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15 gr VST confusion - odd results?

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  • 15 gr VST confusion - odd results?

    Hi everyone.

    I am coming to the knowledge bank to help solve a bit of an issue.

    in short, I'm not getting the same quality of pours from a new 15gm vst as I do from my stock double basket.

    while the first couple of pours from the vst blew my mind, creamy, tasty goodness, I've struggled to get these since. There was some robusta in the blend I was using though. Now,while I get some Crema, using a differ blend/s, the creaminess is mostly gone and things are more watery.

    As an experiment I threw in the stock basket and immediately the coffee became unctious, creamy, good.

    While the answer seems obvious, ie use the stock basket, I'm keen to get this vst to hum again, as it did when I first used it.

    Does anyone have any experience using the 15gm basket, over say the 18 or 20?

    ive also noticed a few holes in my puck using the vst that don't happen on the stock basket. Wonder if this is part of the problem.

    ...advice appreciated!

  • #2
    I think your answer lies in your last para: holes in the puck.Solution: work on the distribution.

    You initially had great results from your VST so now you need to work on consistency. You also mentioned using different blends so that would have an effect and you may need to adjust your grind. Stick with one blend for a while to help achieve that consistency.

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    • #3
      Yeah, I thought those holes could be showing a distribution problem. Re changing blends, I make sure I dial in each new blend, however it wouldn't hurt to use the same blend for consistency. Mind you, I need to change the grind when moving between stock basket, which must be about 20 gr, and the 15 gr vst anyway.

      re distribution, I use a compak k3, and it seems to clump a lot, so I'm spending time trying to remove these - collapsing grinds, tapping pf pre tamp, wdt. Still not getting a decent distribution though.

      interestingly, not showing these signs of channeling when using the stock basket.

      on a side note, I also read a blog post from maxwell Colonna-Dashwood
      https://colonnaandsmalls.wordpress.c...0/15g-baskets/
      talking about only getting consistent results from the 15 gr VST when he lowered pressure to 6bar.

      Comment


      • #4
        Well some swear by the VST, others' experiences vary. I own a VST triple and no longer use it (I gave up on it). I find my stock Giotto basket delivers the desired results.

        Interesting article that mentioned some of the difficulties you have faced. Changing the brew pressure is a bit drastic as that can alter the brew temperature and steaming capability, though I say this without knowing what sort of espresso machine you have. Note that they are using a machine which allowed tweaking of brew profile and have access to various grinders.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by tobeanornottobean View Post

          on a side note, I also read a blog post from maxwell Colonna-Dashwood
          https://colonnaandsmalls.wordpress.c...0/15g-baskets/
          talking about only getting consistent results from the 15 gr VST when he lowered pressure to 6bar.
          Not really relevant to you or the average home user. MCD use EK43 grinders along with much lighter roasted single origins.

          15g VST baskets are just finicky period, especially if one is dosing 15g = very shallow flat puck prone to cracking and channelling.
          As already mentioned, distribution is key, but over the years I found a big key to consistency with VST baskets is a custom fitting tamper. Otherwise stick to regular more forgiving baskets.

          Grind finer, into a paper cup, weigh the dose exaclty 15 to 16g, keep using that same dose and adjust grind until you find happiness.
          Easier to break up clumps in the cup with paper clip prior to dosing.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by flynnaus View Post
            Well some swear by the VST, others' experiences vary. I own a VST triple and no longer use it (I gave up on it). I find my stock Giotto basket delivers the desired results.

            Interesting article that mentioned some of the difficulties you have faced. Changing the brew pressure is a bit drastic as that can alter the brew temperature and steaming capability, though I say this without knowing what sort of espresso machine you have. Note that they are using a machine which allowed tweaking of brew profile and have access to various grinders.
            an opera I don't have (I run a e61 style Hx). Won't be changing the pressure anytime soon. Particularly when it seems to make good coffee with the right baskets. Just sort of annoyed I need to use a 20gm double or nothing, or so it would seem.
            Last edited by tobeanornottobean; 16 January 2016, 09:12 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Steve82 View Post
              Not really relevant to you or the average home user. MCD use EK43 grinders along with much lighter roasted single origins.

              15g VST baskets are just finicky period, especially if one is dosing 15g = very shallow flat puck prone to cracking and channelling.
              As already mentioned, distribution is key, but over the years I found a big key to consistency with VST baskets is a custom fitting tamper. Otherwise stick to regular more forgiving baskets.

              Grind finer, into a paper cup, weigh the dose exaclty 15 to 16g, keep using that same dose and adjust grind until you find happiness.
              Easier to break up clumps in the cup with paper clip prior to dosing.
              yeah, bought my vst with a custom Pullman tamper so no issue with fit. I grind into a cup so I can weigh (15g) and empty into a jam funnel. Also played with 16 g but that's not helping.

              will try longer pours to see if that gets me there. Good suggestion. Thx.

              Comment


              • #8
                What sort of clearance from the shower-screen are you getting with the 15g dose mate?

                Mal.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Enough so that there is a slight impression of the shower screen edge on the filter basket at the end of the shot...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I like my 15 g VST but have noticed that it requires a noticeably finer grind than the 18, 20 and 22 g baskets. I also second the importance of good distribution.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kwantfm View Post
                      I like my 15 g VST but have noticed that it requires a noticeably finer grind than the 18, 20 and 22 g baskets. I also second the importance of good distribution.
                      Good to hear someone is getting positive results. What do you usually use the basket for, espresso or some other drink?

                      Would love to make great espresso from this basket. I know it can do it, just can't manage to find that magic sweet spot again.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I use it for everything espresso related... the range of drinks required on a weekend with neighbours and friends ranges the full spectrum: ristretto, espresso, long black, macchiato, flat white.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ok. Sounds good.

                          just spent an afternoon pumping out shots. Got the vst to taste really nice, with creamy crema.

                          Went back to the 20 gram to compare, and I still can't do better than this basket.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tobeanornottobean View Post
                            Enough so that there is a slight impression of the shower screen edge on the filter basket at the end of the shot...
                            Unfortunately mate, that means nothing and can't be used as a guide...

                            I probably should not have assumed that you understood. What I meant was, after dosing, distributing and tamping and then locking your Group Handle in place but NOT pulling the shot, what clearance is there between the top of the dry puck and the bottom of the Shower-screen?
                            You should be aiming for around 1.5-2.0mm; or about the thickness of a five cent piece...

                            Mal.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dimal View Post
                              Unfortunately mate, that means nothing and can't be used as a guide...

                              I probably should not have assumed that you understood. What I meant was, after dosing, distributing and tamping and then locking your Group Handle in place but NOT pulling the shot, what clearance is there between the top of the dry puck and the bottom of the Shower-screen?
                              You should be aiming for around 1.5-2.0mm; or about the thickness of a five cent piece...

                              Mal.
                              no. i understood perfectly... If trying to work out if your dosing low or high in relation to your screen, determining if a slight impression of the screw/screen post shot is a good indication.
                              As per the five cent rest, I get a slight impression at 15gm. Slightly more at 16, obviously.
                              the thing about vst baskets, as you might already know, they are designed to work within quite specific parameters.
                              Last edited by tobeanornottobean; 17 January 2016, 06:24 PM.

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