume is that if things are the way youve described then your tamper is a bit larger than 58.3mm and / or the basket youre using is even smaller than the one Ive got here. But in either case the issue is tamper size, not ridged vs ridgeless.

    The only possible connection I can think of on reflection between a vacuum and a ridgeless basket is that pressing the ridge sometimes deforms the basket slightly. As the tamper would be fitted to the smallest diameter of the basket there would be other sections where the basket has deformed outwards where there is more clearance which could help release the vacuum. But the amount of deformation of a ridged basket is normally very small, so if the vacuum effect is there in a ridgeless basket it still comes back to the tamper being too tight. There have been a few cases when our customers have noticed this and it has routinely been when the tamper has been too tight a fit in the basket (normally when weve had to supply a tamper without seeing the basket), rather than a factor of a ridged or ridgeless.

    Going looser in a VST is in fact potentially more of a problem than most other baskets. Most baskets have walls that taper in which results in uneven water flow through the basket, but it also means a loose tamper has an inwards tapering surface against which at some point the coffee can create some sort of seal against peripheral channelling. VSTs have vertical walls so the water flow path is the same at any point in the puck, but it means if you use a loose tamper youre guaranteed to get a ring of untamped coffee around the edges all the way to the bottom of the basket. This is speculation, but if people have a VST with an undersized tamper, this could be one reason why some people have noted better results from their old basket rather than their VST.

    Bottom line is, VSTs recommendation is a 58.3mm tamper for their baskets (thats not our recommendation, thats theirs so please dont lets all bandy that around as a magic figure for VST baskets, its not). From everything I can see theres no reason to choose a tamper looser than that unless there is some other motivation behind that choice.

    Greg

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Two years ago, I would have read that and thought "what is this nutter rabbitting on about?"...

    FWD to yesterday when I recieved my 2 ridgeless VSTs and matching custom-made aluminium-handled Pullman tamper and I wonder - were you never a nutter, or am I a nutter too now?

    Im not sure I want to know the answer to that question... Ignorance is bliss!

  49. #49
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Greg, thanks for taking the time to run further tests - I appreciate it.

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    Re: VST Filter Basket - Whats Your Experience Been Like?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Ok, so a few weeks in and Im still not quite satisfied with the results from my 15gm vst. The shots are good, but blonding is starting around 25sec, and I cant grind any finer or Ill bottom the burrs on my rocky. Also dosing at 17.0gm ATM, which is obviously a tad higher than spec. My tamper is exactly 58mm so I try to tamp NSEW to make sure the edges are done; what can I do from here? Greg, do you know the exact size of the basket you sent me; is my only option to invest in a matched tamper?
    Cheers, Steve



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