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Do most "big name" cafés use triple baskets?
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ericcomposer72
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Joined: 16 Nov 2013
Posts: 52
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Oscar, Silvia, Breville...
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Posted Tue Dec 31, 2013, 1:13pm
Subject: Do most "big name" cafés use triple baskets?
 

Like Joe, Blue Bottle, Stumptown, etc?

I have a new Silvia, and I am trying to reproduce what some places call a "cortado" (slightly less milk than a cap).

With the Silvia's double basket, I find it hard to get a strong enough coffee flavor (especially without letting it blonde). I believe I'm using around 15-15.5 grams...

With the Breville 860 I used to have, it had a 54mm pf, which I guess I overdosed to about 17g... But I was able to produce shots that could give me a stronger coffee flavor in a milk drink, even without blonding.

Am I perhaps not getting a good extraction? Should I look into a triple basket either way?
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weebit_nutty
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weebit_nutty
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 234
Location: Los Angeles
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Espresso: Cremina 67 Lever,  LCM HX
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Posted Tue Dec 31, 2013, 4:29pm
Subject: Re: Do most "big name" cafés use triple baskets?
 

ericcomposer72 Said:

Like Joe, Blue Bottle, Stumptown, etc?

I have a new Silvia, and I am trying to reproduce what some places call a "cortado" (slightly less milk than a cap).

With the Silvia's double basket, I find it hard to get a strong enough coffee flavor (especially without letting it blonde). I believe I'm using around 15-15.5 grams...

With the Breville 860 I used to have, it had a 54mm pf, which I guess I overdosed to about 17g... But I was able to produce shots that could give me a stronger coffee flavor in a milk drink, even without blonding.

Am I perhaps not getting a good extraction? Should I look into a triple basket either way?

Posted December 31, 2013 link

Hmm. you should look into your dosing and tamping method..  If your shots are thin with 17g, there can be only two explanations ...either your prep is off or your coffee is.  17grams is plenty for pulling a rich 1.7oz double, or very rich single ristretto.

I have a 49mm double basket on my Cremina and I regularly dose 14-17grams for my doubles. I have dosed as much as 18 grams without issue. With a proper ~30lb tamp, the 18g puck fits the group just fine, and pulls a lovely, gooey, palate-coating double ristrettos.

For comparison, on my 53mm double basket (MyPressi Twist), it seems huge in comparison and I have dosed over 20 grams before.  I don't know how much more before  the puck actually touches the dispersion screen, maybe 24grams..  

What is the total capacity (by volume) of your basket (in cubic mm)?
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andys
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andys
Joined: 10 May 2003
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Posted Tue Dec 31, 2013, 7:55pm
Subject: Re: Do most "big name" cafés use triple baskets?
 

ericcomposer72 Said:

Like Joe, Blue Bottle, Stumptown, etc?

I have a new Silvia, and I am trying to reproduce what some places call a "cortado" (slightly less milk than a cap).

With the Silvia's double basket, I find it hard to get a strong enough coffee flavor (especially without letting it blonde). I believe I'm using around 15-15.5 grams...

Posted December 31, 2013 link

The cafes where I've enquired about dosing recently were using anywhere from 18-21 grams.

 
-AndyS
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ericcomposer72
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Joined: 16 Nov 2013
Posts: 52
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Oscar, Silvia, Breville...
Grinder: Vario
Posted Wed Jan 1, 2014, 4:21pm
Subject: Re: Do most "big name" cafés use triple baskets?
 

weebit_nutty Said:

Hmm. you should look into your dosing and tamping method..  If your shots are thin with 17g, there can be only two explanations ...either your prep is off or your coffee is.  17grams is plenty for pulling a rich 1.7oz double, or very rich single ristretto.

I have a 49mm double basket on my Cremina and I regularly dose 14-17grams for my doubles. I have dosed as much as 18 grams without issue. With a proper ~30lb tamp, the 18g puck fits the group just fine, and pulls a lovely, gooey, palate-coating double ristrettos.

For comparison, on my 53mm double basket (MyPressi Twist), it seems huge in comparison and I have dosed over 20 grams before.  I don't know how much more before  the puck actually touches the dispersion screen, maybe 24grams..  

What is the total capacity (by volume) of your basket (in cubic mm)?

Posted December 31, 2013 link


Thanks! I just upped my dose to 17g, and was able to pull a nice, thick double ristretto. I'm using the standard Rancilio Silvia V3 double basket, which IIRC, is a 14g basket. I'd have to believe that after tamping, it is not in contact with the screen, although my previous under-dosing was probably out of a fear of this.
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
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Posted Thu Jan 2, 2014, 7:41am
Subject: Re: Do most "big name" cafés use triple baskets?
 

Often your roaster will have recommendations on the amount of grams you may have to check the website or call.  I wish all roasters would put it and the recommended extraction types on all bags of beans.

 
Coffeenoobie

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boar_d_laze
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Posted Thu Jan 2, 2014, 8:43am
Subject: Re: Do most "big name" cafés use triple baskets?
 

Good cafes usually use VST or Strada single baskets for pulling singles, and VST or Strada double baskets for pulling doubles.  They pull a much higher proportion of doubles than singles.

Headspace is a very important consideration.  Especially with a Silvia.  The height of the coffee in the basket, post tamping is critical.  Test your (unused) dosed and tamped puck with a nickle, then test with a dime.  The nickle should leave a clear impression.  The dime's should be fainter.

If you don't have an 0.1g scale stout enough to read dose weight by taring an empty pf/basket, then weighing it dosed, get one.  

Don't worry about what a used puck looks like.  There's no more information to be gained from puckology than from astrology.    

