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Thread: VST Baskets under dosing

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    VST Baskets under dosing

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I purchased 3 baskets from Greg Pullman 15g, 18g and 20g. And I was very happy with the service, thanks Greg!

    Im having an issue with my machine where I have to under dose in order to not hit the shower screen. With these baskets what is the story with under dosing. I remember trawling through the forums about these guys that they are very sensitive when it comes to over and under dosing. If I was to under dose the 18g basket to fit 15g of grinds will I have an issue with taste and quality?

    I did try but gave up pretty quickly because I didnt have much beans to last me until my next visit to the roasters.


    Im using a Bezzera BZ35e machine and the shower screens needs atleast 6-8mm clearance from the lip of the basket.



    -Brendon

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    Senior Member NakiChap's Avatar
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    Re: VST Baskets under dosing

    That interesting that you need to underdose....

    I found with my 18 & 22g VST`s that I neded to up dose to approx 20 & 24g to get the results I wanted with the Expobar

    I don`t think it matters how many grams you fit in the basket just make sure the volume is correct

    The amount of coffee you use will vary between beans a roast levels

    Use the five cent peice test to check your level

    The VST`s are sensitive to dose and distribution, I have switched back to using my standard type baskets which I prefer .

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    Re: VST Baskets under dosing

    I havnt had an issue with dosing with my vst but I have found that a finer grind and a very light tamp helped to improve consistancy and a more even extraction

    Have you tryed a set of Scotty dosing tools? it might help with your clearance issue






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    Re: VST Baskets under dosing

    No I havent tried the 5c trick yet although, I have tried quite a few blends and different roasters over the past couple KGs Ive put through the machine so I havent made life easy having to adjust the grinds back and forth to suit the different roasts.

    The current roast Im using I have to have my BCG800 almost at its finest setting which has made me second guess whether I may need to upgrade. Although the last blend I used which was a much darker roast I almost had to have the grinder in its halfway grind level which was a huge jump. I just cant get a decent cup out of this current roast which is very frustrating.

    So at the moment Im going to put it down to the current beans Im using and Ill try get the scales out tonight and put a few cups to trial it out more and make sure Im using the correct dose to eliminate my theory of dosage.

    -Brendon

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    Re: VST Baskets under dosing

    Ive had similar experience to MNSTA, I have to dose my 18g basket at more like 20g to get the right volume in the basket for Silvia.

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    Re: VST Baskets under dosing

    Quote Originally Posted by 6C7C6B606A61697D0E0 link=1341197814/0#0 date=1341197814
    Im having an issue with my machine where I have to under dose in order to not hit the shower screen.

    Consider it this way.
    You are not under dosing for your machine basket combo, ignore the amount printed on the basket and dose correctly to your setup.

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    Re: VST Baskets under dosing

    Quote Originally Posted by 3424333832393125560 link=1341197814/3#3 date=1341206592
    The current roast Im using I have to have my BCG800 almost at its finest setting which has made me second guess whether I may need to upgrade
    Try adding shims to the grinder. I use 19 grams in the vst 20 gram basket at a very fine setting.

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    Site Sponsor pullman's Avatar
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    Re: VST Baskets under dosing

    My understanding from VST and materials they have published is that ± 1 gram is a guideline. Its good not to exceed +1 gram because that will restrict flow, and force a coarser grind, encouraging under-extraction. So, if you tend to use 19 - 20gr, its advisable to use a 20-gr filter, not to over-fill an 18-gr filter, for example.

    Going up to about 2-g under is usually w/in adjustment range of most good grinders with sharp burrs to maintain flow rates and yields.

    The head room is not critical, as long as its ~1 - 5 mm. The key is not to jam the espresso up against the screen which encourages channeling because of turbulence and erosion. If that happens when within nominal fill levels, then the group screen location will require a user to go to a deeper basket in order to increase the separation distance.

    Most users have reported good results using 19-21g in a 22 gr basket (which holds 23-24 grams of higher density S.O. coffees) in such cases because you have both the grind and amount of coffee to work with to adjust flow rates and thus contact time, while filling to a level that is below the dispersion screen.

    Some machines have adjustments for this, such as the new Nuova Simonelli Aurellia II T3. Others, such as LM, Synesso, Kees van der Westen and many E61 groups are at similar dimensions from the group dispersion screen, and work perfectly as-is with the VST filters. The gasket thickness can usually be adjusted ± 1-1.5mm also, as another way to mover the filter up/down. As always, YMMV, but all manufacturers recommend the grinder be in proper working order, clean and with sharp burrs.

