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Thread: Baskets - VST, Pullman, or Pesado

  1. #1
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    Baskets - VST, Pullman, or Pesado

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Han anyone tried all 3? What are the differences between them all? I have used Pullman and vst and prefer the Pullman to always having consistent shots.
    Are Pesado similar to VST or a different breed again?

    i like th is Pullman but wonder if I’ll get improvement on the Pesado.

    i have a Pesado shower screen and tamper to suit.

    18g baskets btw

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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sten186 View Post
    Han anyone tried all 3? What are the differences between them all? I have used Pullman and vst and prefer the Pullman to always having consistent shots.
    Are Pesado similar to VST or a different breed again?

    i like th is Pullman but wonder if I’ll get improvement on the Pesado.

    i have a Pesado shower screen and tamper to suit.

    18g baskets btw
    Pesado are made by IMS. The Pullman ones might be IMS too, but I’m not sure. I have a Pesado which I really like, but haven’t tried any of the other precision ones.

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    Leroy is spot on, Pesado are IMS basket and believe they are same or another version of thier competition baskets. Not sure if Pullman made by one of the big companies but they are really good and is my go to basket but only as that size suits the dose size I’m using currently. The Pullman 19-22g basket I dose at 20-21g. The Pesado 24.5 (18g) I dose at 19g and 26.5 (20g) I dose at 22g+. In case it helps I’m using a Nuova Simonelli Oscar 2 and has about 10-11mm headroom to screen from top of puck.
    ive got Pullman and Pesado baskets and find there’s minimal between them. Find both are very consistent. Pullman are always same diameter (58.7mm if remember correctly), one Pesado is 58.7mm the other is 59.0mm. Not a big deal but being fussy and spending $ on a Pullman bigstep I want a close fit and can notice the extra play with the larger Pesado.

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    Sten186, if your around Central Coast / Sydney let me know as happy for you to try out the Pesado 24.5 (18g) basket I have. Send me a PM if helps. For $30 and free shipping it’s a cheap and easy buy for a new on and comes in padded tin.

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    Thanks for the info and offer M21. Very generous but I’m north qld. I placed an order for 2 pasado baskets so will try them out. Will see how they go said repost back. Small price to pay, but will be good to have some spares anyway.

    I got a few different sizes
    Last edited by sten186; 10th April 2018 at 07:32 AM.

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    I will watch with interest.

    I am not "clued enough" to say, but I use Decent Espresso on my EM6910, and in a different location VST and Sunbeam on my EM7000.

    But I am sure VST and Decent Espresso give sweeter coffee.

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    Junior Member MichelleM's Avatar
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    I don't want to open the same thread here after a year.

    But maybe someone compared in detail meanwhile baskets from Pullman with the ones from VST, maybe as well with Decent. And could share here the outcome. I'm aware this is and will be always a personal view but nevertheless may help others.

    Going through the answers in this tread it seams that I need to run my own tests, regardless it feels to me like to invent the wheel again

    Any feedback is highly appreciated.

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    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    Silipo are offering a free Pesado basket with any 1kg blend of their beans ordered during May - well that's what the email I got from them said. Just sharing. :-)
    Dimal likes this.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichelleM View Post
    I don't want to open the same thread here after a year.

    But maybe someone compared in detail meanwhile baskets from Pullman with the ones from VST, maybe as well with Decent. And could share here the outcome. I'm aware this is and will be always a personal view but nevertheless may help others.

    Going through the answers in this tread it seams that I need to run my own tests, regardless it feels to me like to invent the wheel again

    Any feedback is highly appreciated.
    G'day MichelleM

    I suppose I am biased in that I have 4 sets of ridgeless* VST's - originally 2 locations plus spares for setting up cafes. I often run 3 or 4 portafilters (p/fs) when I do coffee for the ravening hordes (of family and / or friends) so multiple basket sets make sense for me. Ridgeless* - makes a difference compared to ridged (backed up by blind testing here - subtle but real). According to Vince Fedele's (the "V" in VST) research paper they actually flow differently (i.e. better for ridgeless IMO - not that he says that).

