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Thread: Ristretto via smaller basket?

  1. #1
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    Ristretto via smaller basket?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all,

    At work we have a 3-group La Scala Carmen and a 2-group La Cimbali, the latter of which doesnt get used much at all. Over the long weekend (which I had off!), whoever cleaned the group handles and baskets put the two La Cimbali basket in the La Scala group handles... an easy mistake.

    I discovered this on Tuesday when my approximately 2/3 shots were close to choking. (We use a doserless, electronic grinder - ie. programmed to spit out the same amount of coffee each time.)

    Anyway, I put the correct baskets back in the La Scala group handles and got on with my business. However, it got me thinking about another way to "do" ristretto. Instead of having to fiddle the grind (not feasible for most cafes) or up-dose (hard with our grinder set up and less consistent), couldnt you just use a group handle with a *slightly* smaller basket, which would tighten up the shot adequately? What do people think about this? Seems like a really easy way to switch from espresso to ristretto without fiddling the grind/dose.

    Thoughts?
    Cheers
    Stuart.

  2. #2
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    Re: Ristretto via smaller basket?

    I would think that as you are effectively reducing the dose you would need to adjust your grind and tamp slightly to account for that, otherwise you will end up with an underextracted shot. Thats just off the top of my head and not having ever tried it. What did the shots taste like?

  3. #3
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    Re: Ristretto via smaller basket?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7B757877607677190 link=1236823274/1#1 date=1236825813
    Thats just off the top of my head and not having ever tried it. What did the shots taste like?
    Didnt taste any such shots, as the suggestion I was making was hypothetical. When we used the LC baskets on the LS, the difference in basket size was too great and the shots choked. They would have tasted bad! BUT, I guess it prompted me to think that if you used a basket which was only slightly smaller, youd get a tighter shot with exactly the same grind and dose.


    Quote Originally Posted by 7B757877607677190 link=1236823274/1#1 date=1236825813
    I would think that as you are effectively reducing the dose you would need to adjust your grind and tamp slightly to account for that, otherwise you will end up with an underextracted shot. *
    I might be misinterpreting you here (or you may have misunderstood me), but what I meant was that youd use exactly the same dose in each basket, but that it would be a tighter fit in the smaller one, which would give you a ristretto pour without having to fiddle the grind.

    On the other hand, maybe your were saying that pulling a tighter shot through the same dose of coffee amounts to underextraction... to which I would reply with "isnt that exactly what a ristretto is?". Again, I might have misinterpreted you there; apologies if so.


    Ill just add that Im not sure if the espresso purists amongst us will like the idea of doing this, though I cant think why at the moment. Essentially, I suppose, youd get the same effect if you up-dosed a little bit... but this way means you dont have to change ANY grinder settings. In the cafe I work in, we use a grinder with an electronic doser and it would save a whole lot of re-calibration to be able to do it this way. And if your cafe uses a dosed grinder, itd be nice to be able to cut out the inconsistency that creeps in when baristas have to change their dosing routine - not to mention if less-experienced baristas are working (lets be honest, not every cafe is lucky enough to have experienced and dedicated staff on ALL the time).

    Ive been to cafes where you ask for a double ristretto and they give you the first half of two espressos... but Ive also been to cafes where they (wisely) say "sorry, our grinder isnt set up to pull ristrettos". Both are a little frustrating... maybe this could help those situations?

    Cheers
    Stuart

    ps. deepest apologies to anyone offended by my improper spelling/use of the pularlised versions of the words "espresso", "ristretto" and "barista". :P

  4. #4
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    Re: Ristretto via smaller basket?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Stuart,

    I did miss your point a little thanks for clarifying, your definition of a ristretto is different to mine I think that is where the confusion has come from. I come from the first 20 ml of a shot is a ristretto club, which works for me (I assume you are trying for 20 ml in 25-30 sec) I have found that getting a tighter pour doesnt work for me.

    But back to your original point essentially you are trying to get a ristretto by not allowing the grounds to expand as much when extracted (smaller basket) I would still expect that this would change the extraction (for better or worse) if you have a sweet spot with the larger basket then I wouldnt think that you would get as good a shot with a smaller basket. Having said all that I am doing what I hate to read, shooting from the hip with no experimentation ::). I have a couple of spare baskets in the cupboard will have to do some measuring this weekend and experiment.



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