Posted Sun Oct 7, 2012, 4:02pm Subject: Hunting for a VST...but which?
Does a VST basket make that much of a difference over the OEM ones? I usually dose right at 16g so would I need the 15g or 18g basket for my Silvia? What is the major difference between the ridged and ridgeless?
JasonBrandtLewis Senior Member Joined: 9 Dec 2005 Posts: 6,391 Location: Berkeley, CA Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -... Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -... Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup Drip: CCD, Chemex Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sun Oct 7, 2012, 4:35pm Subject: Re: Hunting for a VST...but which?
I have had two VST 15g "ridged" baskets since (roughly) the first month they came out. I use them and my seven ridgeless baskets on a daily basis. (I pull between five and seven doubles a day.) I am still unconvinced they make a significant difference, but many people I know swear by the VSTs.
There is no difference in terms of performance between ridged and ridgeless. I prefer ridgeless baskets, but when I bought my baskets, VST had yet to introduce their ridgeless ones. Ridgeless baskets are easier to take in and out of the portafilters, which is why I prefer them.
TonyVan Senior Member Joined: 24 May 2010 Posts: 276 Location: Pacific Northwest Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: GS/3, La Pavoni Grinder: Macap M7K, Rocky Drip: Kone
Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 12:29am Subject: Re: Hunting for a VST...but which?
To the good advice above I would only add a couple notes from my own experience.
The ridgeless versions enable a closer tamper/basket fit with tighter tolerances - this is especially true for the VSTs with their consistency and precision circularity. If you don't like little remainders of untamped coffee clinging to the basket sides above puck level, the ridgeless models leave no grooves in which those grounds can hide from the tamper piston.
Some coffees are in the normal volume-to-weight range of the curve. Some "light" coffees take up more space, however - one of my favorites acts a couple grams "big," for example, and an 18g dose way-overfills an 18g basket (and mashes up hard against the dispersion screen). But the 18g fits perfectly with a 20g VST, only just touching the screen screw after expansion from brewing.
The VSTs in general allow you to grind finer, with everything else remaining the same. This will lead you to re-optimize your grind and dose, and both will likely be different after you dial everything in. In my case, the VSTs brought (to me and to my taste) better extraction and balance that was obvious, but usually with slightly smaller doses than I used previously. So if you currently like 16g, the 15g basket will be not only start closer to your current dose, but any dose changes are more likely to move in the 15g direction.
Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 12:53am Subject: Re: Hunting for a VST...but which?
I can't comment on ridge vs ridgeless pull quality, but one thing I have noticed was my factory quickmill double basket had a habit of spraying espresso out one of the holes because it wasn't stamped precise. After getting the vst, the pulls were extremely consistant with even extraction. In my opinion, this basket is visually better made of machined high grade steel, pulls evenly, and I'm quite pleased with the taste results. As for comparing taste between a standard basket, i cannot comment too much since I've upgraded to the vst basket about a week after upgrading my machine. Ether way, you'll have to dial your grinder differently from your oem basket, but overall I'm happy with the results.
ShooterMcGavin Senior Member Joined: 17 Feb 2012 Posts: 53 Location: SoCal Expertise: Just starting
Espresso: N.S. Oscar Grinder: Preciso
Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 1:08am Subject: Re: Hunting for a VST...but which?
Does it make that much of a difference? there is a huge difference imo but for better or worse is up for debate
As everyone else previously noted, you do have to grind considerably finer. Whether this equates to a better cup depends on your skill and palate.
A notable plus is consistent hole size and spacing. When I look at my stock NS basket, I can see a few differences in hole size, spacing, and even shape (hole wasn't completely puched out I guess..) with my naked eyes.
Also, I find that with my ridgeless VST basket, it fits snug enough to not fall out of my portafilter when upside-down, and I can still easily pull it out without having to pry it out with a screwdriver
James Hoffman notes on his blog: "The VST baskets are great because they do a few things exceptionally well. They have less resistance the larger they are. This means that you can grind much finer than you otherwise could before. This means you can extract more. This is good news.
Secondly – the way they are manufactured means that they are extremely consistent – an exact number and size of uniform holes. This means that if you have a 3 group all the baskets will act exactly the same. Plus they’re built to be much thicker so they’ll last a lot longer. This is a bit of a simplified explanation but hopefully you’ve all read the article in Barista Magazine that Vince wrote because it was great. (Best edition of the magazine ever too!)"
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