    For better or worse, VSTs have a greater hole area, more even hole sizing and hole spacing plus a whole batch of flow dynamics research on their side. As you go up in size from 7g to 15g, 18g, 20g and then 22g the actual hole size increases so you can mix and match sizes without more than a minor dosing or grinder change. Moreover, every VST basket of a specific size has the same flow rate (or so close I cannot pick it) as every other VST of the same size. Every VST ships with a graph of the parameters of that particular basket. Needless to say, all that comes at a cost so VST's are not cheap. In hard cold data, VST's flow about 50% more fluid than their generic competitors for any given basket size.

    That flow rate immediately throws a lot of stress onto the grinder - you need to grind a lot finer, with a much more even particle spread to get a VST to work properly. A lot of traditional grinders (including quite a few upmarket expensive commercial ones) literally cannot do that. A "non coping grinder" will unfailingly purvey a cup of bitterness to you - that is the main reason a lot of CS'r's simply cannot get a VST to work with their gear. IMO over the last 10 years grinders have improved massively simply because VST baskets exist. A secondary reason is pretty simple - increase the flow rate and any lack of technique will bite you in terms of flavour in the cuppa. Add a naked p/f and you can see any stuff ups with excruciating clarity. That clarity in the cuppa is why the VST has been the official World Barista Championship basket for years (still current as far as I know) - nowhere to disguise any technique slip up.

    On the plus side, given good enough gear the VST's extraction ratio (i.e. flavour quantity in the cuppa) is also about 50% more than standard baskets. Guys like me also find the flavour quality is a lot clearer and more defined - good roasts are amazing, poor roasts are simply undrinkable. A classic example of "You pays your money and you takes your choice".

    The other baskets you mentioned are more or less traditional baskets with more even hole size and spacing (as are EP / EP / HQ "precision" baskets - although I reckon they are not as good as the Decent / Pullman - or as expensive, so fair enough). Far more tolerant of poor grinders and / or mediocre technique, they certainly have their place.

    I have only ever tried one Pullman basket in my home setups briefly. Nothing like the flow rate of a VST - maybe a bit quicker than a standard basket. Not as clear in flavour as a VST, however it was certainly enjoyable to drink (noticeably better than a trad basket). I also have three Decent baskets so far - my new toy came with a 15g and a 7g, later they developed a 10g which I obtained when my catering kit was about to be shipped. They are more or less the same as the Pullman in terms of flow. Their flavour is also a step up from the traditional baskets in terms of quantity & quality. I doubt their extraction ratio is as high as a VST as my 7g VST makes stronger coffee than the Decent 10g. I wanted a basket with a bit more flavour whack than the 7g VST, not as much as the 15g VST (i.e. too big a step up for some roasts) - so basically I wasted my moola on that one (and the 7g Decent is untampable - why / sigh). All three of my decent baskets are in storage.

    It is worth noting that John @ Decent recently posted about new baskets, so perhaps their next batch may be a step or two upwards.

    Hope this helps.


    TampIt
    Note: I nearly forgot VST's are severely allergic to convex tampers in my various setups. They must have a flat based tamper. Apparently that is somehow related to flow.

  10. #10
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    This is a great question, and also great post above by TampIt.

    There are two main issues when buying baskets:
    1. What is the total hole area? (You can ask this a number of ways; eg. what is the flow rate for a given grind, dose, temp and pressure profile)
    2. If you buy multiple baskets, how likely are they to have the same total hole area? Or how close together will it be?

    Question 2 is really the one that has received the most focus, since if you're in a cafe with a multiple group machine, it's infuriating to have one group behaving differently because the holes weren't punched out of the basket in the same way. You can imagine how much work this creates for the barista to work out what is going on and you might even get cafe owners calling out techs to see if there's something wrong with the machine. So there's a real market for baskets that address issue 2. Spending an additional $20 or $30 per basket for this peace of mind is pretty good value for a cafe.

    Question 1 is really the more important one in terms of what results you get in the cup. As TampIt has said, at the moment the best guess is that if you have a better grinder (as in one that can achieve higher extraction ratios without negative tastes), then you want more total hole area so that you can use a finer grind (since the finer grind is necessary to slow the flow). Also, you probably want more total hole area (and a better grinder in the previously mentioned sense) if you use lighter roasted and less soluble coffee.