    Greg

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    Re: VST Baskets under dosing

    Thanks Greg for the in depth comment. I did read something similar to what you have said elsewhere. Infact I probably read another one of your posts floating around the internet!

    My question is generally asking for the following situations:

    I prefer (at the moment) the taste Im getting out of using a 15g basket with 15g of coffee being used. I know for a fact that when I tighten the group handle to its final point that the coffee is touching the shower screen. It isnt effecting the taste because Im getting a very nice pour 9 times out of 10.

    My query is probably more along the lines of this, considering Im happy with the taste out of 15g of coffee should I put 15g into the 18g basket which will give me plenty of clearance to the lower shower screen on my machine. Or is the science behind these baskets taking into account the amount of empty space between the top of the puk and the shower screen? Is there an issue with the amount of volume between those 2 points?

    If they apparently put in so much endless hours of testing and developing surely there is a reason they supply so many different sizes 7g, 15g, 18g, 20g and 22g otherwise wouldnt it be wise to just make say a 15g and a 20g?



    Look I should probably be doing some trial and error work but I just dont have the beans on hand this week to do so, hence why Im asking the question.

    -Brendon

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    Re: VST Baskets under dosing

    Quote Originally Posted by 0212050E040F0713600 link=1341197814/8#8 date=1341298510
    It isnt effecting the taste because Im getting a very nice pour 9 times out of 10.
    I think you have answered your own question. If you are happy with what is it the cup, it sounds like you are winning.

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    Site Sponsor pullman's Avatar
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    Re: VST Baskets under dosing

    Quote Originally Posted by 37322B2B2A2629470 link=1341197814/7#7 date=1341233659
    The head room is not critical, as long as its ~1 - 5 mm.
    Sorry that should be ~1.5mm. As coffeechaser said if youre happy with the taste thats the main thing. Its not ideal if the puck is scraping on the showerscreen when you load so you could always look at dosing say 16g into an 18g basket if you wanted to try a bit of clearance. But as said if the taste is good then...

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    Re: VST Baskets under dosing

    Ok guys,

    Well I gave it a go yesterday with 15g in an 18g basket and the results were questionable.

    Same grind, same dose, same tamp, same everything and I got a very watery tasting shot. I tried it again and I got the same result so I am doubting the idea so far. When I top up on beans Ill try and fine the grind up more for this and see how it goes.

    So far, no joy.

    -Brendon

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    Re: VST Baskets under dosing

    Quote Originally Posted by 7A6A7D767C777F6B180 link=1341197814/11#11 date=1341527121
    Well I gave it a go yesterday with 15g in an 18g basket and the results were questionable.
    Are you getting a sloppy puck ?

    With my 18g VST if put anything less than 18g its well underdosed with far to much headroom

    Using fresh roasted beans that are approx CS9 roast level

    Because of the finer grind needed with the VST you fit more in than a basket

    I played around with alot of dose levels settling on approx 19.5g in the 18g basket

    But thats just me and my machine ::)

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    Re: VST Baskets under dosing

    Each screen height varies so each machine with a given basket will have variation. I am finding on my 1grp 1.5g up dosing works but that is for mine so a comparison is maybe a little pointless?

    I have tried dosing down to the rated g rating and it just didnt work at all.

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    I'm using a different laser cut basket at my work (not the VST but very similar) - and the coffee is coming up a treat!

    I dont find I need to fine the grind any finer than usual though, as the small(er than usual) holes in the baskets become clogged quite easily - so extra fine grind is of no help here

    Yes I get sloppy pucks - but so what? I'm still putting 20g of coffee into the basket - but the gap between the top of the (dry) puck is closer to 5ml - whereas on my 'old' baskets the gap at the top of the basket was minimal

    So what I'm finding is that water pools on top of the puck, evenly saturating it prior to extraction - what I would call a 'natural' pre-infusion

    And the resulting crema is gloopier, has better depth and body, and a darker / richer colour than the coffee produced by my old baskets - which means that it bonds better with the milk as well

    The main thing I'm finding with the laser cut baskets I use is that they need to be cleaned and rinsed more often during service to prevent them from clogging

    I also find the baskets more sensitive to tamp and grind - which means that you have to be on the ball when it comes to grind settings

    But the bigger baskets lend themselves to up-dosing (I havent measured but I reckon the ones I use could easily hold 30g - but why you would wanna use that much coffee per extraction in a commercial setting is beyond me...) - which is great for pulling tight shots for short and long blacks etc

    I'm also loving the enhanced aromatics and pronounced honeysuckle / confectionary aromas that I'm getting out of my espresso blend at the moment with these baskets

    Are they messy to use? Yes, most definitely

    And do they require more maintenance than your 'average' basket? I'm finding this to be the case

    Small price to pay for enhanced crema and improved aromatics though!

