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What exactly are VST baskets and are they worth it?
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > What exactly are...  
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Jmanespresso
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Jmanespresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013, 2:41pm
Subject: Re: What exactly are VST baskets and are they worth it?
 

EPNW baskets are not VST baskets.  They are made in the same idea.  Precision machine holes, as opposed to a random and inconsistent punch, on old school baskets.  Ive got every HQ basket EPNW makes, and while I like them, actually USING them for me is no different than a regular basket, except for maybe the grind setting.  They're nice baskets, Id buy them again.

VST baskets are a different beast entirely, and honestly, if you're interested in trying out the VST/Strada baskets, you should read the in-depth thread(s) on Home-Barista to really find out what the deal is.  Mark Prince wrote an Article on them as well, I also suggest reading that.  Ive got only one VST, a ridged 18gram.  I admit, I have not had good luck with it, but I don't think I gave it a fair shot.  I plan to order a couple other sizes, and ridgeless ones, and give them a solid second try with a flat tamper and my best attitude.  Will they make better coffee?  Idk.  But I haven't heard much to the tune of "I hate VST baskets, Im going back to regular ones"//  In fact, just the opposite...

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
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brianl
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Joined: 1 Dec 2012
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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013, 3:11pm
Subject: Re: What exactly are VST baskets and are they worth it?
 

Yeah, I'm lazy with typing so usually it comes off more tense than intended. I try to mix it up with smilies ;)

I just wanted to clarify my point that i don't just assume the basket is better because it costs more. The precision tests they do prove that much. Now as for your important point...better in the cup. I can grind finer and the channeling is much less of a problem. However, I can say they are better, just not if it's $30 better. But I have a hard time sleeping at night knowing i skimped out.

Now that you mention the free shipping. I might get those baskets you mentioned and do a test. OR at least do some shopping.
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takeshi
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takeshi
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Posted Fri Mar 8, 2013, 6:01pm
Subject: Re: What exactly are VST baskets and are they worth it?
 

Burner0000 Said:

Do they improve shot quality?

Posted March 5, 2013 link

Looking at your posts (you seem to ask this question often), I'd respond that you shouldn't rely solely on buying stuff to "improve shot quality".  Good tools can improve shot quality but not without a skilled operator.  A tool doesn't do anything by itself and will work poorly in unskilled hands and that's not just limited to coffee.

Burner0000 Said:

are they worth it?

Posted March 5, 2013 link

Worth's always subjective.  On any topic you'll find those that say yes and those that say no.  It's impossible for anyone to tell you what you will or will not find worthwhile.  Best is to read up, see if it sounds like it's your thing and then try and see for yourself.  I have VST baskets but I wouldn't say that they have drastically improved my espresso.  YMMV.
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adelemac
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Posted Fri Mar 8, 2013, 6:28pm
Subject: Re: What exactly are VST baskets and are they worth it?
 

49th Parallel carries VST baskets, and I just saw on their website that they are on sale

Click Here (www.49thparallelroasters.com)

Don't know what they charge for shipping.
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adelemac
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Posted Fri Mar 8, 2013, 6:29pm
Subject: Re: What exactly are VST baskets and are they worth it?
 

the 15 gram baskets are out of stock but they have the rest in stock
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fwtechwiz
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Posted Thu Mar 14, 2013, 2:45pm
Subject: Re: What exactly are VST baskets and are they worth it?
 

I just got my 18 g VST today, without changing my grind setting I went from a 21 second shot to just under 11 seconds!  I will be dialing the grinder back in over the next couple days for sure.  I was surprized, however, just how tasty the shot was.  I figured an 11 second shot would be swill, sink shot material but it was actually quite tasty.  Can't wait to see what the shot will look and taste like when I get the grind dialed back in!

It's interesting to see the histogram of the hole sizes that was included.  Extremely tight distribution of hole sizes, looks like only 6 holes out of 727 beyond the 3 sigma high or low!
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fwtechwiz
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Joined: 19 Feb 2010
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Location: Fort Wayne, IN
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Espresso: Gaggia Evolution
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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2013, 3:37pm
Subject: Re: What exactly are VST baskets and are they worth it?
 

Ok, after three shots my grinder is dialed back in, getting almost 2 oz in 24 seconds.  I'm using Redbird Espresso..admittedly from the freezer and the last of my 5 lb. purchase so it's not the freshest.  It seems the VST basket's profile lets you grind much finer without choking out the flow..allowing for a better extraction.   And it seriously shows in the taste and mouthfeel.  Smooth Snickers Bar heaven!!
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qualin
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qualin
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Posted Sat Mar 16, 2013, 4:46pm
Subject: Re: What exactly are VST baskets and are they worth it?
 

So, ridged or ridgeless?

My thought is that the ridged ones just make it more difficult to remove the basket from the portafilter.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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brianl
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Joined: 1 Dec 2012
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Location: Chicago IL
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Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano DB
Grinder: HG One, OE Lido 2, Baratza...
Drip: Chemex/V60
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Posted Sat Mar 16, 2013, 7:57pm
Subject: Re: What exactly are VST baskets and are they worth it?
 

qualin Said:

So, ridged or ridgeless?

My thought is that the ridged ones just make it more difficult to remove the basket from the portafilter.

Posted March 16, 2013 link

I agree. Ridge is mostly best to help you tamp straight.

I have both and both are snug. No reason for me to have ridge.
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JonR10
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JonR10
Joined: 26 Apr 2004
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Posted Sat Mar 16, 2013, 8:26pm
Subject: Re: What exactly are VST baskets and are they worth it?
 

brianl Said:

Ridge is mostly best to help you tamp straight.

Posted March 16, 2013 link

Not sure how this follows, maybe you could clarify what part of the ridge feature helps you tamp straight (and how)?  


It seems to me that the ridge is only there to help lock the basket into the portafilter body.  
As far as I can tell, the ridge is unrelated to the angle of the tamper piston in a basket

Tamping straight down is a product of practice for technique.  If you have a very close fit between the tamper piston and the basket then I could envision how that ca physically limit the angle of the tamper piston in the basket and in that way it might promote straighter tamping.

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
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