    I know that VST put a bit of work into question 1 and I imagine the other manufacturers of baskets that apply strict QC to address Question 2 have put work into Question 1, but it's not as if there is a straight answer on this that is available to the public. What I would like to see is a list that puts in order something like if you use the same coffee, grinder, pressure profile, brew temperature, yield, brew time and dose for the rated dose on baskets of the same capacity from different manufacturers, then how do the grinders rank in terms of coarseness of the required grind? Or the other way; if you keep grind size constant let the brew time be the dependent variable, then how do the baskets rank in terms of brew time? Hard data on this doesn't really seem to be out there, which is very irritating since it is the real metric that you would want to compare baskets based on. To be fair to the manufacturers, they may well think that most potential purchasers wouldn't actually require this information, so they only have sales to lose by putting it out there.

    I have been using the ridgeless VST 15, 18 and 20gs and have just bought the Decent 15, 18 and 20gs. I am hoping to get my hands on the IMS baskets and any other precision baskets that I can. Pullman and Pesado aren't a priority for me, since I am assuming that they rebrand rather than manufacturing themselves, so they don't get my interest until they first establish that they are different from whatever is being rebranded, but I'm happy to check them out if I can get my hands on them. Similarly, LM have a few slightly different baskets, which I gather are VSTs. I'm then planning to get some garbage coffee and sacrifice an afternoon of my life for the team on the semi-thankless chore of creating a table that will enable us to work out how different the baskets are in total hole area. I'll use the decent machine for this so that I can check on the graphs that the differences weren't due to puck prep. Then we will finally have some semi-useful information to use on this decision.

    In the scheme of things, $40 seems a fairly small amount of money for a home user to pay for something that actually results in better coffee.

    I firmly believe that one of the most common causes of disappointment in coffee is people with preferences for darker roasts being exposed to stuff suitable for light roasts and vice-versa; these are matters of preference and should be disclosed when commenting on quality. For example, VST seems to have a fairly high flow rate, so it may be that if you like roasts on the darker, more developed end of the spectrum and/or you have a grinder that makes coffee that starts to taste bitter at lower extraction yields, then you might be disappointed with VSTs. (Look up anotherjim's "scale invariant"/"scale variant" basket research post from about 7 years ago on home-barista if you want to spend hours scratching your head about baskets before finally getting something from it.) But this is relative to other baskets on the market and we don't have good information on the grind size/flow rates. If anyone has baskets that they can lend me in Melbourne for the study, please get in touch.

    Finally, for what it's worth, I'm also using VST 15/18/20 ridgeless. I bought them simply because they are sort of the industry standard and I wanted to have a good chance of being able to use the same basket as what commercial roasters use when they recommend brew parameters for their roasts. I find that a coarser grind is required across the VST range as you move up the stated dose size; presumably they are using the same hole surface area and pattern at each dose; I'm kind of surprised that the total hole area isn't proportionate to the dose, or otherwise calculated to achieve the same flow rate at the same grind settings despite different doses. Or maybe that's not possible. Plenty of important information that we don't have.

    Also FWIW, the VST 15g tends to be my weapon of choice for using the finest grind possible on light roasted coffees. If I have a dark roast, I'll usually default over to the 20g. I don't use the 18g much, but it's kind of nice if I have a particularly light roast coffee and I want to get more shot volume eg. so that I have a sufficient espresso base to stand up to a milk drink.

    TampIt, if you have links to any of the VST research, I'd love to read it. I've probably stumbled across it and forgotten!

    Luca

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    Quote Originally Posted by luca View Post
    This is a great question, and also great post above by TampIt.

    Finally, for what it's worth, I'm also using VST 15/18/20 ridgeless. I bought them simply because they are sort of the industry standard and I wanted to have a good chance of being able to use the same basket as what commercial roasters use when they recommend brew parameters for their roasts. I find that a coarser grind is required across the VST range as you move up the stated dose size; presumably they are using the same hole surface area and pattern at each dose; I'm kind of surprised that the total hole area isn't proportionate to the dose, or otherwise calculated to achieve the same flow rate at the same grind settings despite different doses. Or maybe that's not possible. Plenty of important information that we don't have.