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    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    about 19g for me when I use the VST in the Diadema Regal anything more gets towards choke territory (this isn't far from normal headroom on my machine). Tastes perfectly good at 18g dose too, and yep you get a sloppier puck but who cares? As long as you don't eat the puck surely it doesn't matter too much?

    Having said that, don't use the basket so often b/c the other half is not so particular about dosing, and tends to choke the machine.

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    15-15.5gm in my 15g Basket generally works with my bezzera. As others have said, screen height will vary with different machines, so adjust your dose to maintain appropriate headroom and care less what the label says.

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    An update here, my guestimates of dose were apparently off (grind retention in the SJ is more than I thought) I weighed some baskets the other day and found that I was dosing 18-18.5g consistently for the Silvia (18g VST).

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    How firmly should the PF be engaged? Isn't the coffee puck going to hit against the shower screen when you tighten the PF or is that too full?

    I ask because my naked PF engages a lot further around than my standard PF from Giotto (slight difference in lug size).

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    I recently picked up an 18g VST basket for my Silvia, paired with a naked PF. Even after a week of experimentation, I am finding that getting a consistent result I am very happy with quite tricky. The flavour is still nice, but tends to get bitter/stronger for random reasons I can't pick, which I could in the stock baskets.

    I usually go by the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" but I was keen to try a larger ridgeless basket.

    I usually grind to requirement, so I put two scoops of beans in the grinder (mazzer mini) and grind into the doser, then dose into the basket. Followed by a chicago chop style technique with the SC dosing tools, aiming to under dose enough to only cause a light indentation from the hex screw in the shower screen. I find more often than not, the extraction isn't quite consistent, with some obvious channeling, squirting out in sections whilst still being in a pretty decent extraction timing range (23-28sec). The spent puck is usually quite wet and muddy which I usually relate to the grind being too fine (even though my tamp has never changed and is quite firm).

    The only thing I can think of, is that the dose is too low... But trying to clear the hex screw enough, doesn't really allow me to dose any higher. Having tried a finer/coarser grind hasn't fixed the issue either. I am going to test the pressure with Gregs gauge soon, to rule out the pressure being the cause to the problem. Any ideas guys?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thom View Post
    I recently picked up an 18g VST basket for my Silvia, paired with a naked PF. Even after a week of experimentation, I am finding that getting a consistent result I am very happy with quite tricky. The flavour is still nice, but tends to get bitter/stronger for random reasons I can't pick, which I could in the stock baskets.

    I usually go by the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" but I was keen to try a larger ridgeless basket.

    I usually grind to requirement, so I put two scoops of beans in the grinder (mazzer mini) and grind into the doser, then dose into the basket. Followed by a chicago chop style technique with the SC dosing tools, aiming to under dose enough to only cause a light indentation from the hex screw in the shower screen. I find more often than not, the extraction isn't quite consistent, with some obvious channeling, squirting out in sections whilst still being in a pretty decent extraction timing range (23-28sec). The spent puck is usually quite wet and muddy which I usually relate to the grind being too fine (even though my tamp has never changed and is quite firm).

    The only thing I can think of, is that the dose is too low... But trying to clear the hex screw enough, doesn't really allow me to dose any higher. Having tried a finer/coarser grind hasn't fixed the issue either. I am going to test the pressure with Gregs gauge soon, to rule out the pressure being the cause to the problem. Any ideas guys?
    Don't try to clear the screw. I get the best results from my Silvia with a solid indent in the puck: anything less gives the sloppy puck syndrome and leads to more channeling.

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    Caveat: I don't have a silvia or a mazzer, but I recently went to VST's and a naked PF.

    First thing I noticed is my pressure gauge went higher than normal. Not a wrong thing, it gave me good coffee, but it runs good coffee at a higher position on the gauge. I have no explanation why.

