Do you reccommend triple portafilters?

 

What are the pros and cons of using a triple vs a double?

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We used triple baskets for a while at our shop when we were using a Rancilio Classe 8.  On that machine the grouphead screens sit a little lower due to how the machine is made.  This did not allow us to fit as much espresso into the basket as we wanted in order to achieve the flavor that we wanted.  So we used triple baskets.  We are now using a La Marzocco FB/80 and only need doubles to achieve the flavor that we want.  Try them and see if you like what they produce...
Also not all double baskets are the same. After trying many we settled on the Synesso 18g sloped walled baskets with our PID'd Lineas.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the OP said "Triple Portafilter," not "triple basket".  They are not the same thing, but maybe the basket is what he meant. 

 

Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of the triple basket.  Yes, you can stuff more coffee into it.  But to make it work, you also need to grind coarser, thus reducing the exposed surface area from which to extract.  

 

So the grind is already leaning towards under-extraction, and the goal is to use MORE coffee per volume of water in the cup, which leans further towards under-extraction.  This leads to the question: do we WANT to taste the coffee?  The coffee has more to give than what is being extracted in such a method.  

I recognize that some people like it, but I also think that culture has a whole lot to do with it.  Despite what people say, there aren't a whole lot of objective independent tasters out there. 

This information comes from experience.  Are you telling me that keeping the same resistance per volume while adding more volume isn't going to change the flow-through rate?  

 

I would ask where you are getting such information from.  

Angie McDaniel said:

that is completely NOT true, you do not need to grind coarser to pull a triple basket shot! Where are you getting this information?

Jason Haeger said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the OP said "Triple Portafilter," not "triple basket".  They are not the same thing, but maybe the basket is what he meant. 

 

Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of the triple basket.  Yes, you can stuff more coffee into it.  But to make it work, you also need to grind coarser, thus reducing the exposed surface area from which to extract.  

 

So the grind is already leaning towards under-extraction, and the goal is to use MORE coffee per volume of water in the cup, which leans further towards under-extraction.  This leads to the question: do we WANT to taste the coffee?  The coffee has more to give than what is being extracted in such a method.  

I recognize that some people like it, but I also think that culture has a whole lot to do with it.  Despite what people say, there aren't a whole lot of objective independent tasters out there. 

If all you're using are triples, then how would you have the perspective to say that you don't need to grind coarser for triple shots?  You're already grinding coarser all the time without noticing.  It is in comparison to a double basket, which I thought was self-evident.  

 

These sweet syrupy shots would not taste the same from a coffee that were not roasted to match such a situation.  How much of the coffee is lost during the roast in order to condition it for triple ristretto style extractions?  Are we selling the coffee, or are we selling the thing that we make out of it?  


Angie McDaniel said:

depending on the machine you are using, you could adjust the pressure from 9 to 10 bars. at our cafe we only pull triple baskets, nothing else, so it is not a problem to make this adjustment. also you must take extra care when tamping, the grind is actually tightened, so if you do not tamp evenly, channeling is more likely to occur. again, we pull ristretto, as I said above, so our extraction times are still between 28-30. the result is a syrupy sweet double shot.

Jason Haeger said:

This information comes from experience.  Are you telling me that keeping the same resistance per volume while adding more volume isn't going to change the flow-through rate?  

 

I would ask where you are getting such information from.  

Angie McDaniel said:

that is completely NOT true, you do not need to grind coarser to pull a triple basket shot! Where are you getting this information?

Jason Haeger said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the OP said "Triple Portafilter," not "triple basket".  They are not the same thing, but maybe the basket is what he meant. 

 

Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of the triple basket.  Yes, you can stuff more coffee into it.  But to make it work, you also need to grind coarser, thus reducing the exposed surface area from which to extract.  

 

So the grind is already leaning towards under-extraction, and the goal is to use MORE coffee per volume of water in the cup, which leans further towards under-extraction.  This leads to the question: do we WANT to taste the coffee?  The coffee has more to give than what is being extracted in such a method.  

I recognize that some people like it, but I also think that culture has a whole lot to do with it.  Despite what people say, there aren't a whole lot of objective independent tasters out there. 

Generally speaking IF going for a super thick ristretto shot with narrow taste and lack of clarity and lack taste definition then triple basket may be the way to go. However, IMO it's more a lazy way to gain consistency in a mediocre syrupy sweet shot than pulling for all the coffee has to offer. Yeah I've tasted many 21g+ triple basket shots pulled at less than an ounce volume. Boring. It's much more difficult to pull a good normale that sings than a super tight ristretto.