    Also FWIW, the VST 15g tends to be my weapon of choice for using the finest grind possible on light roasted coffees. If I have a dark roast, I'll usually default over to the 20g. I don't use the 18g much, but it's kind of nice if I have a particularly light roast coffee and I want to get more shot volume eg. so that I have a sufficient espresso base to stand up to a milk drink.

    TampIt, if you have links to any of the VST research, I'd love to read it. I've probably stumbled across it and forgotten!

    Luca
    G'day luca

    Actually the hole size in the VST does increase as you go from the 7g up to the 22g - easy for these old tired eyes to see with a small amount of magnification. If you set up your quality grinder (even particle spread rules supreme) / gear to maximise extraction ratio then any adjustment when swapping different size baskets is trivial. To quantify, I have never had to go more than 2 micro notches on my Varios - which is 2/253 of the total grinding range "worst case". Considering different "light to medium SO roasts" at the same development stage have an initial range of about 10 micro steps any later "basket size swap" is a minuscule shift (which is actually simpler to change the second shot via a slight dosing or tamping change). FYI, I also have found the poorer the extraction ratio the more grinder adjustment is needed to accommodate VST size changes.

    I already stated my comparison between the Pullman, the Decent and the VST - feel free to test with your own gear. Comparing the EP / EP / HQ "precision" baskets with the VSTs was actually using a friend's medical laser refractometer over a weekend of hard core testing - and they just didn't make the cut at the time compared to the VSTs. To quantify (again) by the time the EP / EP / HQ "precision" baskets read 16% extraction ratio the coffee was undrinkably bitter swill. Using the same gear (my old Mazzer Major became the reference grinder) the VSTs pulled tasty shots at 23% extraction ratio consistently. I wish I could repeat that testing again, the Vario added another 2 to 3% extraction ratio to the VST using the "Mojo to go" refractometer at a friend's place compared to my Major about three months later.

    BTW, the "VST difference" was so great I ended up using a VST 7g single basket for my daily lattes for the first time since 1970! The 15g shots needed nearly 200ml of milk to balance the flavour. That basket switch turned my coffee world upside down in a couple of months.

    FWIW, it is very easy to field test flow rate comparisons without a refractometer. Simply optimise the pour for VSTs and then watch the other baskets choke if their flow rate is lower. FYI, that is how I "tested" my Decent baskets - the roast was already setup for the VSTs and the Decent baskets choked in both my Decent DE1 (yeah, I know, ironic) and my original 6910. After tinkering to rebalance the flow for the Decent baskets I had lost far too much flavour quality and quantity compared to my 7g VST - let alone upping the size of the VST baskets if I needed more whack.

    Over to VST research: My copies of Vince Fedele's early VST research are in paper copies only. Mark Prince summarises the development rationale and process well in:-
    CoffeeGeek - Can These Filters Change the World of Espresso?
    Posted: April 29, 2011
    which is less technical (and probably of more interest) to most CS'r's than Vince's papers.

    For some original userland quotes and reviews (some links within it - no idea how many still work)
    Filter Basket Press- VST

    Enjoy your cuppa


    TampIt

  12. #12
    Junior Member MichelleM's Avatar
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    Thank you very much TampIt for your detailed and very interesting posts, also for your links.

    Meanwhile I bought already the whole set of Pullman's baskets. And thought I will start to use those against the standard ECM ones which came with the baby. First impression is that the with the Pullmann's the taste became indeed sweeter.

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    Junior Member MichelleM's Avatar
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    Thanks also to Luca for sharing your insights and thoughts with us.

    After your post I decided to buy now also a set of the ridgeless VST's to run then some Pullman vs. VST comparisons. That such a comparisons are then not 1:1 transferable to others I think is understandable. As we have so many influencing factors around like grinder setting, roast, machine, water etc. Nevertheless I think this is a typical topic which makes sense sharing observations to enable one or the other to find faster the own way to get a better cup of coffee

    I am happy that this topic came back alive after a year sleeping as I agree quality baskets are key and really worth.

    Best,
    Michelle

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    Quote Originally Posted by MichelleM View Post
    Thank you very much TampIt for your detailed and very interesting posts, also for your links.

