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Thread: Pulling single shot baskets - Is it possible? How do you do it? HELP!

  1. #1
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    Angry Pulling single shot baskets - Is it possible? How do you do it? HELP!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Ok guys,

    Super frustrated at the moment. I've been trying to pull single shots in my Profitec Pro 500 using the single basket and am pulling my hair out. The ONLY way I can get a half decent shot is to load up the basket with 14g which for a basket rated at 7g on the website is rediculous! I've run through probably about 800g of beans now trying to successfully and consistently pull a single shot using 8-10 grams of coffee with no success.

    I've tried varying the grind all over the place but unless I load the basket up a long way past what it's supposed to take the shots are horrible. The puck is a watery mess of ground bean, the flow either too fast, too slow, or lacking body and crema etc etc.

    How does one pull a GOOD successful single basket shot??

    My grinder is a Eureka Atom.

    Thanks guys,
    Homer
    Last edited by Homerlovesbeers; 11th April 2018 at 10:57 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    A single basket has about half the quantity of coffee as a double basket hence the water has less coffee it needs to be squeezed through. Further, the v shape of the single basket means more water is moved through the edges of the puck rather than the centre, unlike the doublebasket where the square sides allow the water to pass through evenly.
    I gave up on using a single basket pretty quickly. Some can manage it and hopefully they will provide their tips but my recommendation is to stick with the double basket even for making a single coffee and I'm sure many will agree. Just stop the pour when you get 25-30 mls (approx) which should take theoretically 12-15 seconds.
    Last edited by flynnaus; 11th April 2018 at 06:10 PM.
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    Well at $45kg for beans that sure makes a singe shot bloody expensive at nearly $1 a pull Surely that can't be the only solution?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    Make a double and put the cup only under one spout.
    Maybe a convex tamper to encourage a little more centre flow?

    Does the 14g dose touch the shower screen?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homerlovesbeers View Post
    Well at $45kg for beans that sure makes a singe shot bloody expensive at nearly $1 a pull Surely that can't be the only solution?
    Much cheaper, and better result if you roast your own Homer.

    Most people I know give up on the single basket pretty early on, they are a great source of frustration.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homerlovesbeers View Post
    Well at $45kg for beans that sure makes a singe shot bloody expensive at nearly $1 a pull Surely that can't be the only solution?
    Good coffee is about quality rather than quantity. Anyway, how much would you pay for a cup of coffee at a cafe? $4? Sounds like youve already spent a fair bit trying to get it right on the single basket. Trust me, throw the single basket in a drawer and use the double.
    You could also try what many of us here do and roast your own.
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  7. #7
    Rbn
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    I use a single shot VST, and a Single shot Decent espresso on an EM 7000 and EM 6910.

    Certainly it is hard to get the same dark crema compared with a 15gm VST or Decent espresso basket.
    But then if I want a softer coffee that is fine.
    But I am no "expert".

    Here's hoping a single shot convert like Tampit comes along to add his 2cents worth.
    Or more likely probably $2.00. and it will be well worth reading.

    I too do not like making a single out of a double!
    Just wastage, and my mother's maden name was McLachlan!
    Last edited by rawill; 12th April 2018 at 07:09 PM.
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    Thanks for the input guys, much appreciated!

    So does anyone else wonder why a single shot basket is included with machines if they are utterly useless and nobody can get a decent shot out oft them? Doesn't this strike you all as pretty bizzare? I mean, what's the point?

    I do really abhor the idea of making a double shot only to pour one of them down the drain :-(

  9. #9
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    How are your shots using the Double Basket Homer?

    Mal.

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    I've not tried yet Mal. I honestly didn't see the point of putting energy into optimising the double shot basket when I'm more than likely only going to use the single shot.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Your a difficult person to offer advice to Homer, I'm reminded of the phrase "There are none so blind as those who will not see" you have asked for advice as to how to get the best from a grinder and machine you must have invested almost $4000 on but seem fixated on using the single basket regardless of what numerous very experienced people have told you.

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    Homer,

    If you're really bent on pulling singles, I highly recommend using a La Marzocco single basket (LM1) or VST 7g. Only fill up the mini chamber (between 7-9g), and you will need a 41mm tamper. If you pull singles often, you will likely want to get a specially made funnel to aid filling the mini chamber.

    The LM1 basket design is the only proper way to pull a single that is truly half-a-double with no compromise in quality. The tapered single baskets require overdosing as you had found and extract less efficiently (uses more coffee to extract a much weaker coffee = $$$).

