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  • VST basket review

    VST Basket Review: 22 gram baskets.

     

    Over the past week I have been conducting testing on the 22 gram VST baskets in conjunction with various staff in our espresso bars, Sales and Roasters.

    The following findings: The VST baskets differ from standard baskets in several ways. They are made of a higher percentage grade stainless steel. This results in a hardier basket, with estimated higher longevity. The weight of the baskets themselves are on average 5 grams heavier than the standard baskets, and hold approx 3 grams less coffee than standard baskets (dependant on consistency/variances of grind size and dosing volume).

    The VST baskets have a standardised and consistent numbers of holes per basket, and each hole is measured to be exactly (approx on average 95%) the same size. This is the first time such precision has been made a priority in the manufacture of baskets, and is creates some major advantages in the VST baskets compared to the standard baskets. The holes in the standard baskets are not consistent in size; there is a fairly large differential here. This inconsistency in size can contribute to over extraction within some areas of the packed coffee, as the espresso pushes easily and at times too quickly through the larger holes. This issue can also contribute the development of channelling during extraction. In the areas of the basket holding smaller holes, under extraction of the packed coffee can occur, as the smaller holes often block up with coffee ground fines.

    During testing with the VST baskets using naked group handles, this was demonstrated. The overall development, saturation and pull through of the espresso from the base of the VST baskets were substantially more even and consistent than that of the standard baskets. This even development helps to contribute to increased overall flavour development.  One of the other advantages of uniform hole size is that it reduces the amount of sediment (gritty ground fines) entering the cup. In a standard basket, larger holes allow fines to be pushed into the cup, contributing to grittiness in texture. This was even prevalent in close inspection of the espresso extraction, as there were visually less grounds being seen to be pushed through, and there was a higher reflective aspect of the VST extraction.  This results in a cleaner extraction quality, and contributes to the development or balancing out of the higher, brighter notes in the espresso.

    The flip side to this is that it reduces the perception of the body of the espresso, as the accustomed addition of ground fines in the espresso produced by standard baskets, produces a heavier textural experience. With this change in body perception in the espresso, comes a reduced body perception when milk is added. In a comparison standard vs VST milk based coffee, the standard basket produced a more full bodied, heavier development in the milk based drinks. This in turn, alters the profile of our current blends in the cup. The VST basket produces a cleaner but lighter bodied milk based drink. This then raises the question….which is better?

    My personal opinion is that I have a preference for the use of VST baskets for all black coffees. Ristretto, Espresso and Long Black (I didn’t test the Americano…..). The use of the VST baskets in the production of these drinks develops cleaner, brighter profiles. For milk based drinks, I prefer the standards, as this maintains the big, bold punchy flavours and body. This was also the common theme of opinions for the majority of those that participated in the testing of the VST and standard baskets.

  • #2
    Re: VST basket review

    Thanks for the detailed opinion piece, I am sure it will help with marketing the baskets.

    Personally I remain sceptical of the claims made for the VST baskets being anything other than marketing spin, but I will be easily convinced - as soon as an independent group conducts a meaningful blind testing comparison that confirms there is a repeatable and discernible difference in the cup!

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    • #3
      Re: VST basket review

      Interesting observations. Im tossing up what to get at present so I might just get one of the 22g just to see if there is a difference as well.

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      • #4
        Re: VST basket review

        Hi Galumay,

        If this review came across with a marketing feel, it definately was not my intention. If anything, it does not support the comercial viability in my view. My company doesnt use the VST baskets or sell them, and we did do extensive blind testing with VSTs and standards, I like to think we are meaningful lol!

        But, for each of us it is individual, at the end of the day its all about what is in the cup.

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        • #5
          Re: VST basket review

          Originally posted by 495651525B4D56514A5F5251485B3E0 link=1313984982/3#3 date=1314003539
          Hi Galumay,

          If this review came across with a marketing feel, it definately was not my intention. If anything, it does not support the comercial viability in my view. My company doesnt use the VST baskets or sell them, and we did do extensive blind testing with VSTs and standards, I like to think we are meaningful lol!

          But, for each of us it is individual, at the end of the day its all about what is in the cup.
          Sorry for reading it that way! I actually would be really interested to see the results of blind testing, specifically to see if people could actually even tell which type of basket was used. Also it wasnt my intention to suggest your tests were not meaningful! - i dint realise you had actually done blind testing.

          I agree that its ultimately all about whats in the cup, its just that peoples perceptions about whats in the cup can be influenced by what they believe are variable factors if its not blind testing.

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          • #6
            Re: VST basket review

            Hi wholeshotalove

            I am assuming the standard baskets you used werent triples (like the 22g VST), is this correct?

            If so, whats you opinion on the increased capacity and associated differences in espresso extraction?

            mft

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