Jump to content
Zephyp

VST refractometer buyers advice

Recommended Posts

I'm looking to aquire a VST and had a few questions.

I'll be using it for pour over. What equipment do I need besides these gadget itself?

 

Filters? Syringers? Software? The VST shop got an unbundled version where you can add software, syringe/filter and chooses soft case color.

 

Do you need the PC software? Do you need the app? Is it sturdy or should I get a hard case?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Software on whatever works for you.

Distilled water.

Pipettes

If you are going to do immersion or aeropress then some syringes and filters.


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

Instagram - rjw_inc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For pourover with paper filters, as long as you are not trying to explore brewing with super fine/espresso grinds, you just need some pipettes, DI water, wipes. You can use tissue wipes with occasional medi-wipe cleaning. I use larger pipettes, easier to flush & re-use, less bubbly when dropping onto the prism.

 

Syringe & filters are needed for French press, Aeropress, Turkish, pourover with a metal filter...anything where you are going to get undissolved solids in the cup.

 

It's pretty sturdy, I wouldn't bother with a hard case unless you are going to regularly be taking it on-site/regularly moving it about.

 

Yes, get the app. Saves need a calculator every time you brew, makes it easier to talk in common parlance about where you are (but in terms of consistency between your own brews, it doesn't matter so much)

 

If using it in good light, turn off the backlight (easy, in the menu) batteries last much longer.


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you. What readings do you get on the screen on the device? Is it possible to use without an app or computer software?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright, app it is then. I'll be taking it to work offshore, but when I bring more sensitive equipment I usually wrap it in some clothing or bubble wrap. Doesn't take as much space as a hard case either. Good tip on the backlight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For pourover with paper filters, as long as you are not trying to explore brewing with super fine/espresso grinds, you just need some pipettes, DI water, wipes. You can use tissue wipes with occasional medi-wipe cleaning. I use larger pipettes, easier to flush & re-use, less bubbly when dropping onto the prism.

VST got 1ml pipettes. It seems you throw away a pipette after use, correct? Which size would you suggest and is it possible to re-use them?

Edited by Zephyp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

VST have 1ml, I use 3ml https://www.creamsupplies.co.uk/dropping-pipette-sterile-3ml-pack-of-20

 

I don't like throwing them away after each use (unless I'm somewhere where it's inconvenient to hold on to old, drippy pipettes). I rinse the 3ml ones through with DI water then let them air dry & reuse them. Use a cupping spoon or similar to transfer some stirred beverage to a clean shot glass/small cup, to let the sample cool (~1min) before dropping on the prism.


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wrote 100ml, but meant 1ml. Thanks again, Mark.

 

Tim Wendelboe posted a picture on Instagram of his coffee setup at a cabin with a VST on it and the caption "Important to test the first brew so that the easter holiday is not ruined by bad over- or under extracted coffee".

 

If Tim thinks it's useful, it should be useful to me too. I was already convinced by Mark, but that post made me want to order one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't use the software myself, I can give you the formulas that will replicate what the software does if you like. I use google sheets with the formulas built in to calculate EY.

 

Most important is that you need measure output weight. The way I do this is by weighing the output, and then subtracting the fixed server mass. It might be easier if you have two scales. I have another kitchen scale but it's pretty crap and turns off automatically after 2 mins so it's unusable for brewing coffee.

 

Plastic pipettes are fine and easily reused as long as you rinse them between brews. They do split once in a while though, depending on how often you use them, a pack of 20 or so should last a long while. A syringe will also be fine and probably can just be reused indefinitely but maybe little more inconvenient. You can also just use a teaspoon, but it can get fiddly.

 

Just wiping with soft tissue seems fine, you can clean with some alcohol once in a while if you like, I didn't find it to make any difference but the plastic cover can get some stains. The crystal is made of sapphire or similar so won't scratch. I do recommend the soft case though.

 

See also this thread: https://coffeeforums.co.uk/showthread.php?28255-Measuring-coffee-with-a-refractometer-for-beginners , I posted the protocol I use there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use the lint free Kimwipes, can be tricky to find at a reasonable price/qty, but these guys sell by the box (lasts months)

https://mcldatasolutions.co.uk/catalogsearch/result/?q=kimwipes


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the link the_partisan, I'll give that a read. I'd love to see the formulas if you want to share them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am thinking about getting a VST, to use for espresso. The syringe filters seems expensive (£160 for 100 pack on Hasbean). Can I use any cheaper alternatives? How long does  a single filter last, do I need to replace it after every measurement?


Gaggia '06 Baby Class (Dimmer / pressure gauge, MrShades PID, IMS shower / brass holder), 18g VST + LevTamp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They're single use filters.