    I've been using Tidaka LM1 (La Marzocco single) funnel+tamper combo myself for the past 6 months. Never miss the double so far and my expensive tampers and double baskets are mostly sitting unused. If I want a double shot, I can use the same grind size to pull a double on the VST 18g basket. The set is not cheap by any means (have to order from Germany), but that's a proper single and you save cost from using less coffee (ROI in about 200 shots by your calculation).

    Here's the Tidaka LM1 demo (or search youtube for more videos from users):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DRouhbMQqE

    Here's the result you can expect (a video I posted a while ago, admittedly not very high in production quality, but you get the idea):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfPYuDCEMFQ
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    How is he a difficult person to give advice to? He's taking everyone's thoughts on board, he's just also asking questions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by samuellaw178 View Post
    Homer,

    If you're really bent on pulling singles, I highly recommend using a La Marzocco single basket (LM1) or VST 7g. Only fill up the mini chamber (between 7-9g), and you will need a 41mm tamper. If you pull singles often, you will likely want to get a specially made funnel to aid filling the mini chamber.

    The LM1 basket design is the only proper way to pull a single that is truly half-a-double with no compromise in quality. The tapered single baskets require overdosing as you had found and extract less efficiently (uses more coffee to extract a much weaker coffee = $$$).

    I've been using Tidaka LM1 (La Marzocco single) funnel+tamper combo myself for the past 6 months. Never miss the double so far and my expensive tampers and double baskets are mostly sitting unused. If I want a double shot, I can use the same grind size to pull a double on the VST 18g basket. The set is not cheap by any means (have to order from Germany), but that's a proper single and you save cost from using less coffee (ROI in about 200 shots by your calculation).

    Here's the Tidaka LM1 demo (or search youtube for more videos from users):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DRouhbMQqE

    Here's the result you can expect (a video I posted a while ago, admittedly not very high in production quality, but you get the idea):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfPYuDCEMFQ
    Thank you very much for such a detailed response. I truly appreciate it and that is the sort of info I was after. I will buy one tomorrow and give it a try.

    I will buy this one if it's correct and will fit my Profitec Pro 500 portafilter.

    URL removed......

    My research tonight also led me to this path just before I read your post however it's refreshing to read that you agree and have great success with it.

    Cheers VERY much!

    Homer
    Last edited by Homerlovesbeers; 11th April 2018 at 11:28 PM.

  15. #15
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    That will fit your machine alright (btw, non-sponsor links are not allowed here). But tamping will be difficult with the current 58mm tamper you have and it's crucial to be able to tamp the coffee inside the mini chamber. I was tamping with a make-do tamper (using the base of spice bottle etc) until I got the Tidaka set. Go search around the kitchen and you might find something that works.
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    Haha thanks again. I had read that spice bottles may do the job in a pinch!

    URL has been removed.

    I'll see how I go tomorrow.

    Cheers,
    Homer

  17. #17
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    The reason I asked about your results with the Double Basket, is because once you have the grind and dose sorted out with that one, it is much easier to transfer that over to the Single Basket.

    You then leave the grinder setting where it was working with the Double Basket, reduce the dose to suit the Single, distribute, tamp and lock-in and Bob will be your uncle. It's not that hard and no need to fool around with your grind setting once you have it working for the Double. Keeps it simple when you may want to move from one basket to the other...

    Have been doing it this way for years with various machines and it ALWAYS works.

    Mal.

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    Thanks Mal,

    I'll whip out the double basket and see what delicious goodness I can achieve this afternoon

    Cheers
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homerlovesbeers View Post
    Thanks Mal,

    I'll whip out the double basket and see what delicious goodness I can achieve this afternoon

    Cheers
    Now that I finally have time to scratch myself (Aaaaaahh, that's so much better...) I would suggest you do not try the double first. In old Uni jargon "WOFT" - waste of ******* time.

    VSTs are a completely different type of basket with a massively higher flow rate than any "standard basket" (in quotes, because there really isn't a standard). They have a lot more, carefully sized holes designed to match the basket and the flow rate (i.e. the 7g holes are smaller than the 15, which are smaller than the 18g etc. etc.). Another way of looking at it - VSTs have significantly more holes / less metal / far greater "active area" than most others. Good news - once set up, swapping across the VST range rarely requires even the most minor grinder adjustment. Bad news: anything you do with a basket "outside the VST range" is most unlikely to transfer over well.

