HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Vac Pot Saga (21 msgs / 689 lines)
1) From: Jerry Procopio
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
For several years I have been using a Black & Decker Spacemaker under 
the cupboard coffeemaker as my primary method of preparing brewed 
coffee.  It's not press pot (that so many say is so great), vac pot or 
Chemex, but it produces water at 190 to 195 and has been acceptable 
through the years.  It's still the only coffee pot that Mickie will mess 
with if I am not around to make coffee for her.  After falling into this 
addictive coffee hobby in Dec. 2003, I pulled my 1975 vintage Chemex out 
of the attic and started using it again.  Mind you, I was using an old 
Kitchenaid burr grinder (also from around 1975).  Well, it's hard not to 
get a good brew with a Chemex.  I also resurrected my press pot from 
which I had never gotten a decent cup of coffee.  I found the cloudy 
mess unacceptable and the press pot went back into the attic.  Somewhere 
along the line there was a thread here about vacuum pot brewing, so, 
since this new life is just a coffee adventure anyway, I bid on one on 
ebay.  No, actually I won four bids over about a month - raising the 
eyebrow of She Who Must Be Obeyed each time Brown arrived.  I tried each 
of these out and although I wasn't getting any stalls, the coffee 
actually tasted nasty.  It didn't matter if it was in the Cona, Cory, or 
Silex.  Glass rod or cloth filter didn't seem to make any difference 
either.  Oh well, Chemex still gave me a nice brew.
Enter Rocky.  About six months ago I got a used Rocky from one of our 
fellow list members.  Excitement!  I was finally getting decent shots 
from my $Bucks Barista.  But wait - I can't seem to get the grind quite 
right for the Chemex.  One pot would drip through in 4 minutes, the next 
day it would take 6 - 7 minutes.  Break out the Cory.  Crap!  I finally 
discovered first hand what you guys have been talking about when you 
discussed stalls.  It didn't matter how coarse I ground, if I used the 
glass rod, I got a stall.  I replaced seals and still got stalls.  The 
only way I didn't get a stall was with the ceramic disk/cloth filter 
that came with one of the vac pots.  And I can't say that the cup 
quality was great even then.  So screw this - vac pots went under the 
counter.
Enter Mazzer Major.  Also used and in need of new teeth that I will 
replace next month.  Also enter Isomac Venus (almost simultaneously).  
Jeez, I found out that I had never had a good espresso before.  My life 
for the last month has been "espresso madness".  (another story)  This 
morning I decided, what the heck, let's try letting Major grind for the 
vac pot.  I had no idea what setting I needed, since I've still been 
using Rocky for my brew grinds.  I just picked a spot about +10 notches 
coarser than my last espresso grind.  Four scoops of 3-day rested CRLM.  
Heated the water in a stainless pot to almost boiling, poured into the 
bottom of the Cory DRL, inserted the top and made sure I had a good 
seal, inserted the glass Cory rod and the ground coffee.  Watch & wait.  
When the water went north, I turned the flame down to low, gave the pot 
a stir with a spoon (I could see that some grounds were dry) and timed 
it for 1 1/2 minutes while it still "gurgled" gently.  Then I removed it 
from the stove and watched the coffee go south.  The flow south was a 
little quicker than I had desired - 1 1/2 minutes exactly while I was 
shooting for 2 1/2 minutes.  But no stall.  No layer of wet "powder" on 
top of the grounds.  Hmmmm.  This is a first.  Wow! This is a great cup 
of coffee.  This is the first ever brewed cup that I felt was better 
than from my Chemex. 
This afternoon I'm gonna try the same grind in the press pot.  Maybe 
I'll get my first ever acceptable brew there too.  For now I've got a 
date with Mickie to go to the Virginia Beach Home & Garden show.  I'll 
report back after the press pot experiment later today.
ciao,
Jerry

2) From: Jerry Procopio
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
I sent the original e-mail over 7 hours ago.  I've seen other e-mail 
show up on the list, but mine hasn't - or not in my mailbox anyway.  
This technical stuff boggles my peaberry brain.
We got home from the Home & Garden show and I tried a press pot brew.  
This is the first ever really good press pot brew that I have made.  I 
liked the vac pot brew this morning better, but Mickie disagrees and 
claims the press pot is better.  Both were very nice.  Trees are in 
bloom and my head has gotten "pollinated" so maybe it's affecting my 
taster.  Gotta love springtime in Virginia.
Jerry
Jerry Procopio wrote:
<Snip>