    I am pretty sure it is the naked that matters more than the VST's as I got the naked before the baskets and saw the difference then. I check my grind reasonably regularly, going by touch. Rub some between fingers and feel what it is like. (to me, should not be granular like salt but should not be smooth like powder) I since learned about the squeeze method - take a pinch, squeeze it between thumb and finger then look at it. If you can see your fingerprint in it - too fine. If it just looks like granules on your thumb, too coarse. It should make a non-ridged puck with maybe a crack or two.

    Also the rub method should leave a little bit of powder in the fingerprint - there should be a small amount of fines that do not simply brush away as you rub your fingers.

    Hope that makes sense...

    VST's are snesitive to dosing, but if all you have is a slight indentation, scarcely more than a mark on the surface, they should work fine. Try multi-tamping - grind in a bit of coffee, gently tamp. Grind a bit more and gently tamp again. Grind to fill and tamp a bit harder but NOT the 15kg level. Maybe try a nutating tamp for the last one if you are getting channels, but then just do a gentle tamp and then polish with no pressure.

    Then see how your pour goes.

    I love my VST's - I didn't believe they could make such a difference but a friend bought me some brasilia type beans (not from a roaster) and I tried them and the above method through a VST/Naked gives coffee I would have loved to get from a café before I found out how to make it for myself.

    And don't take this wrong, but, just so you can safely ignore me, I have a Sunbeam EM6910 and my grinder is an EM0480. Given how they are normally received on here you might want to just discount my experiences.

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    Journeyman - have you considered that the flat bottom on the naked portafilter may have altered your tamp? I can't see any other way it could increase the backpressure.

    I have the same clearance issues as the OP on my BZ99s (same group?) - I have found 15g - 16g is about right (although I assumed they were 18g baskets). Might have to try the 5c test this weekend.
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    Pressure may have increased due to the VST baskets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    Journeyman - have you considered that the flat bottom on the naked portafilter may have altered your tamp? I can't see any other way it could increase the backpressure.
    Um... how?

    Seriously, not being an asshole... what flat bottom on a naked PF are you thinking about? Surely the point of a naked is there is NO bottom? It got drilled out?

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    Coffee Newbie okitoki's Avatar
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    I think he meant that with the naked pF, the base is flat compare to using a single or double spout PF which may be balanced unevenly and tamp mah be off compare to a flat laying naked PF

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    Precisely.

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    I have two VST baskets (18g and 21g). I never use the 21.

    The 18 is my everyday basket. I pack it like any other basket. Dose, two taps, fill, chop and scrape NSEW, and finally level with a card that bulges slightly to underdose, but not by much.

    Depending on the coffee this is likely to weigh somewhat more than 19 grams, probably between 19.5 and 20.0. I completely ignore the recommended dosage and so can you.

    I extract it to 65% (30 grams) into a 160 ml Rockingham cup, served as a flat white.

    And love it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by okitoki View Post
    I think he meant that with the naked pF, the base is flat compare to using a single or double spout PF which may be balanced unevenly and tamp mah be off compare to a flat laying naked PF
    Ah well, in that case, I will say I find it much easier to get an even tamp with the naked. 2 reasons, I think - one is the possible wobble of the PF with a single spout as I tamp, something I tried to minimise, but at 15kg tamp pressure it was probably still there. (I rarely used the double spout) and the other is the tap on the board makes it easier to get a reasonably even surface before I tamp.

    I've since changed how I dose and tamp so the extreme pressure isn't there any more, plus the multiple dose technique makes it much easier to get an even dose amount across the filter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
    I find it much easier to get an even tamp with the naked.
    Yet another reason to go naked. Splitting shots is for wimps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
    Ah well, in that case, I will say I find it much easier to get an even tamp with the naked. 2 reasons, I think - one is the possible wobble of the PF with a single spout as I tamp, something I tried to minimise, but at 15kg tamp pressure it was probably still there. (I rarely used the double spout) and the other is the tap on the board makes it easier to get a reasonably even surface before I tamp.

    I've since changed how I dose and tamp so the extreme pressure isn't there any more, plus the multiple dose technique makes it much easier to get an even dose amount across the filter.
    You've been around for a while now JM, I'm surprised you haven't made up one of these, make tamping easy, nekid of fully clothed.

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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I started dosing more again and decided not to worry so much about the hex screw. It seems I get a better extraction now, definitely more consistent.