    Ideally use a naked portafilter - two reasons a) you can see the shot progression b) you will get more and better tasting crema (even if only because it will hone your technique). Ditto with dual wall borosilicate glasses (they hold temperature better than ceramic and impart no flavour) - you can see exactly what the shot is doing. Using any clear glass could be useful for the learning stage.

    Tamper: As stated above, the single VST has a "shelf" and fairly steep sides which effectively makes the top diameter 41mm (bottom diameter is about 39mm). For a couple of years I used a 1/3 full (to get a good balance / weight) "Smartwater Guava and Lime" bottle (about 500ml if I recall correctly) as a tamper. It worked well enough, although it was slow. A lot of fruit bottle lids possibly fit it properly, although I ended up with a prototype 316 Stainless tamper (fits a Pullman handle) - complete with tapered sides to give an exact fit (see photo). Any reasonable metal lathe should be able to make one out of a lesser grade steel - I only used 316 because a) it was there and b) it does not get static issues, unlike most materials.
    TamperPreSingle.jpg
    The grind: about the same as any other VST - about 30% finer than a "standard" basket.

    The dose: If you can get accurate scales, aim for 7.2 grams. Because a single is so much less coffee than a double, the dosage is far more critical. That, poor technique and poor grinders are probably 90% of issues people initially have with singles.

    Tamping: I very lightly tamp (barely more than the weight of the tamper) every 2mm of so of "coffee fluff" - about three times in all. If you ensure the first tamp is level, and then do a final it will be near enough. Like all things coffee, experiment and form your own path based on taste. Personally I polish the puck on the final tamp, however I doubt it makes much difference (old habit formed using fairly primitive gear - it makes a huge difference on some '70's machines).

    Timing the shot: aim for around 30ml in somewhere between 22 and 45 seconds (not counting preinfusion). For most roasts 25 to 30 seconds is close enough to tinker. Needless to say, use consistent dose by weight and adjust the grind to get the timing close, then use your taste buds to optimise it. The only gotcha is if your grinder is not up to it - everything will be bitter. The only Eureka I used was years ago, it would have been good enough. Your grinder - no idea. Try a Mahlkonig Vario (if you can get your hands on one) if you are in doubt about your grinder's abilities (or a Major or any other decent commercial grinder in known good trim). FWIW, about 70% of Breville Smartgrinders and Sunbeam EM480's are good enough - the others have worn burrs or some other obvious (to guys like me, anyway) issue.

    Hope this helps, enjoy your cuppa


    TampIt
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    Cracking post!

    Thanks mate, very much appreciate it!

    I did buy 2 baskets today as I was already there and thought "what the heck!" so got the 7g single and 14g double La Marzocco Filter Baskets.

    Are these VST baskets that you talk about? I have tried the single basket so far at 8g and dose straight into the basket and try to heap only the middle section so it forms a nice conical pile. I then use a 58mm plastic tamper (it's all I have at the moment) to press the coffee into the small 7g section, then use a spice jar inverted (lid end) to tamp the beans down then gently clean the minute amount of beans from the flat 58mm area so only the 41mm section has coffee in it.

    The results have been MILES better than the standard single shot basket that came with the machine. I think I need to mayby either go slightly courser or less dose to tweak but I'm getting nice tasting shots now.

    I'll post pics and vid when I can.

    Thanks again,
    Homer
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  21. #21
    Rbn
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    I knew it!

    And I really like the look of the 7gm tamper Tampit put up.
    I reckon you could sell those! Much better than my spice bottle top!~
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rawill View Post
    I knew it!

    And I really like the look of the 7gm tamper Tampit put up.
    I reckon you could sell those! Much better than my spice bottle top!~
    So do I! Made in about ten minutes using some scrap 316 by my mate at his medical stainless steel workshop (using his "little" 6 tonne lathe - "the smallest needed for 316" in his words) just before he moved*. Luckily I had one of my Pullman 316 Barista tampers with me (the standard 58mm(ish) ones), so he matched the thread of the Pullman handle. It works "just a bit" better than the Smartwater bottle as well...

    Note that that original photo was done by Curtin Uni's video guys. They had to wipe the tamper with greasy fingerprints to show it more clearly. The original photo attempt was like a clear mirror (such is 316 when machined properly) and showed all the details of their studio in skewed perspective - even when mostly in a black box. This photo shows the complete tamper on top of one of my 6910's about 6 months later with two of its half siblings (Oz Sheoak, West Oz Jarrah and Wenge handles - I HATE plastic handles).