100 should last you a year at least. You might go through a few dialling in/calibrating at first, but then you only really need to use them if the wheels come off (& after sanity checking the coffee isn't just not to your liking).


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, AndyZap said:

 How long does  a single filter last, do I need to replace it after every measurement?

Ideally, you should use a fresh syringe filter for each new espresso in order to assured readings are really accurate. However, recall reading you can re-use a syringe until it becomes blocked - allowing two or three readings from each one. 

@MWJB thoughts??

  • Thanks 1

Londinium-R - EKS43 running SSP Silver Knight burrs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some people use small circles cut out from brewed filters, folded like a Chemex filter, to filter espresso. It takes longer of course as there's nothing forcing the fluid through the filter but it produces a few drops eventually. No idea how that compares to syringe filters though in terms of accurate readings.

T.

  • Thanks 1

Espresso: Londinium L1, ZR-71 grinder

Photography: Flickr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, The Systemic Kid said:

 

@MWJB thoughts??

I don't know, maybe in a café where you might be burning through them at a rate, you might figure this good enough? VST say they are good for one shot.

Flushing & checking they don't affect readings when re-used sounds like it will take more than £1.60/filter of my time :-)

  • Thanks 1

“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, dsc said:

Some people use small circles cut out from brewed filters, folded like a Chemex filter, to filter espresso. It takes longer of course as there's nothing forcing the fluid through the filter but it produces a few drops eventually. No idea how that compares to syringe filters though in terms of accurate readings.

T.

Guessing is even cheaper than filter paper ;-)

  • Like 1

“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mitch (CwD) at HB has successfully used a centrifuge instead of filters.


Strietman CT1, DE1PRO, EG-1 v2, HG-1, Kinu M47, Baratza Vario brew, Lido E, RB 58.5, Reneka Micro Sieve, VST

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One could also try out an aeropress? Another option would be to 3d print a small paper filter holder for a syringe, but one that can be opened for filter change out.

T.


Espresso: Londinium L1, ZR-71 grinder

Photography: Flickr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, dsc said:

One could also try out an aeropress? Another option would be to 3d print a small paper filter holder for a syringe, but one that can be opened for filter change out.

T.

Aeropress brews need syringe filtering anyway, the paper lets a lot through (I seem to recall @Andys tested this out), plus the brewer actually has visible gaps that solids can pass through, you can see the silt in brews.


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your buying a precision instrument it's seems counter intuitive to use one in such an imprecise way .

  • Like 1

I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

Instagram - rjw_inc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Mrboots2u said:

Your buying a precision instrument it's seems counter intuitive to use one in such an imprecise way .

I filter mine through a worn sock

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For sure do a comparison to the original, but it's not like there's some rocket science behind the syringe filters, it's some filtering material held between two bits of plastic.

T.

  • Like 1

Espresso: Londinium L1, ZR-71 grinder

Photography: Flickr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I seem to recall on one of the Oz coffee sites (could have also been socratic coffee? ) that someone was selling some 3rd party filters manufactured to same spec, whether this makes sense postage wise half way round the world plus inevitable taxes...

John


Roasters: BB Dalian Amazon 1kg -Power contolled GeneCafe 101- 113Kg of greens - Tonino

Espresso: Londinium L2 - Gaggia G105 - Silvia v3 Mr.Shades PID'-d - Faema E92a2 (Project) - MyPressi Twist - VST baskets / Motta Europa (350/500/750ml) - Torr Ti 58.55 & Goldfinger flat 58.4 TiBlack, Pullman 51.4 - Acaia x2

Grinders: Flats: Compak R120 - NS Mythos plus Conics: Compak K10PB - Lido 3

Brewed: Behmor Brazen - Moccamaster KBGT471 - Aeropress - V60 - Cona model D - Clever - Mizudashi - 8-10 + 6 cup Chemex

Water: BWT Bestmax V Refrac: VST III

and a Puq Press not in a pear tree..

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • About:

    Coffee Forums UK is the UK's premier coffee forum Started in June 2008 by Glenn Watson, we now have more than 22000 mainly UK based members, and welcome more than 3000 members and visitors from around the world each day! With strategic investment and digital expertise from the Jackson Lockhart team (Tait Pollack and Adam Bateman), we are taking Coffee Forums UK to the next level, and are delighted to share the journey with you.

    New Members:

    We are often referred to as the friendliest forum on the web and we look forward to welcoming you onboard.

    Terms of Use

    Advertising

    Coffee Forums Media Kit

    Buy Advertising Space

    Donate

    Get Your Supporter Badge (per year)

×
×
  • Create New...