3) From: Jerry Procopio
I originally sent this at 1:39pm from my normal e-mail account.  It
shows up in my "sent" mail and I got a Bcc: copy back to myself, but
it still has not shown up on the list (10 hours later).
If it showed up on yours, I apologize for the double post.
Jerry
*******
For several years I have been using a Black & Decker Spacemaker under
the cupboard coffeemaker as my primary method of preparing brewed
coffee.  It's not press pot (that so many say is so great), vac pot or
Chemex, but it produces water at 190 to 195 and has been acceptable
through the years.  It's still the only coffee pot that Mickie will
mess with if I am not around to make coffee for her.  After falling
into this addictive coffee hobby in Dec. 2003, I pulled my 1975
vintage Chemex out of the attic and started using it again.  Mind you,
I was using an old Kitchenaid burr grinder (also from around 1975). 
Well, it's hard not to get a good brew with a Chemex.  I also
resurrected my press pot from which I had never gotten a decent cup of
coffee.  I found the cloudy mess unacceptable and the press pot went
back into the attic.  Somewhere along the line there was a thread here
about vacuum pot brewing, so, since this new life is just a coffee
adventure anyway, I bid on one on ebay.  No, actually I won four bids
over about a month - raising the eyebrow of She Who Must Be Obeyed
each time Brown arrived.  I tried each of these out and although I
wasn't getting any stalls, the coffee actually tasted nasty.  It
didn't matter if it was in the Cona, Cory, or Silex.  Glass rod or
cloth filter didn't seem to make any difference either.  Oh well,
Chemex still gave me a nice brew.
Enter Rocky.  About six months ago I got a used Rocky from one of our
fellow list members.  Excitement!  I was finally getting decent shots
from my $Bucks Barista.  But wait - I can't seem to get the grind
quite right for the Chemex.  One pot would drip through in 4 minutes,
the next day it would take 6 - 7 minutes.  Break out the Cory.  Crap! 
I finally discovered first hand what you guys have been talking about
when you discussed stalls.  It didn't matter how coarse I ground, if I
used the glass rod, I got a stall.  I replaced seals and still got
stalls.  The only way I didn't get a stall was with the ceramic
disk/cloth filter that came with one of the vac pots.  And I can't say
that the cup quality was great even then.  So screw this - vac pots
went under the counter.
Enter Mazzer Major.  Also used and in need of new teeth that I will
replace next month.  Also enter Isomac Venus (almost simultaneously). 
Jeez, I found out that I had never had a good espresso before.  My
life for the last month has been "espresso madness".  (another story) 
This morning I decided, what the heck, let's try letting Major grind
for the vac pot.  I had no idea what setting I needed, since I've
still been using Rocky for my brew grinds.  I just picked a spot about
+10 notches coarser than my last espresso grind.  Four scoops of 3-day
rested CRLM.  Heated the water in a stainless pot to almost boiling,
poured into the bottom of the Cory DRL, inserted the top and made sure
I had a good seal, inserted the glass Cory rod and the ground coffee. 
Watch & wait.  When the water went north, I turned the flame down to
low, gave the pot a stir with a spoon (I could see that some grounds
were dry) and timed it for 1 1/2 minutes while it still "gurgled"
gently.  Then I removed it from the stove and watched the coffee go
south.  The flow south was a little quicker than I had desired - 1 1/2
minutes exactly while I was shooting for 2 1/2 minutes.  But no stall.
 No layer of wet "powder" on top of the grounds.  Hmmmm.  This is a
first.  Wow! This is a great cup of coffee.  This is the first ever
brewed cup that I felt was better than from my Chemex.
This afternoon I'm gonna try the same grind in the press pot.  Maybe
I'll get my first ever acceptable brew there too.  For now I've got a
date with Mickie to go to the Virginia Beach Home & Garden show.  I'll
report back after the press pot experiment later today.
ciao,
Jerry

4) From: Gary Townsend
 Jerry Procopio  wrote: {Snipped}
 I had no idea what setting I needed, since I've
<Snip>
  Jerry,
Seems were on the same boat! Great story, your experiences are probably 
similar to a lot of other folks, as well. I got bit by the eBay bug, for 
vacpots too! I have 3 of them, but the one I bought off of eBay was $20. fo=
r 
a brand new Yama 5 cupper, complete with the cloth filter. Wow, what a 
difference in pull! The older seals in my antique vacpots work, but they ar=
e 
a little stiff. So they leak a little. The newer vacpot has a STRONG pull.=
 
And using a 120 sec brew time combined with a 120 sec pull time, the result=
 
is a fantastic cup of coffee. It's my favorite method of brewing coffee. I=
 
don't mind the clean up at all. Everything that I've tried so far just 
tastes better! I use a Bodum FP at work, and I realized how much better my=
 
homeroast tastes, when you get the process just right. Poorly made coffee i=
s 
probably why the rest of the 'masses', see coffee & espresso as bitter and=
 
'nasty'. But, thanks to the nice folks on this list, I've been enlightened,=
 
and feel obligated to sharing a (really) good cuppa joe with my friends. I=
 
also get amused by the looks on their faces when they ask me what flavoring=
s 
I added to get that 'chocolate' taste. Then, I show them how. 
  