    IMG_1663 2.5 Pullmans.jpg


    *For local government fanboys: A "nameless Perth council" encouraged him to move to their district. It has been well over three years and they have proceeded to knock back every design for his new workshop. He now spends most of his time freelancing in Qld and commuting home to his family every week or 4. All his gear is still in storage, or I would be getting him to make a few more 7g tampers.

    TampIt

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homerlovesbeers View Post
    Cracking post!

    Thanks mate, very much appreciate it!

    I did buy 2 baskets today as I was already there and thought "what the heck!" so got the 7g single and 14g double La Marzocco Filter Baskets.

    Are these VST baskets that you talk about? I have tried the single basket so far at 8g and dose straight into the basket and try to heap only the middle section so it forms a nice conical pile. I then use a 58mm plastic tamper (it's all I have at the moment) to press the coffee into the small 7g section, then use a spice jar inverted (lid end) to tamp the beans down then gently clean the minute amount of beans from the flat 58mm area so only the 41mm section has coffee in it.

    The results have been MILES better than the standard single shot basket that came with the machine. I think I need to mayby either go slightly courser or less dose to tweak but I'm getting nice tasting shots now.

    I'll post pics and vid when I can.

    Thanks again,
    Homer
    You are welcome. I regard it as paying it forward - I received a lot of help over the years.

    "Are these VST baskets that you talk about?": Yep LM actually sponsored VST originally and helped them get into production, so any fairly new LM basket will be a VST.

    The single is identical and is compatible with all VST ridgeless baskets.

    The double LM is a "VST ridged" so it has a slightly different flow (while learning it is probably close enough to be considered a match). FWIW, all the serious guys I know (myself included) prefer the ridgeless as it flows better / has a measurable improvement in extraction rate (i.e. more flavour for the same weight of coffee). The ridges are only there to prevent the basket flying into the knockbox - not needed if the retaining spring has any life in it.

    As an amusing aside, half the CS posters that slag off VSTs and recommend IMS (& oem's) or EQ / HQ "precision" (which isn't close to the same precision - even a jeweller's loupe shows that all too clearly) etc. either use or desire LM espresso makers. Hypocrisy?

    Enjoy your cuppas, seems to me you have enough of a start to nail it now.

    TampIt

  24. #24
    Coffee Nut fg1972's Avatar
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    I pull singles and doubles all the time, generally have a double in the morning then singles during the day. My machine is a Giotto Evo but I used to do it on a VBM and also on a friends commercial machine so for me the type of machine or basket doesn't really matter. In saying that, I generally don't need to change the grind between singles/doubles.
    The first thing I can offer is to forget weighing the grounds. i just put in what looks like a mountain of grinds just to the point where the grinds are just about to fall out the sides then tamp with my normal force, pull a shot and observe. If it rushes out, i'd put in a bit more coffee (may need to light tamp to make room) and repeat, if it struggles to extract, put in less coffee. With experience you'll be able to gauge it pretty accurately without overthinking it. This works for me, allowing me to consistently pull single and double shots with extraction times between 20-40 seconds.
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  25. #25
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rawill View Post
    What?

    FWIW,
    Tampit and Journeyman got me started on my coffee journey.

    As I see life, you don't have to agree with everyone all of the time, but there is always much to learn.
    What's the point of making "personal attacks".
    Fair enough...

    But I feel it is my responsibility to point out when someone is spouting so much MISinformation on this site and has done so for years; almost to the stage where he seems to have made a career out of it. Bordering on Troll activity in my opinion.

    I know there are several Site Sponsors who feel the same way but they are probably a lot more forgiving than I am when it comes to dealing with someone like this in a public forum.

    Mal.
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  26. #26
    Senior Member Erimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homerlovesbeers View Post
    Well at $45kg for beans that sure makes a singe shot bloody expensive at nearly $1 a pull Surely that can't be the only solution?
    It's not a dollar a pull, 14 grams makes it around 63 cents a shot

  27. #27
    Senior Member saoye's Avatar
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    Unfortunately the pursuit of coffee appreciation and excellence is not a cheap journey.
    7g coffee was given up quite early on as it will never be what a double or triple basket can produce. Perhaps if you pull much shorter shots but then you would be well short of the 30ml which certainly will end up with you pulling another...so why not just go the double?
    If you are satisfied with what the nespressos and those pod coffees produce you might be ok with a 7g basket...but then again those machines are made specifically to cater for 4g to 6g grounds. I am sure there are ways to reduce group pressure and slow down shots to suit 7g specifically but the question then would be whywould you? If you're not going to play with the machine then another excellent option to reduce cost is to roast your own coffee. Your costs should be closer to 30c a cup with a double basket if roasting your own. Brings you to another whole level of learning curve and a better understanding of what's in your hopper.
    Life's too short to bother with the 7g basket. I use mine to cap my jam funnel hopper on my mazzer mini e.
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    Is it bad to underdose a double shot basket? Use 12g instead of 20g? If it pours easier for you, can you put less grounds in and get a better pour?

