Posted Mon Aug 22, 2011, 6:17am Subject: Re: Can These Filters Change the World of Espresso? by Mark Prince
Has anyone found that the VST baskets have more of a habit of sticking the puck to the screen than other baskets? This question likely applies only to machines that have a tendency to do this anyway. My machine has always done this on occasion, maybe 1 out of every 4 shots though. But with the VST baskets, I'm getting nearly every shot, or at least 4/5 that stick and need to be shot off with a pulse of water from the group.
I know, largely, it tends to involve under-dosing the basket when pucks stick, but I'm creeping the dosage up more and more on these and it's still frequently happening. I'm still under-dosing (I always under-dose out of the K3, simply tidiness because I tend to spill coffee everywhere if I fill to the rim., I do normal dosing on the K10, and only used these baskets with it once so far in the "slow season.") But a near 100% sticking even as I creep the fill up is kind of odd, I think.
It could be the shower screen, I do have spares to stick on, but I can find no imperfection with the one on there.
CJC Senior Member Joined: 1 Sep 2007 Posts: 8 Location: Edinburgh, UK Expertise: Pro Barista
Posted Fri Aug 26, 2011, 3:47pm Subject: Re: Can These Filters Change the World of Espresso? by Mark Prince
I generally hate new things for a bit before acknowledging their benifits. First use of these baskets was 11 hours on a Synesso, hammering Square Mile Summer Espresso through 18g VST's on a busy friday in the middle of Edinburgh Festival. No question: better tasting shots. These things are great.
I just got a 58mm LaMarzocco single shot filter basket (for 7-8g, serial number L115/A) that fits into my portafilter. It looks slightly different than the one that came with the machine having a deeper, cylindrical form. I can't really tell if the holes are any more uniform. However, at first trials the crema seems to be better.
*** "This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee)
adan0327 Senior Member Joined: 6 Sep 2011 Posts: 45 Location: Toronto Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: la cimbali m32 dosatron 3... Grinder: Astoria Super Jolly Vac Pot: hario tc2 Drip: chemex, v60,kalitta... Roaster: Lol.... Pan :D
Posted Tue Sep 6, 2011, 2:42pm Subject: Re: Can These Filters Change the World of Espresso? by Mark Prince
FOR ALL YOU CANADIANS LIKE ME: Ahaa I just live 5 minutes away from Social coffee roasters and they just started selling these baskets for 29 dollars + shipping. The cheapest shipping is canada post expedited which is like 9 bucks. Happy shopping :).
Posted Fri Sep 23, 2011, 1:11pm Subject: Re: Can These Filters Change the World of Espresso? by Mark Prince
Fine Tuning my system with the VST filters and new Grinders.
Consistency of draw times between double espresso shots using the following set up for the LaMarzocco GS3 Paddle machine has improved my espressos and cappuccinos. Above all the taste of the espresso has improved beyond any espressos in the past.
The following is my present setup for a consistently good double espresso for a cappuccino. This consistency is now verified using draw time with the weight system and volume system. I set up using the weight system and record the volume and when making cappuccinos daily speed up the process using volume associated with the previously cups that have been weighed and timed. About once a week I weigh and record the draw time for a double espresso and added milk for a cappuccino.
Late model GS3 Paddle machine.
Bar pressure set using the following system: A. Buy a second back-flush blind basket. B. Purchase from McMaster-Carr two drill bits size - Wire gauge 79, 3/4” Oal, 0.1” drill depth, 118 Degree Point. One will work if you don’t break it. About $5.00 for two. C. Drill one hole in the middle of the blind basket. D. With new hole drilled blind basket and a clean group head (so it won’t stop up with grounds), set 9 bars on the machine bar pressure gauge. This will give you a perfect 9 bars to work from. This system came from LM USA and it works for a start but is an absolute in my setup. E. I use Chris Coffee Black Pearl Espresso roast coffee. Tried six or seven other coffees and alway come back to Black Pearl. Also when I set the machine and grinder for a coffee I don’t want to start over and waste a bunch of coffee in setting up and re-setting up.
I replaced my 2 stock portafilter baskets, with a 15 Gram and 18 Gram VST Precision filter baskets which have more uniform hole size distributions and total open area tuned for the dose. (see “Advances in the State of the “Art - and Science - of Espresso” in the April/May 2011 issue of Barista Magazine). VST (store.vstapps.com) is the developer of the new filter baskets and also developed the Strata Baskets for La Marzocco. This is a significant improvement and has rendered the following; A. More uniform shot to shot consistency. B. More clarity, less sediment. C. Easier to obtain consistently sweet shots - even if the shot is pulled longer or shorter than “normal.”
