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Are brand name baskets worth it?

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  • Are brand name baskets worth it?

    Aside from getting a precise fit by matching the basket and tamper, does anyone know what the advantage would be of a VST basket over say a default breville 58mm basket?

  • #2
    Well I just got a VST basket. Its not about the tamping, the difference is with the sizes and distribution of holes in the basket, which are more precise than in a standard OEM basket. The difference is surprising and dramatic. You have to start by grinding significantly finer which can create control issues of its own. Still learning to use mine after one week.

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    • #3
      thanks for the reply Aintmissb
      what made you take the plunge with VST?

      is there a heirarchy with VST vs Pullman vs Pesado etc?

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      • #4
        I have a few VST baskets (7g, 15g, 18g, 20g, 22g). I don't have baskets from other manufacturers. I can only speak to some of my experience with the VST baskets.

        The VST baskets are precision baskets. They are manufactured so that the holes in a basket are consistent. The holes between baskets are relative in size such that when you change basket to change the dose, there is no need to change the grind size. There are claims that precision basket will give you better extraction in terms of TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) as measured by a refractometer.

        I don't have a refractometer. I am unable to verify if the VST basket do indeed give better extractions. However, I can verify that I am able to use the 18g, 20g and 22g baskets to change dose without the need to change the grind size within some margins of error. For example, if I extract a 36g espresso with the 18g basket in 30 seconds, I am likely to be able to extract a 40g espresso with the 20g basket in the same time give or take a few seconds.

        The 15g basket does not appear to behave the same way. They need a finer grind than the others. I don't use the 7g basket enough to verify if it works the same way. The 7g basket is a weird one. It requires an odd size tamper (40.7-40.9mm). I make do with a 40mm tamper.

        The VST baskets are also less forgiving. The user needs to have good coffee bed preparation techniques, otherwise, channelling will likely result and gives you a sub-standard espresso. If you do get VST baskets, you will need a naked portafilter to practice with. The VST 22g and 25g will not fit into spouted portafilters that come with some brands of espresso machines. You can use naked portafilters or purchase extra deep portafilters.

        What I find most interesting about the VST baskets is that when you purchase one, you get a QC report like this one from my 18g basket. I hope I have answered some of your questions.
        Click image for larger version

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        • #5
          I'm using a cut aeropress filter inside my vst, and another above (that I reuse). I think it makes the vst more forgiving.

          But yes to the op. Definately noticeable

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