  29. #29
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sten186 View Post
    Is it bad to underdose a double shot basket? Use 12g instead of 20g? If it pours easier for you, can you put less grounds in and get a better pour?
    If you enjoy the result Sten, go for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    If you enjoy the result Sten, go for it.
    I haven’t done it. But what would be the result?

  31. #31
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sten186 View Post
    I havenít done it. But what would be the result?
    Do it and find out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sten186 View Post
    Is it bad to underdose a double shot basket? Use 12g instead of 20g?
    I've tried it, I had to grind a *lot* finer than usual. I didn't get a great result, preferred what I get out of a single. But give it a go, your results might be different from mine.
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  33. #33
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agrajag View Post
    I've tried it, I had to grind a *lot* finer than usual. I didn't get a great result, preferred what I get out of a single. But give it a go, your results might be different from mine.
    Well done for having a go, experiment and make notes, in the end you will have a much better understanding of the process, and of course have the satisfaction of knowing you are capable of making good/great coffee.

  34. #34
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    I use an espresso parts precision double filter basket most of the time and have my grinder set to 4.6 seconds to grind a double, give a quick tap and eyeball the last bit of the dose. My wife occasionally wants a single, in the past I would just split a double, but since I always use the naked portafilter now I won't want the hassle of warming up the double spout portafilter for one coffee. So I have the grinder set to 2.6s for a single, again giving a quick tap and top up if required and use the bfc factory single basket. The 58mm tamper is too large but I find if I distribute it well and use the tamper to finish off the distribution/levelling I can get a good shot out of it. I've never really understood the frustration the single basket causes people
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  35. #35
    Rbn
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnafunk View Post
    I've never really understood the frustration the single basket causes people
    I am with you. I think they just can't be bothered learning the craft.

  36. #36
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    Rereading the op, I don't weigh my dose or shots but would say that it's not 7g, probably more like 10g and the yield is probably around 25g. This is inline with getting approximately 40g from around 18g when I make a double. The shot also doesn't *look* quite as rich. I'm on holidays at the moment so I may find some time to mess around with the scales out and do some tasting
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  37. #37
    Rbn
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    magnafunk you may be surprised. I never used to weigh my dose or shots. I seldom weigh my shots, but stop the shot as it blonds, or should I say, just as it starts to go to water, hopefully just before that!

    But, I started weighing my dose, I found I was way overdosing, I was surprised.
    Now, I put not more than 7.5 in my 7gm VST.
    Maybe up to 16 in my 15gm VST.

    Same with my Decent Espresso 15gm
    With my 7gm Decent Espresso sometimes 7, but maybe up to 10. It is quite different from a 7gm VST.

    Anyway, after all that trivia, I think I get more consistency from weighing the dose, and the 15gm VST and 15gm Decent Espresso gives great crema, and a nice shot.

    As usual it is more challenging to get it right with the 7gm baskets, but since I only want a single shot after my first morning coffee I continue with them, and am happy to have a "weaker coffee".
    All with microfoam.

    And most times I use a naked P/F.
    Perhaps the best thing I did in order to improve my technique and taste.

    Enjoy

  38. #38
    Rbn
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Southland NZ
    Posts
    452
    Quote Originally Posted by Homerlovesbeers View Post

    The results have been MILES better than the standard single shot basket that came with the machine. I think I need to mayby either go slightly courser or less dose to tweak but I'm getting nice tasting shots now.

    Thanks again,
    Homer
    And that is what it is all about.
    Refine your style to suit you and your taste, frankly nothing else matters.

    Good work.

  39. #39
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Adelaide, S.A.
    Posts
    214
    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Homerlovesbeers View Post
    Cracking post!

    The results have been MILES better than the standard single shot basket that came with the machine. I think I need to mayby either go slightly courser or less dose to tweak but I'm getting nice tasting shots now.

    I'll post pics and vid when I can.

    Thanks again,
    Homer
    Well done mate ...You had a go...And now you are seeing the reward for stepping out...Looking forward to viewing your pics and video soon...

    Cheers.



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