    Meanwhile I bought already the whole set of Pullman's baskets. And thought I will start to use those against the standard ECM ones which came with the baby. First impression is that the with the Pullmann's the taste became indeed sweeter.
    G'day MichelleM

    Those "detailed and very interesting posts" have also attracted a lot of flak from others as they would prefer to see a one line response. I can only quote H.L. Menken (1894!) "For every complex problem there is a simple answer... and it is always wrong".

    Have fun testing your baskets - nothing will part me from my selection of Pullman 316 Barista tampers... hence the handle.

    TampIt

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    Junior Member MichelleM's Avatar
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    Hello TampIt,

    Well... to make coffee is a nice BUT complex job, I agree
    Hence I started now last week as mentioned earlier a basket comparison project Pullmann vs. VST.

    Setting:
    ECM Synchronika
    Mahlkönig K30 La Potenza
    Volvic bottled water
    VST 18 g basket ridegless
    Pullman BigStep 58.55 mm - flat

    As coffee I used for the tests the Italian New York Aroma Completo, 18 g.

    An additional side note here regarding the tamper. I tried as well the Pullman Barista 58.4 mm (flat) tamper. But as the BigStep 58.55 mm is fitting so well the 18 g VST basket, I started finally the tests with the BigStep.

    Following some points I discovered. Regardless you said that most probably those are wrong to most, what I agree... Nevertheless maybe others will find one or the other thought as well helpful to find the own way.

    Just in a nut shell here my very first observations:
    - small channelling signs in the puck is gone (in comparison with original ECM and Pullmann's 876 17-19 g basket).
    - puck looks fine
    - extraction / crema looks fine

    But what finally only counts: the espresso tastes for me really great! This was until now with Pullman's baskets most always not the case. Sure, reason was most likely the quite often happened channelling. But in the VST 18g / Pullman BigStep pairing this is now gone.

    This setting finally proofed to me following: when someone knows the basics like how important a clean machine/grinder is, uses suitable water, reads the puck and tamper correct. Then it is really possible to reproduce a great espresso with the VST 18 g ridgeless together with the Pullman BigStep 58.55 mm.

    I am really happy with the VST basket(s) already, hence I am very interested in Vince Fedele's early VST research information you mentioned earlier. Do you think you could scan your paper copy?

    Thanks,
    Michelle

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    Quote Originally Posted by MichelleM View Post
    Hello TampIt,

    Well... to make coffee is a nice BUT complex job, I agree
    Hence I started now last week as mentioned earlier a basket comparison project Pullmann vs. VST.

    Setting:
    ECM Synchronika
    Mahlkönig K30 La Potenza
    Volvic bottled water
    VST 18 g basket ridegless
    Pullman BigStep 58.55 mm - flat

    As coffee I used for the tests the Italian New York Aroma Completo, 18 g.

    An additional side note here regarding the tamper. I tried as well the Pullman Barista 58.4 mm (flat) tamper. But as the BigStep 58.55 mm is fitting so well the 18 g VST basket, I started finally the tests with the BigStep.

    Following some points I discovered. Regardless you said that most probably those are wrong to most, what I agree... Nevertheless maybe others will find one or the other thought as well helpful to find the own way.

    Just in a nut shell here my very first observations:
    - small channelling signs in the puck is gone (in comparison with original ECM and Pullmann's 876 17-19 g basket).
    - puck looks fine
    - extraction / crema looks fine

    But what finally only counts: the espresso tastes for me really great! This was until now with Pullman's baskets most always not the case. Sure, reason was most likely the quite often happened channelling. But in the VST 18g / Pullman BigStep pairing this is now gone.

    This setting finally proofed to me following: when someone knows the basics like how important a clean machine/grinder is, uses suitable water, reads the puck and tamper correct. Then it is really possible to reproduce a great espresso with the VST 18 g ridgeless together with the Pullman BigStep 58.55 mm.

    I am really happy with the VST basket(s) already, hence I am very interested in Vince Fedele's early VST research information you mentioned earlier. Do you think you could scan your paper copy?

    Thanks,
    Michelle
    G'day Michelle

    That pretty well matches my experience - no surprise there, if your roast & maintenance is good and your dosing / tamping consistent then you get great tasting coffee out of VSTs.

