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Thread: Do baskets make a difference?

  1. #1
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    Do baskets make a difference?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Just a question? I have an Expobar Office SA all standard.
    Does the type (Brand, design, not size) of Basket used in the PF make a significant difference in the cup?

    Waiting eagerly for wisdom, from those who know.

    JL :)

  2. #2
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Does baskets make a difference?

    Some have mentioned that using ridgeless baskets makes the tamping of the puck easier or more consistent. I suppose it follows that this can, in turn, have an effect in the cup.

    Personally, I think picking any difference in taste between 2 different 14g baskets is beyond me.

    Brett.

  3. #3
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    Re: Does baskets make a difference?

    ...but a ridged basket stays in the PF a little better and you have the "ridge" inside as a rough marker you can use for dosing.

    It just seems like personal preference, I also havnt been able to taste any difference in baskets of a different size.

    Heres something I was thinking about - does a single shot from an LM/Swift basket taste any different than a normal single basket of the same volume dose. (Therefore the only variable is the grind, which would be finer on the LM).

    Anyone here tried them side by side?

    John.

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    Re: Does baskets make a difference?

    "does a single shot from an LM/Swift basket taste any different than a normal single basket of the same volume dose."

    Hi John

    Can you tell about LM/Swift baskets, what makes these different?

    Thanks
    JL

  5. #5
    Site Sponsor pullman's Avatar
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    Re: Does baskets make a difference?

    I find that with a ridgeless basket it is easier to get a "perfect" tamp as there is uniform pressure near the edge of the basket compared to the centre...

    A ridged basket will disturb the tamping somewhat at the edge, and if your tamping technique is good - it probably doesnt matter..... but if not so good I believe you get a better tamp - and therefore pour - if the tamper goes in smoothly without the necking in and back out at the ridge.

    Also just about all ridgeless baskets Ive measured are perfectly round (including the Sunbeam baskets) whereas the ridged baskets are always a little oval.... some very much so!! I put this down to the more complex manufacturing process required to make a ridged basket.

    So if you use a fitted tamper, in a ridgeless it will be fitted all the way around the edge and make a perfect seal.... where as in a ridged basket it will be a perfect fit in one direction and have a little more gap in the other (at 90 degrees to the first). This is not much with quality baskets..... but it is there.

    The only problem with ridgeless baskets - the spring in the pf needs to be stronger to hold them in.... or the basket can come out with the spent puck if you tap very heavily....

    Whether or not you can taste the difference.... that I cant say!

    Robin

  6. #6
    Site Sponsor pullman's Avatar
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    Re: Does baskets make a difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by crashlee link=1194059328/0#3 date=1194070514
    Can you tell about LM/Swift baskets, what makes these different?

    Thanks
    JL

    LM Swift baskets are the same profile for single and double.... So the big difference is the necking in below the ridge on all other single baskets doesnt exist on a swift single basket... it looks just like a shorter double basket...

    But these can only be used in combination with a swift grinder..... which tamps as it loads the grounds into the basket... but to a much lower pressure than the normal 15KG.... you thus get a completely uniform puck from the bottom of the basket to the top..... so the single can be used on the same grind as the double even though its only half as deep!!!

    Can you taste the difference? For a skilled Barista using good technique and normal baskets - I doubt it..... but anyone can get similar quality from this baskets/grinder combo.... as it is all done for you!

    Robin

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    Re: Does baskets make a difference?

    Hi Robin,

    Dont the swift grinders use 2 different grinds for the 2 different baskets? (The single is ground finer to make up for it being half the height) and for this reason it has 2 hoppers and 2 adjustable burrs etc... and only one PF holder, and you select the button on the front you want (single or double).

    Thats my understanding of how they work (having only ever seen one at one one of the places I visit).

    I think they also dose 100% consistent as they stop the grinder based on the height of the puck.

    As you mentioned its all for consistency between users. It also is a doserless grinder so there are no grinds going stale in the doer.

    I also agree about the stamping of the ridge can lead to the basket warping, and the only basket I had that was visibly not round was a ridged single.

  8. #8
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Does baskets make a difference?

    Hmmm,

    Ive only ever used machines with straight sided baskets and have always found them very easy to use and become consistent with their use. Id probably find ridged baskets to be very annoying as the ridge must play some part in upsetting ones attempts to customise the dose/distribution technique when you feel like pulling a shot with altered outcomes.... like the under-dosed shots that Luca has referred to from time to time. Maybe its no big deal at all and there is no basis for my conclusions but it would take an awful lot of convincing to encourage me to try using the ridged variety....

