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Espresso Parts NW HQ baskets vs. La Marzocco VST baskets
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Espresso Parts...  
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stackie
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Posted Wed Dec 7, 2011, 11:34pm
Subject: Espresso Parts NW HQ baskets vs. La Marzocco VST baskets
 

So, I decided that I was going to get a handful of the new VST baskets and was just about to order them from Chris Coffee.  Well, my lovely wife went to Olympia Washington to visit her brother.  She went to Espresso Parts NW and bought me one of their HQ baskets to try.

Well, it is nice and shiny, but other than that, I can't tell much difference.  Not that I expected to.  My understanding is that the advantage of the VST baskets is the precision nature of the baskets allows for greater shot consistency between different baskets of the same size.  Does anyone know if the Espresso Parts HQ baskets offer this same repeatability?  They are certainly less money than the VST baskets.

Has anyone else been using the Espresso Parts HQ baskets?

Thanks in advance for your comments.

And, yes I am going to call Espresso Parts to get their take on the subject.

Jon
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JonR10
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JonR10
Joined: 26 Apr 2004
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Posted Thu Dec 8, 2011, 3:48am
Subject: Re: Espresso Parts NW HQ baskets vs. La Marzocco VST baskets
 

The HB crowd did some measurement work, and while some folks might dispute some of the methods or conclusions, the physical measurements did show that the VST baskets have much more consistency and are tuned for size vs. dose:

From How filter baskets affect espresso taste and barista technique

It is clear that the manufacturing tolerances of the VST baskets are about three times as tight as those of the other baskets, as shown by their standard deviations. The Micro-Fine baskets claim more precise holes, but show no exceptional increase in manufacturing tolerances. It is also true that the VST hole sizes and total area are staggered roughly in proportion to their nominal size. Therefore, VST's claims about the purely physical characteristics of their baskets are verified.


 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
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TheMadTamper
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Posted Fri Dec 9, 2011, 8:47am
Subject: Re: Espresso Parts NW HQ baskets vs. La Marzocco VST baskets
 

I think they're two different things.  No, they won't have the same repeatability, but that doesn't mean they don't have their place.  JVBorella posted information in the Q&A forum (including a link to the original HB thread) under the "Did anyone stop using their VST baskets" (that's not the exact title) thread pointing to the different extraction ratios of the VSTs versus the HQs.  He personally prefers the HQs for most of the beans he uses, but uses the VST for some.  Jim's test that Jon linked to here was the one in dispute I believe, but the general vibe of that thread before it went mostly off-topic was that the VSTs are excellent at what they do, which is to provide highly repeatable results at the extraction ratio they're tuned to.  The trouble is, if you prefer a different extraction ratio...they won't do much for you which is the situation that John Borella ran into.  

Personally I have the HQ and the VSTs and while I'd like to claim the higher ground and say that I like experimenting with both in different situations, the reality is I'm lazy enough that given my use of two grinders in various situations I've found it far easier to standardize purely on the VST in different sizes.  It's easy, I don't have to think about it, I know I get consistent results, and I know I almost always like the results I get to the point that I'd rather just adjust dose than mess with re-dialing the grind for a different basket all together.  Which of course isn't opposite the main purpose of the baskets: To provide consistency across baskets and grinders in a cafe environment in an ultra-durable high-reliability body.

So for your situation, you'd have to decide how you use your coffee and if you'd be interested in experimenting with the potentially different results from a different extraction ratio in different brand baskets or not.  You're probably not switching doses and grinders as often as I, so the lazy/repeatability factor may not apply to you.  At a minimum it definitely doesn't hurt to have both in your toolbox.  Even if, like me, you're too lazy to bother switching most of the time :)
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21grams
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21grams
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Posted Mon Apr 16, 2012, 3:33am
Subject: Re: Espresso Parts NW HQ baskets vs. La Marzocco VST baskets
 

Hi, There!
I have been using HQ baskets for a little over 6 mths, without any problem. That is 14gram basket for 8 oz cup & 21gram basket for 12 oz cup....without changing the Grind settings. But with the VST baskets (15gram & 22gram)
you must change the Grind settings OR use 2 separate Grinders.
When you going through between (1 to 3 kg  in an hour) of coffee in the morning rush, no time to play around with the grind ( except for Temp, Humidity etc ).
I have noticed  that VST do deliver a better tasting coffee....because a finer grind setting. Therefore extracting more flavor from your coffee.
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Posted Mon Apr 16, 2012, 6:45am
Subject: Re: Espresso Parts NW HQ baskets vs. La Marzocco VST baskets
 

21grams Said:

That is 14gram basket for 8 oz cup & 21gram basket for 12 oz cup....

