It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. But, this is worth the time. I’ve read about VST Precision Filter Baskets before and finally decided to see what this was all about. I just picked up the 18gr VST STD Ridged filter basket and the difference it makes is crazy.
You can read all about the fancy holes and quality control elements of the VST Precision Filter Baskets on their site. But, the main take away is that it’s not just a marketing gimmic. The design of the VST baskets is superior to most stock filter baskets and the result is sweeter, better tasting espresso. The main thing I notice instantly is that the side walls of the basket are not really tapered at all (like my stock Bezzera or Gaggia baskets). There is a small curve near the bottom, but mostly, they look nearly straight by comparison. This means that the coffee puck is a uniform depth all the way around. This matters because even before you get to the precision holes at the bottom, the coffee is uniform leading to even saturation.
Now, this design also has the side effect of showing even the slightest error in your distribution and tamping technique. So, be prepared to reset what you think you know how to do a little. Also, I had to actually adjust my grind finer to deal get the same timing with my standard 18.5gr dose.
The result in the cup is a sweeter, more complex espresso. Same beans, same grinder, same machine…just changing the filter basket made the espresso taste significantly better. If you are serious about your espresso, it’s well worth the $30 for the VST basket.
FOOTNOTE: For most home machines, you probably want the STD Ridged model. This “ridge” is a small bump on the outside that catches the “spring” in the portafilter and locks the basket in. The “ridgeless” models don’t lock like that…they rely on simple friction fit. If you DO NOT have a bottomless portafilter, you might need to get one if you get the 18gr or larger basket. They have the dimensions on their site so you can measure your gear for compatibility.