    Cheers,
    Mal.

  9. #9
    Site Sponsor pullman's Avatar
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    Re: Does baskets make a difference?

    Hi John,

    Ive also seen one and had a very brief play with it.... as well as reading some info about them on the web (there are quite a few articles.... including the history of their design).

    Im led to believe (but havent tried it nor seen it demonstrated) that there is little, if any need to change the grind from single to double.....

    The grinder certainly doses the correct amount each and every time.... and is really designed for busy cafes where staff arent really skilled as Baristas.....

    But at the price..... dont get too excited as they are not the sort of grinder that we snobs can afford.... but having tasted the resulting espresso.... they are a great grinder.

    The ridged baskets also have another problem.... the ridge isnt always parallel to the base of the basket (I guess because it is a second stamping / rolling process)..... so in most cases I wouldnt recommend using the ridge as a depth gauge.... otherwise the top surface of your puck will be on a slope and this will lead to uneven pours....

    If you need a depth gauge, purchase a tamper with depth rings turned into the outer edge.... just like a ...... (mmmm the name escapes me) ;) ;D ;D ;D ;D

    Robin.

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    Re: Does baskets make a difference?

    I have read that synesso, gaggia, LM,ect baskets are different and they can make a difference. Because of dosing issues and also alluded to earlier tamping issues.

    Is this true?

    Thanks for the replies so far they have been helpful.

    JL

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    Re: Does baskets make a difference?

    Hi crashlee,

    I think most of your questions have been answered already but Ill add my bit.

    Baskets do have the potential to make a difference in a few ways:

    1) their volume i.e. the amount of coffee they can hold - larger baskets allow a longer extraction before blonding, which gives richer coffee without bitterness or a better chance of longer ristretto-style pours

    2) their shape - baskets with non-straight sides or bottom mean the tamp pressure will be applied differently to different parts of the puck (compare the shape of a double and single basket and youll see what I mean - the single is a much more complicated shape and thus a lot harder to control). What this means is that some portions of ground coffee will be more compressed than others; since water is lazy, it will take the path of least resistance (like most of us would!) so itll run through all the lower pressure areas and overextract these while leaving the more densely packed areas relatively underextracted. This will cause the basket to behave like a smaller one in that the water is only travelling through say 2/3 of the ground coffee, so blonding starts earlier than it should for that size basket. This also means youre wasting a certain amount of your beans!

    3) the existence or not of a ridge - this in my view is a largely theoretical factor as far as its affect on the quality of the extraction and would only come into play when most other factors are all under control; however I grant that in theory a ridgeless basket would give better results, and the spent pucks certainly knock out more cleanly than with a ridged basket. The main purpose of a ridge in the basket is to hold it in the portafilter more securely and it means the spring can be weaker, and cheaper!

    HTH!
    Greg

  12. #12
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    Re: Does baskets make a difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by crashlee link=1194059328/0#9 date=1194087680
    I have read that synesso, gaggia, LM,ect baskets are different and they can make a difference. Because of dosing issues and also alluded to earlier tamping issues.
    Hi JL,

    From what I have experienced, the most important factors in a basket are volume and the total area of the holes. Most manufacturers seem to be able to get the second thing right, although I have used a few baskets that were noticeably awful and I presume that the problem was that those baskets had so many huge holes that it just let everything gush through. Practically speaking, volume is probably the most important thing, as Greg explained above.

    (If you dont want to use a big basket to dose up, some people think that there are benefits of having more "head space" between the shower screen. A few famous US cafes use 21g baskets so that they can dose coffee from the grinder and strike off level without needing to rap the pf on the bench to get more in, as they would need to with a smaller basket. I gather that its a speed and consistency thing.)

    FWIW, the LM double basket and the Synesso double basket seem to me to hold similar volumes and usually produce coffee that tastes similar. The LM double basket is basically super-ridged, but it has always produced an admirable result in the cup for me with both high and low doses. That said, my go-to basket at home is a ridgeless double simply because it is easier to clean.

    Oh yeah; mustnt forget - if were using gaggia baskets in the same sentence as LM and Synesso, I have to say that the gaggia single basket that someone dug up for Maling Room is pretty amazing. I dont know if its the same as whats in the current gaggia lineup, as it may have come from one of Greg Kaans old ones, but its relatively huge and ridgeless. Makes for nice shots.