I then replaced my three shot naked portafilter with a VST 22 gram basket which is used for dialing in when changing coffee or updating.
A quality grinder is crucial to any espresso. Too many pro-sumer grade grinders do not produce a commercial grade of grind, and even some commercial grinders do not consistently do a good job (see James Hoffmann’s blog on the Robur for example). In the kitchen we have a Mahlkonig K30 Vario and a new Compak K10 Fresh. In use I find the K10 Fresh gives less clumping and a more uniform grind with less dust fines. It also maintains its adjustment from cold to warm. Using Black Pearl, the K10 Fresh grinds a 16.5 gram basket of coffee in 3.5 seconds and the weight of the ground coffee from the chute is very close grind to grind with practically no coffee left inside the chute. My thoughts are the conical grinding disk and slower speed causes less heat and dust. In our home we serve friends and neighbors 5 to 6 coffee drinks a day beyond what we make for ourselves but under commercial use the difference between the two machines may be different.
We make our milk type drinks by heating and foaming the whole milk first to 150 degree F. and let it settle out while drawing all the cups of double shots that is needed for the company. I then measure out, in volume, the milk to each cup of espresso and sugar or Splenda if requested. I do not make cappuccinos by drawing art in the coffee with the milk and foam. There are two reasons for this. I want a weighted amount of milk in a cappuccino and knowing how much volume of milk will be close to the desired weight, just use volume as a shortcut. Second, drawing pictures with a combination of milk and foam the drink will NOT be the same cup to cup, for you have no idea how much foam to milk is being poured and it rarely leaves enough foam for a good tasting cappuccino. When I was in Italy the foam was paramount and until all the competition was developed by the commercial companies, most espressos were Monks Head with lots of foam and a little brown ring around the edge. The drinker had the option of stirring in the foam if he wanted more caramelized sugar taste from the milk and foam. When you are served a work of art you have no option for adjusting the milk to foam ratio by stirring in or leaving extra foam in the bottom of the cup when finished. I sometimes use a spoon to finish the leftover coffee flavored foam in the bottom of the cup.
Now! Draw time. With this setup, the draw time consistency between double shot espressos has dropped from up to 10 seconds, which in most cases were throw aways, to the present times for a double shot which has been surprising. It has dropped to a zero difference in a few shots up to 3 seconds. Most of the time it is only 1 to 3 seconds difference from one double espresso to the next. This is the best I have every experienced and I am on my fifth commercial machine and sixth commercial grinder.
The two items, in my opinion, that have contributed most to improve the consistency of draw times between double shots are the VST baskets and the K10 Fresh grinder. This system works for me, it may not for someone else.
aslan Senior Member Joined: 9 Sep 2011 Posts: 2 Location: Australia Expertise: Just starting
Posted Thu Oct 6, 2011, 5:02pm Subject: Re: Can These Filters Change the World of Espresso? by Mark Prince
Thanks Rapid Coffee for your comment... I have playing around the 3 different sizes of VST and always have trouble in pulling a nice shot with the 15g Basket, does that mean that in a commercial environment, it will be hard to have 15g alongside with 18g and 22g.
What I have done is that I used the bottomles portafilter to analyse the 3 different sizes, and using the same grind settings I manage to produce a nice shots with 18g and 22g but when I am using the 15g, straight away you can see water spitting out from some section. Of course as Rapid Coffee mentioned that with 15g basket, we may need to grind finer, but I don't think it's doable to keep changing the grinder settings just for 15g in a cafe?
I'm not sure that this concern applies much in the cafe environment, where shops typically standardize on one blend using one dose made in one basket.
With the VSTs providing different filter hole sizes to optimize extractions based on the different dosage size and puck depths, this range of baskets enables us to zone in on the best dose and grind over a great scope. This would be impossible with any standard series of baskets using unchanging filtration from single to double to triple. So I use the different VST sizes depending upon a particular coffee's optimal grind and dose - some work best with a finer grind at 15g, some show their best coarser and heavier. Either way, the different basket accommodates.
So the professional cafe can simply choose the one size that best enables their selected blend's performance based on grind and resulting dose.
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