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VST baskets? worth it or waste of time?

Does anyone think the VST baskets return additional value over the standard included basket?
What improvements do you notice with the VST basket if any?


  • In my personal experience they don't necessarily improve your extraction if you're not already able to produce great shots.

    What they've done for me is (I believe) improve the consistency of my shots.

    So it may not have increased the number of god-shots I produce, fewer shots fall into the 'sink shot' category! ;)
  • Very topical this. Have bought two vst's - 15g and 18g and am still struggling to get this right despite the best efforts of Reiss. 16g in the stock baskets however and we have espresso perfection.

    So in my book right now, no! Asking me again in a few days.....there might be a couple of vst's going cheap!
  • VST baskets are good if you have problems with underxtractions which I believe are the most common espresso extraction problems. But with them you need to have good grinder and perform good distribution in basket.

    If you are getting good extractions with stock basket, there is no reason to go VST. I keep them in my toolbox when I have trouble extracting. Here is also a post I wrote recently on extraction. VST basket ties into this. If you are getting bitter and/or sour shots very likely you are underextracting and then switching to VST basket to increase extraction will very likely help or alternatively dose less and grind finer with your current basket.

    Hope this helps.
  • Thanks for this Dennis. I couldn't agree with you more. It feels like I am trying to cure a problem that I don't really have. I got the vst baskets to see what the hype was about with perhaps the over inflated expectation that a well extracted 18g vst dose is going to be a punch above a well extracted 15g-16g dose (via the stock baskets).

    Looking at the naked PF my extractions with the vst are not hitting. I am not getting a consistent single stream pour with either the 15g or the 18g and resultant espresso is thin. No problems with he stock baskets however. It comes down to my technique which I need to focus clearly. I have a K10 grinder so that should be ok. As soon as I can see I've properly extracted a vst then I am sure the taste differences between the vst and the stock won't be particularly distinguishable. At the moment they are - but completely towards the stock baskets!
  • I got a greater benefit out of my LONDINIUM tamper - the total inability to gorilla tamp whilst using it meant a reduction of 2 grams in my dosing and much more even extractions.
  • Yeah I got one of those too. I was a bit sceptical initially about the button approach to tamping but love it now. Highly recommend it too.
  • I have found tamping the greatest challenge to good extractions!
  • Cross posted from coffee forums. In a nutshell I spent a good two hours with the Li replete with vst baskets, scales, timer, naked PF, Londinium beans, stock baskets - you name it I had it.

    In summary;

    - I managed to finally nail gorgeous 18g dose in a 18g vst. But it needed a WDT to do this (I have a K10)
    - using the stock baskets, 15.5g in the double yielded me a similar spanking shot (perhaps a bit more mellow) far more consistently and without the need of a WDT or any other theatrics.

    End conclusion in my personal crusade: I am going to stick with the stock doubles from now on. I couldn't note a discernible difference in taste but achieved it with much much less hassle in getting the needed extraction.

    Only issue is taking out the stock baskets from the PF's tends to take your fingernails off. Just guess I am going to have to be less of a woosy.
  • I bought a 15 and 20g VST and gave up on them pretty early. Maybe I'll return to them again but I'm getting great results from the stock double basket and I'm not a gluton for punishment, so don't hold your breath on that one ;)
  • Martin and I have come to the same conclusions during our discussions as well!
  • I also gave both the 15g and 18g VST baskets a go, but never had any prolonged success. I'd occasionally get a marvelous shot, but those were far and between and I eventually settled back on the stock baskets. I found I needed to grind much too fine in order to get a decent result. They do seem to work better by under-dosing quite a bit, which also leads to the necessity for an even finer grind.

    I still have the 15g basket hanging around, but have already sold the 18g. Not sure why I'm keeping this one, really. What I can say is I purchased a LM Advanced Precision single basket, and it is a dream. I dose it from 8-9g and the results are fantastic.
  • I use VST baskets exclusively for the last few months, I have the 7,15,18 and 20g baskets.
    The 20g is quite useless, sure you can get a proper extraction out but I much prefer the lower dosed shots from the smaller ones.

    The L1 needs some headroom to produce good and consistent extractions and you need to underdose those baskets for about 10% less.
    For a double I use 15.5-16g in a 18g basket and about 14g in the 15g basket.

    Single shots are my main pleasure, I dose 8.5g in the inner rim of the 7g VST basket with a special funnel and a special 40.7 mm tamper.
    The shots are great, consistent, very sweet and delicate with a good flavor separation.

  • Thanks Kfir. You are another one that recommends a significant underdose on the vst's. Maybe there is something in this. I'll try again when I have the cajones to handle my vst's one more time....

    Interesting your preference towards classic singles. What brew weight are you getting?
  • I have actually found there to be a pretty big difference which probably requires a bit more study. A few key points:

    1. With the VST, I generally but consistently find the shots to be softer, fuller, less tart with all else equal, i.e., grind, tamp, weight, extraction time
    2. The difference is more noticeable with some grinds than others. This is really what requires more study. Beans that are more friable tend to be more visually uneven then the stock LI basket during extraction.
    3. All else equal, I find that I can grind finer when I use the VST basket.

    My two cents.

  • Gino Magnotta post=89 wrote: Interesting your preference towards classic singles. What brew weight are you getting?

    I am getting ~20g

  • Gino Magnotta post=58 wrote:
    Only issue is taking out the stock baskets from the PF's tends to take your fingernails off. Just guess I am going to have to be less of a woosy.

    Take the PF spring out and bend it so the tension is less. I had the same fingernail issue so rebent the springs. The only problem is with ridgeless baskets they might be to loose so be careful.

    I only use the VST baskets for large overdoses for putting the shot onto ice cream or into a very sweet milk drink, like Vietnamese Iced Coffee.

    Grinder settings are different with the VST's.

    I was using 14g in the 15g basket, 17.2 in a 18g basket and 19.5 in their 22g basket.
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