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Baskets - VST, Pullman, or Pesado

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  • #16
    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.
    Click image for larger version

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    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.
    Click image for larger version

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    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; 13th May 2019, 12:58 AM.

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    • #17
      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

      Comment


      • #18
        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

        Comment


        • #19
          Great thread, thanks for restarting it Michelle

          re VST baskets vs Pullman. Do you dose the VST with the same amount as you would a Pullman? eg I dose my Pullman to 22g, given the comments above re flow rate and grind, would I use a 22g VST or a 20g VST basket to achieve a similar "strength"?

          Thanks

          Gordon

          Comment


          • #20
            VST vs. Pullman basket / dose setting

            Hi Gordon,

            Yes, indeed for my final testing I used an equal dose. Well, it was +/- to reach the 24s flow and 50g coffee in my cup. The starting point was a 18g dose and a VST 18 g vs. a Pullman 876 17-19g basket. But I need to say that I have had not the goal to reach an equal 'strength'. My goal was just to find out with which basked I get finally based on my personal taste the a best overall espresso. Hence TDS comparison might be interesting, IN CASE a comparison is difficult.

            Means, my question was very simple: with which basked and setting (water, grinder and machine) I get finally for my taste the best doppio. Important note here: it must be reproducible.

            And I have to say 'my' basket is still the VST 18g, today with a 19g dose. With the 19g dose I get a wonderful crema and a double espresso with nice smell and taste. The results are reproducible and channelling is gone. I am able now to change the beans based on the daily wishes... done. This is the reason why I use my La Potenza K30 with a small day hopper.

            Thanks,
            Michelle




            Originally posted by flashpixx View Post
            Great thread, thanks for restarting it Michelle

            re VST baskets vs Pullman. Do you dose the VST with the same amount as you would a Pullman? eg I dose my Pullman to 22g, given the comments above re flow rate and grind, would I use a 22g VST or a 20g VST basket to achieve a similar "strength"?

            Thanks

            Gordon

            Comment


            • #21
              Hey TampIt,

              Have you compared the Decent and VST baskets in your DE1?

              Comment


              • #22
                Hi Michelle

                Thank you, nicely explained

                I'm deciding whether to get a 20g or 22g VST basket. The taste from the 19-22g Pullman dosed to 22g is quite good.

                I can see however I am getting occasional channeling at the back of the puck (closest to the pf handle). This may well be my inconsistent tamping??

                cheers

                Gordon

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by woodhouse View Post
                  Hey TampIt,

                  Have you compared the Decent and VST baskets in your DE1?
                  G'day woodhouse

                  Yep, the Decent and the Pullman has almost identical flow to "really good" good standard baskets. Ditto the flavour profile - it is at the top of what a good basket can achieve UNTIL you try a VST and the much greater flow (about 50% - not subtle) captures a lot more flavour.

                  I measured the VST and Pullman (plus Synesso, EP / EQ / HQ + a few standard baskets from my earlier machines - like my La Pavoni, La Cimbali etc etc) with a medical refractometer "way back". In cold hard extraction ratio data the "usual suspect" standard baskets peaked around 12(!) to 15% before the flavour went bitter, the Pullman (and I suspect the Decent nowadays) got to the 15 to 16% range whilst the VST was 22 to 23%. The variation is due to some roasts having different maximums with the Major I used as a reference grinder. Every roast variant peaked within a 0.5% range over several different shots.

                  When I ordered my DE1 I actually got a spare naked p/f and the 7, 10 and 15g Decent baskets.

                  Damn shame because some roasts are a little too weak on a 7g VST and way too strong on the 15g VST. I was hoping the 10g Decent would be a good fit... As it happened, the flavour from the 7 is actually stronger and clearer than the Decent 10g. Sigh...

                  Enjoy your cuppa, that is what really counts.

                  TampIt

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