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Different grades of filter basket holes?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Different grades...  
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floepie
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 9
Location: NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Gaggia MDF
Posted Wed Oct 16, 2013, 3:52pm
Subject: Different grades of filter basket holes?
 

As part of a grinder purchase agreement I was offered an additional filter basket for my Gaggia Classic.  I thought, nice backup should the original fail for whatever reason.  When I returned home, I raised both the original and new baskets to a bright light to determine if I could see any difference in pore size.  Sure enough, the holes in the newer basket are noticeably smaller.  So, I tried the new one in the portafilter and machine, and sure enough, less coffee had been expelled into the cup than I was used to, probably in the neighborhood of almost 40% less.

So, now it seems as if there is yet another variable to control for when holding to the 2 oz./ 30 second guideline, in addition to grind fineness, weight, tamp pressure, and water pressure as determined by the OPV. This leads me to wonder if baskets are graded according to hole or pore size, or if there's a standard for this sort of thing, do the holes become larger over time with prolonged use?
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fnacer
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2007
Posts: 464
Location: Denver
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Salvatore E61, Vivaldi Mini...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, Gaggia MDF,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Oct 16, 2013, 5:36pm
Subject: Re: Different grades of filter basket holes?
 

I've noticed that the holes get smaller and fewer with use. But if you dip the basket in cleaning solution for a few minutes, the holes not only return to their original size, but the ones that were gone suddenly reappear. Magic, I tell you...

Seriously, though, lack of uniformity is probably very prevalent unless you get into baskets that are described as follows:

- Holes are fabricated using a new micro-machine and finishing process
- 100% of holes are measured on every filter for min/max range limits on area and diameter to a precision of +/- 20 Ám (individual QC report provided with every filter)
- All holes are measured for circularity, placement, square area and blocked holes
- Hole pattern is centered to +/- 1.0 mm and placement is oriented for uniform extraction throughout the entire puck
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 9:40am
Subject: Re: Different grades of filter basket holes?
 

Those baskets, by the way, are from VST and most of us on this forum use them. The 18g is generally a good place to start, or the 20g. They are a bit challenging to use at first, but make a difference if you have a good tamping and distribution technique.
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jonr
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jun 2013
Posts: 290
Location: Americas
Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 1:29pm
Subject: Re: Different grades of filter basket holes?
 

If you have a clean basket that it causing enough restriction to reduce flow by 40% in a normal shot, get rid of it.
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jwoodyu
Senior Member
jwoodyu
Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 847
Location: Michigan
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Allex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 1:39pm
Subject: Re: Different grades of filter basket holes?
 

jonr Said:

If you have a clean basket that it causing enough restriction to reduce flow by 40% in a normal shot, get rid of it.

Posted October 17, 2013 link

Or it is a VST like Kelvan said.

I will cover shipping if your going to chuck perfectly good VST ;)

 
Yes i have a reason for leaving SCG off my list, yes it is my opinion, yes it is subjective as opinions are by definition, no don't start a flame war because you disagree.
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floepie
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 9
Location: NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Gaggia MDF
Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 1:45pm
Subject: Re: Different grades of filter basket holes?
 

jonr Said:

If you have a clean basket that it causing enough restriction to reduce flow by 40% in a normal shot, get rid of it.

Posted October 17, 2013 link

Right, but the one with the smaller holes is newer.  Furthermore, the holes are not clogged and are quite uniform in size when held up to the light, when compared to my older basket with significantly larger holes.  I just assumed that basket pore sizes are basket pore sizes.  Both baskets share the same overall shape, so I'm not convinced that the one is a VST, as those baskets tend to have side walls which are uniformly perpendicular to the base, or so I thought.
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 4:30pm
Subject: Re: Different grades of filter basket holes?
 

All VST baskets are imprinted with laser etching on the rim that says "VST XXg" and on the sides with a 2D barcode. Those babies are worth $30 a piece and are used in the World Barista Championship. Any other basket (with the exception of the Faema or Strada baskets) is almost certainly inferior in quality and desirability.
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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,094
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 4:42pm
Subject: Re: Different grades of filter basket holes?
 

  1. You have a general misunderstanding of the processes of dialing in specifically, and of making espresso generally. There is no 2oz/30sec rule.  It is entirely normal that a change of basket will require  modifying grind and/or dose to maintain similar extraction ratios and levels;
  2. VST baskets are marked "VST." If your basket is not marked it is neither VST nor Strada.  One of the things which makes high-end baskets different from ordinary baskets is consistency of hole size, number and distribution; and finally
  3.  Your espresso machine is limited in terms of how much it can tell you aboutt your beans, technique or other equipment.

BDL
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floepie
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 9
Location: NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Gaggia MDF
Posted Fri Oct 18, 2013, 1:46am
Subject: Re: Different grades of filter basket holes?
 

boar_d_laze Said:

You have a general misunderstanding of the processes of dialing in specifically, and of making espresso generally. There is no 2oz/30sec rule.  It is entirely normal that a change of basket will require  modifying grind and/or dose to maintain similar extraction ratios and levels;
VST baskets are marked "VST." If your basket is not marked it is neither VST nor Strada.  One of the things which makes high-end baskets different from ordinary baskets is consistency of hole size, number and distribution; and finally
Your espresso machine is limited in terms of how much it can tell you aboutt your beans, technique or other equipment.

BDL

Posted October 17, 2013 link

  1. ? While it's surely not a rule per se, it is indeed a "rule of thumb", just a guideline which can be tailored to equipment and taste. I was simply expressing surprise at the variability between two clean unclogged baskets I have in house.
  2. Ah, good.  Thanks.
  3. Not sure how that applies to anything here, but it kinda sounds good.
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,094
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Fri Oct 18, 2013, 8:25am
Subject: Re: Different grades of filter basket holes?
 

The 30sec/2oz rule, isn't really a "rule of thumb" either; or at least not a good one.  More than anything else, it's an indication by those who use it that they don't really understand the processes of espresso making in general or dialing-in in particular.  Look.  I'm sorry if this seems too blunt.  But I'm trying to disabuse you of common misconceptions and help you out along your quest.  

Shot time (or range of times) is not a goal.   A 27 - 32sec pull time, in and of itself, is not meaningful as a good thing.  It just means how long the barista allowed the pour to continue.  

On the other hand, time is useful as a diagnostic if it's used with some other indicator (blonding for instance).  That is, a very short or very long pull times are frequently indications that something is wrong.  Breaking it down:  Degree of extraction and extraction ratio ARE important.  If times are too short or too long the times usually indicate flaws in grind and/or distribution.  

If that's what you meant by your reference to the "2oz/30sec rule" (and I don't think it is), you didn't say so.  Instead you seemed flummoxed that different basket affected yield/time values.  

Shot volumes are NOT important; but shot weights on the other hand are useful data.  Weight -- or more accurately, "mass" -- can be used to compute extraction ratio, but volume cannot because because espresso density varies according to the amount of crema; which itself varies according to a number of variables.

There are limits to the quality of coffee you can consistently pull from a Gaggia Classic, largely due to temp related phenomena.  (If you want to make good espresso consistently it's a good idea for you to change your response to that from an "interesting," to an "oh.")  Consequently, it doesn't makes a lot of sense to invest in $30 baskets.   The places to put your money are in better coffee, a better grinder (assuming the one you have is no better than your machine), and in a better machine.  The good news is that it doesn't cost much to improve your techniques and get the best performance your Gaggia can give.    

BDL
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