Posted April 16, 2012 link



JasonBrandtLewis: puzzled.gif

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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germantownrob
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germantownrob
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Posted Mon Apr 16, 2012, 9:29am
Subject: Re: Espresso Parts NW HQ baskets vs. La Marzocco VST baskets
 

I have the 14 and 21g HQs and the 18g VST. I do have to adjust the grind for the 14 to use the 21 HQ but I also adjust the grind for the 21g since I can dose from 21-26g in those baskets. I use all the baskets, there are certain beans I will exclusively use in the 18g VSTs and love the results. I really like the 21g HQ, I have never owned a basket that could cover so much range with the doses and make playing around with shots a lot of fun. The 14g HQs get used only with city-city+ roasts with a very fine grind dosed from 13-15g.

I have been meaning to pick up more VST baskets in the 21g size to be able to compare them to the HQs but I am a "if it ain't broke don't fix it" kind of guy so the order is on the back burner.
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e53er
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e53er
Joined: 21 Apr 2002
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Posted Mon Apr 16, 2012, 10:10am
Subject: Re: Espresso Parts NW HQ baskets vs. La Marzocco VST baskets
 

I also need to adjust the grind when switching between the stock double basket for the Oscar and the 21g HQ. In fact, I need to adjust several notches coarser on my Mini Mazzer to get a drip out of the machine. If I had known this, I would not have purchased the 21g HQ. It's too much hassle and a good waste of coffee just to tune in the grind for an occasional triple shot.
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
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Posted Mon Apr 16, 2012, 11:47am
Subject: Re: Espresso Parts NW HQ baskets vs. La Marzocco VST baskets
 

I hated the NS stock baskets because the ridges blocked my tamper. I got an 18 VST and I plan to 2 more, get one up and one down from it.  So, I will have the range that I most likely will use. I have not used the HQ but I am very pleased with the basket I have and the hole pattern compared to the stock basket is defiantly more precisely made.  My holes are not centered in my stock basket. The pattern is clearly off to one side. When looking at them, I wonder how the coffee every tasted good out of the stock baskets.

 
Coffeenoobie

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germantownrob
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germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
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Location: Philadelphia
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Posted Mon Apr 16, 2012, 1:47pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Parts NW HQ baskets vs. La Marzocco VST baskets
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

I hated the NS stock baskets because the ridges blocked my tamper. I got an 18 VST and I plan to 2 more, get one up and one down from it.  So, I will have the range that I most likely will use. I have not used the HQ but I am very pleased with the basket I have and the hole pattern compared to the stock basket is defiantly more precisely made.  My holes are not centered in my stock basket. The pattern is clearly off to one side. When looking at them, I wonder how the coffee every tasted good out of the stock baskets.

Posted April 16, 2012 link

LOL! I used that darn stock double for over a year, it is so misshapen and beat up and I never complained until I replaced it and realized what a POS it was.

The VSTs are definitely a step up visually from the HQ basket but the HQ is the second best looking basket I have ever seen. VST had busy shops in mind when making these baskets and my home will never see that kind of use so it should last a very long time, I will pick up more of the ridge less VSTs and probably order the Pullman tamper as well. The HQs also seem to have a tight tororence to sizing, after getting my VST I also ordered a digital caliber to measure all my baskets, everything is all over the place including my tampers. The HQ baskets I have are all with in 2mm of each other and since they are inexpensive I will order more of them, then I can be sure on a custom size tamper that will fit best. I only have one VST so far and yet from all that is posted I have no worries about the tight specs they are being made to so a VST Pullman tamper might have some good company with a slightly larger Reg Barber size that is still undetermined. Or custom order from Pullman Downunder and just get two bases and deal with the shipping. Or order a bunch of sizes from Reg and one handle for a whole lot less and hope one fits perfect to at least a few baskets. Well that's how my brain works and the reason I move at a snails pace, lol.

Personally I think the HQ baskets are a bargain, you can own 2 of each size for about the price of one VST. To me it is a no brainer to add one on to an order at EP when picking anything up. The fact that you can overdose an HQ triple or Standard dose it is just so versatile for me, my wife likes her big Lattes and now I feel much better putting an overdosed triple shot in 10oz of milk. This thread has got me thinking I need to try a full 27-28g dose in the HQ 21g basket, I have never been pressed for head room with 26g doses.
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frank828
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Joined: 23 Feb 2011
Posts: 581
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Posted Mon Apr 16, 2012, 2:06pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Parts NW HQ baskets vs. La Marzocco VST baskets
 

btw, an alternative(im sure there are many) to the pullman tampers that i'm considering is from here.   http://www.coffeecomplements.com/products-page/

muchhh cheaper and it still looks like a very nice quality tamper.
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