"Not all things that are countable, count, and not all things that count,
<Snip>

5) From: Les
Jerry,
It sounds like the burrs need changing on your Rocky.  The Rocky
should make great coffee no matter which brew method.
Les
On Apr 3, 2005 6:12 PM, Jerry Procopio  wrote:
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6) From: Maryann & Dave Schellenberg
Les (and other Rocky users), what do you make of the description in 
SweetMarias of the Rocky:
(I wouldn't say that the coarse grind is its strong point though. It's 
passable as a French Press grind but really the Rocky excels in the 
medium to fine to ultra-fine grinds; filter-drip, vacuum pot, espresso, 
and Turkish).
Dave S.
Les wrote:
<Snip>

7) From: Jerry Procopio
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Les,
I agree, Rocky could use new burrs, but that is not the main problem 
causing the dust.  I have discovered that when the Rocky is set for any 
kind of drip or press pot grind, there is a little "play" in the burr 
assembly.  I can't really feel the wobble, but I can hear it, especially 
as the motor slows down.  It is almost like something is off center, or 
not flush - hitting on one side.  But when I tighten the grind down for 
an espresso grind, this "looseness" goes away.  I think it is a problem 
in the aluminum alloy threads in the base of the burr assembly.  I have 
wrapped the brass threads of the upper burr assembly with teflon tape 
proir to reassembling after cleaning and that helps a little, but it 
doesn't eliminate the problem.  It's not a big issue now that I have the 
Major, but I had planned to sell Rocky and can't with a clear consious 
dump the machine off on someone else who will have to deal with the same 
problem for drip/press grinds.  It works great for espresso, but is 
about to get a vacation into the attic to make space on my coffee bar.
Jerry
Les wrote:
<Snip>

8) From: Jerry Procopio
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Gary,
I used the Cory this morning to brew some Indian Pearl Mountain Peaberry 
which had been roasted barely to FC+.  What a nice cup.  This is the 
bean that originally won Mickie over to my homeroasting mania.  I still 
need to get the grind dialed in properly, it worked a little quickly 
again today - 1.5 minute brew after all the water was north, but again, 
it only took 1.5 minutes for 6 cups to go south.  I was hoping for 
something between 2 and 2.5 minutes going south.  Maybe when I finally 
get it slowed down I'll find that the 1.5 min trip south is better, 
because I can't imagine a brewed cup tasting better than this does. 
Do you brew decaf and if so, do you notice any difference in brew times 
in the vac pot?
Jerry
Gary Townsend wrote:
<Snip>

9) From: Barry Luterman
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
For only 6 cups 1.5 is great you are there. 2 to2.5 for 8 cups

10) From: R.N.Kyle
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
nice story Jerry, I finally found a man near as crazy as me:O) 
RK

11) From: miKe mcKoffee
Les actually uses a Mazzer (Major). I use a Rocky for press pot but can't 
really say if it's worse sludge wise than a Mazzer, never done a head to 
head. Rocky definitely did better than a yr old Maestro, that I have 
compared. That said, I also grind finer than typical as Tom also mentioned 
he does and use corresponding shorter infusion than usual mfg recommend 
4min. Plus I have the finer mesh Swiss Gold plungers. (which are 
unfortunately discontinued) Personally I have no qualms recommending Rocky 
for all brewing methods.
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer etc.http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmFrom: "Maryann & Dave Schellenberg" 
Sent: Monday, April 04, 2005 11:08 AM
<Snip>

12) From: Les
You are right Mike, I don't own a Rocky but I have used one about
20-30 times for various brew methods.  Dr. Crema does get around.  I
have no reservations about the Rocky.  It grinds just as good as a
Mazzer.  It has slightly smaller burrs than a Mini, but they are of
the same high quality.  Replacement recommendations I have found from
the experts say at about 200 pounds on the Rocky.  I do like the
infinite adjustment of the Mazzer.  However, the carrier on the Rocky
in my opinion is better than the aluminium carrier in the Mazzer Mini.
 The Rocky is a little harder to keep squeaky clean than the Mazzer. 
However when it comes to grind, they are both really great machines in
my opinion.  That said, it is hard to beat the Power of the Major!
Les
On Apr 4, 2005 6:37 PM, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
<Snip>