Different baskets work best with different doses.  There is no universal right weight.  

Different coffees at different degrees of freshness require different grinds.

Precision baskets like the VST and Strada tend to be on the finicky side, but they aren't unreasonable.  They're happy with an approximately three gram range.  For instance, the "sweet spot" for an 18g Strada is  between 17 and 20g.  

VST baskets might be slightly more "universal" than Strada; or at least outsell them. Stradas were designed for La Marzocco, and work very well in their machines.  I prefer straight sided 18g Stradas for my La Cimbali.

Triple baskets (21g and above), won't fit in many spouted pfs.  Silvia pfs are particularly unaccomodating.  If you want a triple basket, you'll need to buy a bottomless pf as well.  A bottomless pf is a good thing to have both as a training tool and because it's so easy to clean.  On the other hand, triple baskets usually don't work out.  

If you use more than one basket (good idea), make them all VSTs or Stradas.  I know they're expensive, but their consistency is worth it.  The alternative is dialing in different dose and grind for each basket.  What a PITA!

Go to Home-Barista, there's a "sticky" there in the "Tips and Techniques" Section about adjusting grind and dose by and for taste.  It's a good article, but a little complicated and confusing.  You may have to read it twice.  

Should grind determine dose, or should dose determine grind?  Yes.  That is, they're interdependent and interdynamic and there's no wrong place to start.  Tamping also matters.  Is a 15g dose "right" in a Silvia's stock basket?  Depends.  What else can you tell me? What does the pour look like?  How much does the shot weigh?  How long does it take?  How does it taste?    

The better the machine, the better the grinder, the more consistent you are about using coffee in the right range of freshness... the more likely it is that grind and dose will fall within a fairly narrow range of "right."  It's one of the many things which falls under the heading of "consistency."

For example, a La Marzocco GB/5 + Robur + VST basket won't usually require much in the way of adjusting grind and dose.  But a Silvia + Skerton + stock basket is a challenging blend of bare adequacy and fussiness.  If you want to get the best out of any coffee from that sort of setup, grind and dose will be things you'll have to work very hard at dialing in.    

Whether or not a shot is a ristetto or a normale, is a question of brew ratio.  It is not determined by whether or not the shot flow is "syrupy."  For that matter, (a) ALL pulls should look syrupy; and (b) ristrettos don't pour much differently than normales through the ristretto part of the pull.  

Brew ratio is determined by weight of the dose, divided by weight (not volume!!!) of the shot.  Compared to weight, shot volume is a relatively meaningless measurement.  When someone writes "ristretto" without supplying ratio or weights, consider the context.  When someone supplies dose weight and shot volume, assume lack of sophistication.  

Hope this helps,
BDL
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
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Posted Thu Jan 2, 2014, 10:50am
Subject: Re: Do most "big name" cafés use triple baskets?
 

boar_d_laze Said:

VST baskets might be slightly more "universal" than Strada; or at least outsell them. Stradas were designed for La Marzocco, and work very well in their machines.

Posted January 2, 2014 link

I've tried pretty hard to find out if there is a real difference between these two baskets. What I found suggested the Stradas were designed and made by LM along with the folks who make VSTs during development of this type of basket, and then the two split off.  If anyone knows different, I'd love to hear it.  I also, tried very hard to find out if there's a difference between the two in the cup, but not one person (not even andys) was able (or willing) to provide that info.

boar_d_laze Said:

If you want a triple basket, you'll need to buy a bottomless pf as well.

Posted January 2, 2014 link

Most bottomless pfs I've seen for sale come with a triple basket, but as BDL says, you're best off buying a VST or Strada triple basket while you're at it and tossing the stock one.

boar_d_laze Said:

If you use more than one basket (good idea), make them all VSTs or Stradas.

Posted January 2, 2014 link

+1

boar_d_laze Said:

Whether or not a shot is a ristetto or a normale, is a question of brew ratio.  It is not determined by whether or not the shot flow is "syrupy."  For that matter, (a) ALL pulls should look syrupy; and (b) ristrettos don't pour much differently than normales through the ristretto part of the pull.  

Brew ratio is determined by weight of the dose, divided by weight (not volume!!!) of the shot.

Posted January 2, 2014 link

+1. In fact, take special note of his comment on weight versus volume of the pulled shot. Weight is determined by mass of the vessel contents, while volume is affected by how much air is incorporated into the crema and density of the syrupy spro...and can leave you with errors in your calculations.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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ericcomposer72
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Joined: 16 Nov 2013
Posts: 52
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Oscar, Silvia, Breville...
Grinder: Vario
Posted Fri Jan 3, 2014, 1:34pm
Subject: Re: Do most "big name" cafés use triple baskets?
 

Wow, thank you all for the wonderful information...


I just pulled two shots today, and both were 17g of dry coffee, yielding about 38g of espresso. According to a chart I saw, that would put it right in the regular ("normale") espresso range. Both shots were around 30 second pulls...

The first shot was wonderful--balanced, both fruity and rich... felt like I was eating a piece of pie made with great flour/dough :) I'm using Ethopian horse harrar beans, which I got from Fairway here in NYC.

Second one came out more sour, because my Vario setting started to move to coarser in the middle of the grinding, because I haven't installed the shims yet, which keep it from moving during the grind...


But I see what you mean about viscosity of the shot--even though I'm pulling normale's, they are still quite thick and "syrupy"


I'll read that thread above about dosing, etc... and see what they recommend for altering grind/dose to produce a balanced ristretto. In the meantime, I'll remember these grind/dosing settings so that I can consistently pull these wonderful normale's :)
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