    I have a couple of thoughts
    1) Are you using a naked portafilter? From the way you described it, I suspect not. A naked will bump the VST flavour up a notch & also help improve your technique - any channeling and it will spray.
    TamperPreSingle.jpg
    2) See above photo (prototype 316 single tamper) - the sides of all my tampers are tapered, and I do not have tamper rings on any of them. My 316 Pullman Barista tampers also have sides tapered to match the side of the VST baskets they were made / matched to fit. Also, none of my Pullmans have tamping rings as they just attract more coffee grounds (see below photo). Standard 316 barista tampers have straight sides. The tapered sides gave a better coffee than either the Bigstep or the straight sided Baristas in my system.
    IMG20190403220030 3+ Pullmans.jpg

    Sorry, I cannot access any of my (extensive, mainly SF and environmental stuff) library as it is in storage for the next few months until the new build is finished here. I only kept a few current items (i.e. Illy "Espresso coffee: the science of quality") on hand. If you go onto the VST website, they probably have it available somewhere or you can contact them and ask for a copy. From what I recall, the Mark Prince review provides most of the relevant info for any non technical / engineering aficionado.

    Enjoy your cuppa - sounds like you are, and all is good in your coffee world at least.

    TampIt
    Last edited by TampIt; 12th May 2019 at 11:58 PM.

  17. #17
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    Hello TampIt,

    You are right, I started with the double spout portafilter. Simply due to the often happened channelling before. You know, channelling is equal to big mess Bud with the VST 18g / Pullman BigStep combination this is gone and I switched then to the naked portafilter. This was the point also to change from the two small single ACF espresso cups to a single ACF doppio cup.

    As expected, there was with this combination of a bigger single cup and the naked portafilter a nice step up regarding the overall flavour profile. Finally, for me the doppio setting with I reached a really buon caffè looks as follows:

    Dose: 18 g
    Basket: VST 18 g ridegless
    Tamper: Pullman BigStep 58.55 flat
    Temperature: 93 °C
    Extraction time: 24 s
    Cup: 160 cl
    Coffee: ~50 g in the cup


    An additional advantage using the naked portafilter is, as you said, it gives full visual control during the extraction.

    Coming back to the technical article of Vince Fedele you mentioned. For me is the Mark Prince review a good intro to the VST story. But for those interested in the big picture and the story behind the VST baskets, I think the article from Vince is very interesting. So, I guess you were referring to following article

    ADVANCES IN THE STATE OF THE ART - AND SCIENCE - OF ESPRESSO

    he once published in the Barista Magazine in 2011.

    Thanks,
    Michelle

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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by MichelleM View Post
    Hello TampIt,

    You are right, I started with the double spout portafilter. Simply due to the often happened channelling before. You know, channelling is equal to big mess Bud with the VST 18g / Pullman BigStep combination this is gone and I switched then to the naked portafilter. This was the point also to change from the two small single ACF espresso cups to a single ACF doppio cup.

    As expected, there was with this combination of a bigger single cup and the naked portafilter a nice step up regarding the overall flavour profile. Finally, for me the doppio setting with I reached a really buon caffè looks as follows:

    Dose: 18 g
    Basket: VST 18 g ridegless
    Tamper: Pullman BigStep 58.55 flat
    Temperature: 93 °C
    Extraction time: 24 s
    Cup: 160 cl
    Coffee: ~50 g in the cup


    An additional advantage using the naked portafilter is, as you said, it gives full visual control during the extraction.

    Coming back to the technical article of Vince Fedele you mentioned. For me is the Mark Prince review a good intro to the VST story. But for those interested in the big picture and the story behind the VST baskets, I think the article from Vince is very interesting. So, I guess you were referring to following article

    ADVANCES IN THE STATE OF THE ART - AND SCIENCE - OF ESPRESSO

    he once published in the Barista Magazine in 2011.

    Thanks,
    Michelle
    G'day Michelle

    Channelling - the best way I know to reduce / remove channelling is to use a naked p/f. It certainly hones your technique rapidly.

    I am glad your coffee is tasting a lot better - well done. Now you can tinker with the various roasts and settings and see what happens.

    That article is one of the ones I meant - I am glad it is now online so every coffee aficionado can get an idea of just how advanced the VST basket is.

    Enjoy your new toys.


    TampIt



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