    Although now the issue is the cappuccino is now too strong (haha) I guess I might have to get the 15g VST as well

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    You've been around for a while now JM, I'm surprised you haven't made up one of these, make tamping easy, nekid of fully clothed.
    Ooh... shiny... pretty... Must tell the missus before Xmas.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Hey Yelta, did you make that station? I've been looking around and there's nothing as sexy as that one that I have yet found - lotsa stainless steel 'nouveau' style ones but yours is just something I would like on my bench - unfortunately I don't have the tools (& probably not the skills) to make anything as lovely.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
    Hey Yelta, did you make that station? I've been looking around and there's nothing as sexy as that one that I have yet found - lotsa stainless steel 'nouveau' style ones but yours is just something I would like on my bench - unfortunately I don't have the tools (& probably not the skills) to make anything as lovely.
    Yep, designed and made by yours truly, couple of hours with saw, and router, bit of a sand down and couple of layers of shellac.
    Have been using it for a few years now, wouldn't be without it.
    The commercial stainless jobs available came out a few years after I posted on the idea (complete with pics) on Coffeesnobs, I suspect they knocked my idea off.

  36. #36
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    I reckon if you make a few, it would sell like hot cake

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    Quote Originally Posted by okitoki View Post
    I reckon if you make a few, it would sell like hot cake
    Thanks for the compliment Okitoki.
    It wouldn't be a commercial proposition, too many different PF makes and sizes.
    Anyone with basic woodworking skills should be able to make one up quick smart.

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    hmm i've always used 16g on my stock baskets, got a VST 18g recently and stuck to old habits, and results were still pretty decent when i first gave it a whirl. but for some reason i've pulled underextracted tasting shots (very strong bitter notes with no real flavours) from my last 3 extractions, though flow and extraction time was definitely on the ball, even striping looked great. i'm just gonna chalk it up to inconsistent temperatures or a bad batch for now... might have to put away the milk bottle and start tasting espressos again to make a proper diagnosis.

    that said, i'm tempted to try 16g dose in a 15g VST basket and see what results i'll yield...
    Last edited by Avex; 11th November 2013 at 04:04 AM.

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    Is the depth of a shower screen universal across most machines? If not it would stand to reason different machines would take different doses with the same exchangeable basket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkfalz View Post
    Is the depth of a shower screen universal across most machines? If not it would stand to reason different machines would take different doses with the same exchangeable basket.
    Morning Darkfatz, your assumption is correct.

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    When I got my VST's I had to go 1 notch finer for grinding the same beans. I noticed it the day I got them as I had a coffee 1st thing then the VST's arrived later and I tried them out. First shot was down on the gauge and a bit of a gusher. One notch finer on the EM0480 and I had my sweet spot. As above, at that point the sweet spot was a bit higher on the gauge than it is with the standard SB baskets.

    I can dose to where the screw leaves a very slight impression and still get a great coffee, but I think the VST's are more sensitive to underdose; when I tried to dose at the 5 cent level I got 20sec double shot that lacked depth of flavour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
    When I got my VST's I had to go 1 notch finer for grinding the same beans. I noticed it the day I got them as I had a coffee 1st thing then the VST's arrived later and I tried them out. First shot was down on the gauge and a bit of a gusher. One notch finer on the EM0480 and I had my sweet spot. As above, at that point the sweet spot was a bit higher on the gauge than it is with the standard SB baskets.

    I can dose to where the screw leaves a very slight impression and still get a great coffee, but I think the VST's are more sensitive to underdose; when I tried to dose at the 5 cent level I got 20sec double shot that lacked depth of flavour.
    Hi Journeyman

    Try another stage finer and similar dosing. It has taken me a while to work it out, however VST's have a wide tolerance of grind size as long as you realise it is inversely related to dose. They actually run at their best with a significantly finer grind and lower dosage compared to most other baskets. It is actually the grind / dose ratio that seems critical in my machines.

    For others, VST recommend 1 to 2mm of clearance below the showerscreen & a flat tamper. Their website has a truckload of other info as they are a different world from a "normal baskets", especially when combined with a naked.

    Hope this helps


    TampIt

  43. #43
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    142
    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    i'm starting to get an inkling of the above, i think i got lucky with my first couple attempts, but now i'm struggling to get a decent extraction from my 15g/18g.

    my standard underdose, tamp harder doesn't seem to go so well with the VSTs. I've tried overdosing and tamping lighter and yielded better results, but can't confirm this is always true.

    it seems to be more forgiving on older beans >2 weeks. my week old beans flow through the VSTs in 5 secs flat, i've tried a finer grind, overdosing, tamping harder, etc Nothing works! that being said, it might not be a VST issue since I've yet to try this new beans on my regular basket.



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