    Even though the differences between baskets of the same volume seem to me to be pretty small, baskets are cheap, so any self-respecting espresso nutcase will probably end up with a drawer full of them. If nothing else, it means that you can change baskets to suit your dose so that a smaller dose doesnt result in a soggy and crumbly puck. Hmm ... might have to grab a 12g basket! You can also jam in a 21g basket if you enjoy ristretto-style shots or if you want to make two milk drinks from one espresso pull - provided that your portafilter is deep enough!

    Dont the swift grinders use 2 different grinds for the 2 different baskets? (The single is ground finer to make up for it being half the height) and for this reason it has 2 hoppers and 2 adjustable burrs etc... and only one PF holder, and you select the button on the front you want (single or double).

    Thats my understanding of how they work (having only ever seen one at one one of the places I visit).

    I think they also dose 100% consistent as they stop the grinder based on the height of the puck.

    As you mentioned its all for consistency between users. It also is a doserless grinder so there are no grinds going stale in the doer.
    The Swift grinder is pretty cool. It has an "impeller" (think reverse propeller) for spreading/tamping/polishing the coffee as it is ground and it comes with its own (ridged) baskets because the impeller gets stuck on the ridges in the standard LM double. As more coffee is ground, the level of the impeller rises in the basket until it hits the off switch - its super elegant and ingenious.

    I think that you can actually get a Swift single basket that is basically shaped the same as the double basket, but not as deep. Apparently they have the same number of holes on the bottom, so I think that you must be right about needing two separate grind levels. In practice, though, if your cafe is busy enough to warrant a Swift, youre probably always going to be able to do two single shots at once. For this reason the cafes that I have seen that use Swifts all use the hoppers for their regular blend and decaf. In fact, Im pretty sure that it doesnt even occur to most Swift owners that they could use a single basket!

    For all its use in high-volume espresso bars, I have to say that the Swift makes for a pretty phenomenal grinder to use to evaluate shots for espresso!

    Cheers,

    Luca


  13. #13
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    Re: Does baskets make a difference?

    To all
    Thank you so much for your input.
    It has been very helpful.

    JL

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    Re: Do baskets make a difference?

    My two bobs worth, and I doubt it makes any difference to the taste, or anything really.
    Ive got a Silvia basket in my Giotto beacause the perforations in the Silvia filter go all the way out to the edge, that is, the bottom surface is completely perforated. The ECM isnt, there is a ring of 5mm round the outside. Not sure why, or even if it would make a difference, but I figure it should be as close to parallel from the shower screen down.

    Boris.

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    Re: Does baskets make a difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1194059328/0#11 date=1194097807

    I think that you can actually get a Swift single basket that is basically shaped the same as the double basket, but not as deep. Apparently they have the same number of holes on the bottom, so I think that you must be right about needing two separate grind levels.
    Havent checked the hole count, but I can confirm the Swift single basket is the same shape as the double but not as deep, I got a couple of these as samples from LM a while back. This is necessary for the impeller to get to the very bottom of the basket to start its rotary tamp action. If the singles had significantly less holes or smaller diameter holes (dont remember the former and would have to check the latter) it would start behaving a bit like a pressurised basket :o so Id think that unlikely. The finer grind seems to be the only other option to vary in that case.

    Greg

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    Re: Does baskets make a difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Pullman link=1194059328/0#14 date=1194215695
    If the singles had significantly less holes or smaller diameter holes (dont remember the former and would have to check the latter) it would start behaving a bit like a pressurised basket :o
    Interesting that you should mention that. I suspect that all baskets behave as pressurised baskets, to some extent. If you look at your regular single basket, it certainly has fewer holes than its corresponding double basket. And, as I mentioned before, I have used a few double baskets that basically seemed incapable of producing a decent shot - everything gushed.

    It would be interesting to experiment with some baskets with different hole diameters.

    Cheers,

    Luca

  17. #17
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    Re: Do baskets make a difference?

    I guess it depends on the quantity / diameter of holes were talking about, and Im not sure how many less the Swift single referred to is supposed to have. Theoretically a double basket with one hole blocked with a coffee ground acts as a slightly more pressurised basket than one with all the holes flowing, but the pressure difference would be so minimal it would be irrelevant. But yep, hole diameters would be an interesting thing to look into.



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