13) From: Gary Townsend
 Jerry Procopio  wrote: 
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ute brew after all the water was north, but again, it only took 
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n 
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 I don't do decaf, so I really can't comment on that! 
The brew time, while it's still up North is the variable that you can easil=
y 
adjust. As long as your 1.5 min trip South remains at that rate, you can tr=
y 
adjusting the North time by increasing it 30 seconds. So instead of 1.5 min=
, 
go for 2 min on your next batch. If your grind remains the same, then it 
should still pull South in 1.5 min. Your total extraction time is then
3.5minutes.
You can adjust the southern pull by grinding a little finer. On my Rocky, I=
 
use a bracketing figure of + or - 10 to get me in the right ballpark. Then=
 
halve it to + or - 5 , until I dial in the right grind. 
I think that a Southern Pull of 1.5 minutes is right on the money. Mine 
takes 2 minutes. I like a 2 min north time, with my 2 min down time, for an=
 
extraction of 4 minutes. ( I like strong coffee, not bitter)
There are so many variables to play around with, that will affect the final=
 
taste. 
I wish I had my vacpot in my office, but it would get broken, so that's not=
 
likely to happen ! 
Gary

14) From: miKe mcKoffee
From: "Gary Townsend" 
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 8:57 AM
<Snip>
likely to happen !
Gary
Well, Bodum does make 25 & 50oz electric Santos vac pots that are made of 
highly break resisitant polycarbonate.
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer etc.http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htm

15) From: Gary Townsend
 miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
<Snip>
Yeah, I was out-bid on 4 of them a couple of weeks ago on eBay....
So, I just make - do with my Bodum Melior FP, that I picked up at the
local Goodwill for $1.49 !
I did score a complete Silex 8 cupper ( 1940's era ) from a Salvation
Army for a mere .85 cents, but after a clean bath, and a couple of
test batches, I decided that it looked really nice on my stereo
cabinet !

16) From: Rich Adams

17) From: Gary Townsend
 Rich Adams  wrote:
 
<Snip>
Rich, 
it's OK by me! You know how some folks play the lottery. That's how
I've been eBaying it lately! I bid the minimum, and roll the dice! Out
of say 20 bids, I might get 1 !  But I really did consider the plastic
Santos. Good advice, thanks for sharing..I wonder if I bid on 'your'
little Santos???
There's just something cool about vac-pots, I can't quite put my
finger on it...but It's my favorite method of brewing a cuppa great
joe, when I have the time !
-- 
"Not all things that are countable, count, and not all things that count,
are countable". Albert Einstien

18) From: miKe mcKoffee
Thanks for the heads up Rick. I had my 25oz replaced early last year because 
it had developed a small leak, only noticed when filling the water the night 
before. If you picked up the filled carafe a bit of water would be on the 
base. I inspected the 14 month old replacement, sure enough a hairline crack 
running about 1/3 around the handle side tracking the heater plate. Not 
leaking (yet) but a crack is there. Just called Bodum and they're sending 
another replacement. Unfortunately they now only make the mini in clear. 
(have anthracite, a grey-blue that matched our kitchen counter nicely)
I suspect the problem with the smaller size is the heater plate is much 
closer to the polycarbonate wall than on the 50oz model. Maybe, hopefully, 
they've reformulated the clear polycarbonate to withstand the heat better. 
Guess I'll know in in year or so! We still have our original 50oz but got 
the smaller 25oz after getting Miss Silvia to save counter space since the 
eVac is primarily used weekdays for first convenience first pot of the 
morning brewing only 2 12oz cups. Made sense at the time, rather than 
brewing 1/2 50oz pot save space and brew with full 25oz pot.
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer etc.http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htm

19) From: Rich Adams

20) From: Jerry Procopio
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Ron,
One nut to another, I'll take that as a compliment.
Jerry
R.N.Kyle wrote:
<Snip>

21) From: Larry Dorman
Jerry,
I'm sure Rocky will have lots of friends in your attic, but that's not
really a vaction.  Do you think Rocky would like to vacation in
Missouri instead?  ;)  I could have it help me around the house...
it's gotta be better than what I have right now.
LarryD
On 4/4/05, Jerry Procopio  wrote:
<Snip>


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