Note to self: stick to brewed coffee when in Kansas City. (j/k)

 

Instead of rebutting, I'll just repeat something that I posted earlier. 

I recognize that some people like it, but I also think that culture has a whole lot to do with it.  Despite what people say, there aren't a whole lot of objective independent tasters out there.

 

I'm not trying to be a snot, but I do think that we are doing the coffee a disservice by brewing it this way.  I see it as trying to take ownership of a coffee rather than behaving as a steward of someone else's work.  I've always seen it this way.  

 

Yes, I can see both sides, but what it comes down to then is what we want rather than what the coffee inherently is.  Which brings me back to the question.  What are we selling?  

Angie McDaniel said:

damn dude, why do you have to be such a snot. lots of places in NY & across the country are also using the triple basket as a standard. in this specialty industry, there are many opinions on what is right and wrong. ultimately it's up to the individual shop and what they like. humility is valuable in this industry, you should try it. i'm not saying you're right or wrong, i can see both sides. can you?

Angie, I feel as if stuffing more coffee into a basket to get something tasty is simply covering flaws in technique or the bean itself.

 

 Do you price according to the additional coffee, time and effort incorporated into these triples?  

 

OK... let's dial this down a bit. Name calling is more than a little inappropriate here.

 

The thoughts that have been shared here on the downsides of the uber-ristretto shot are pretty well-known. Its true that this is a style choice that many shops make, but it doesn't make sense for anyone to be offended by the suggestion that some aspects of the coffee may be masked by this style.

 

Considering that the OP directly asked for pros and cons, discussing cons seems to be reasonable.

Here's a question. Has anyone used a triple basket as intended with one of these?! (No)

Ok... I want to break down the double shot/triple shot debate a little further, without calling any names.  Also, I don't plan to take on any people with experience deep into double digits, that have done more for the industry and the coffee community and culture in their area than really anyone has.  Also, I certainly, sure as HELL, don't plan on personally attacking moderators.  My guess is it's a great idea to figure out what it means when "message" is found next to "reply" at the end of someone's post.  You're attacking some heavy hitters Angie.

 

All of that BS aside (because ultimately it really doesn't matter) it is, at this point, rather common knowledge that while a super condensed shot using 24+ grams of coffee can produce tasty results, the same coffee pulled at a lower dose to a greater yield will generally provide a better balance between not only thick, heavy body, but also nice, bright, effervescent acidity that helps to add life into an otherwise coffee molasses (hows that for a run on sentence!).

 

I went on an interesting journey through coffee when it comes to baskets.  I started on double and single baskets.  I then moved to only double baskets.  I then started experimenting with bottomless/triple baskets.  I then went to pulling only triple baskets for a period of time.  I now use only double baskets.

 

There was a time and a reason for each of these.  Each of these stages had at least 3 years behind it.  The reason for the first set is literally that those baskets are the ones that came with the machine and there wasn't a whole lot of interest in actually figuring out what the coffee was supposed to (or not supposed to) taste like.  The move to only doubles was to simply avoid the annoyance that is attempting to pull a high quality shot off of a single basket.

 

The move to triple baskets was mostly fed by the hype of it at the time, but also because at the shop I was probably doing 80% flavored lattes, 10% straight lattes of over 12oz, 8% Americanos and the final 2% were drinks of 6oz and under.  Those bright dynamics that you could get off of a double basket to a higher volume would disappear in all that milk and syrup.  I just wanted the maximum amount of the coffee to get through that milk as possible- triple baskets allowed that to happen easier than doubles (and we did have both available and constantly evaluated which to use).

 

I now use only double baskets because I feel like if you show me a shot pulled off of a triple basket using a ton of coffee, I can produce a better one off of a double with less coffee and a couple quick grinder adjustments.  The majority of my customer audience is into what the coffee is, what it tastes like and how to get the absolute most out of it; they are no longer interested in the other stuff that goes in, around, and over the coffee (for the most part).  I make far more straight shots than I do mochas.  My customer base helps dictate how I pull the shots, but ultimately it's up to me and I'll stand behind a double basket (over a triple basket) any day, all day.  There's more to get off of a double than a triple basket pulled to double volume.

 

-bry

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