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Topic: vac pot grind note (was Re: +SwissGold KF-4 (5 msgs / 157 lines)
1) From: Edward Spiegel
At 3:50 PM -0500 8/12/05, Maryann & Dave Schellenberg wrote:
I am pretty doubtful that there is any roast method that won't yield coffee suitable for a vac pot. I use air roasted coffee in a vac pot all the time with no trouble.
When you experimented with grind level, did you ever start fine (i.e. at espresso grind) and work your way coarser? In my experience, you find the right grind quicker that way than starting way too coarse.
What kind of grinder are you using?
I have used a Cory Rod (bought for a couple of dollars on ebay)in my bodum manual vac pot since shortly after I got the vac pot and the only stalled brew that I had was while dialing in the right grind. Someone on the list advised me to start my tests at espresso grind and work may way coarser. The only stall I had was at that first grind. Working my way coarser I quickly found the right coarsensess (pretty close to what I use for drip). Also, I have found (thanks to the members of this list) that at the right coarseness, the coffee will be sucked into the bottom within about 30 to 45 seconds of the time that the pot is removed from the heat.

2) From: Maryann & Dave Schellenberg
I find your faith in the vac pot encouraging. No, I guess I never did 
start at espresso grind and work my way up. I'm using a Capresso 
Infinity, (and before the chorus starts, upgrading to a Rocky is out of 
the question). I'll have another go at grind size.
I'm also using a Cory Rod. I have had pots that drained quickly, and 
loved that sucking sound as it finished. The only variable that I can 
identify with varying results, is different beans, and slightly 
different roast levels. I never roast to Vienna (no visible oil) but 
usually stop just before second crack.
Dave S.
Edward Spiegel wrote:

3) From: Edward Spiegel
At 5:26 PM -0500 8/12/05, Maryann & Dave Schellenberg wrote:
That is pretty much how I roast (my prefs tend to run to roasts that are stop  at the first outliers of second and sometimes 20 or 30 seconds into rolling second -- which usually yields a light vienna on my set up -- sometimes there is a light oil sheen sometimes not). It may be that the Capresso doesn't grind evenly enough, but before we go there, it would be worth starting fine and working your way coarser (you might want to purchase some cheapo grocery store beans to experiment on  -- I haven't found the vac pot to be sensitive the way that espresso brewing is where the grind has to vary from day to day with the same beans).
Keep us posted.

4) From: Rick Copple
Maryann & Dave Schellenberg wrote:
Hey Dave,
I was the one that mentioned my wok roast didn't stall in my vac pot. I 
agree with another poster, it seems perhaps some cory rods just rest 
differently and are more prone to stalling than others. When I first 
obtained my vac pot back around Christmas, I had a lot of problems with 
stalls. Essentially, I couldn't get a drain time under 17-20 minutes and 
sometimes it just didn't drain at all.
I tried various grind sizes and did this and that based on suggestions I 
received from the list, but nothing seemed to help. Finally, it seems a 
combination of things helped to get where I was at least having decent 
drop times a good percent of the time, but gave up trying to get them 
most of the time. At some point, I'll get some more cory rods off ebay 
and see if that will help.
What I did do was the following:
1. I examined my Cory rod and noticed a seam that seemed a bit higher 
than it should be. My hunch was that it was raising the rod too high, 
and allowing more finer particles into the cracks of the glass rod and 
so clogging it up. So I took a file and worked on filing the seam down 
to a smoother and lower level. That seemed to help.
2. I worked on my grind more. I was and am using a Zass, and I tried 
various settings at 1/4 turns from drip level to press pot grind, based 
on what I had read were the usual settings for that on a Zass. Later, I 
went back and did some finer settings, going 1/8 turn at a time. That 
time, I finally got my total from water coming up till the last bit went 
down to under 10 minutes. Ironically, though many seem to find it works 
best close to drip, for me it seemed to work best just 1/8 turn away 
from press pot grind. I have no idea why, I just know on mine it does. 
So I would suggest when you go to experimenting with the grind, also 
make sure you do some fine adjustments, as the perfect grind size for 
your grinder and glass rod may be a fairly narrow window and adjusting 
too much can cause you to miss it.
3. And this one probably won't apply to you since you are not using a 
Zass, but the biggest "fix" was in the way I was grinding with the Zass. 
I was grinding by holding it on a counter and turning. I figured out 
that this method didn't offer much in the way of "shock absorber" to the 
top of the bracket that held the burr shaft in place, and caused some 
slight rocking, enough to produce more dust to clog the filer with. When 
I went to holding the Zass between my knees and grinding that way, there 
was a huge difference in how well the vac pot did. That alone was 
probably the biggest factor, getting the total time under 8 minutes on a 
good vac pot brew. What that does tell you is simply that the quality of 
the grind plays a huge part in how well the vac pot with a glass rod 
will avoid stalling. If your grinder simply isn't capable of a certain 
level of consistent grind, it may be that you will have a hard time 
getting a stall-less vac pot brew. Just minor movement in the burrs or 
imprecise construction can create too much dust to avoid stalling.
Now, what I wish they did make was a swiss gold filter for vac pots! Now 
that would be cool! Something like this 2 disk thing I have for vac pots 
(but it seems to stall too) but made out of SG instead.
Oh, and I do have a plastic pour over for a thermos and a swiss gold #4 
filter for it, as well as a SG one cup. I like it fine, and as some have 
said, the amount of coffee and grind size might need to be different to 
achieve the same results as the one cup. However, I hardly ever mess 
with that, I like both as they are and only notice maybe a slight 
difference between the two. However, I also like to use paper filters, 
but stick with the ones Tom sells. I've been using the Filothropia (sp?) 
filters which I like, they don't seem to impart paper flavor to the drip 
brew. They probably do filter out more oil than the SG does. However, 
Tom is out of those now, and so I have the aroma browns on the way, I'll 
see how those do. I guess I like convenience a lot too, and the coffee 
that comes out of it with my Presto is outstanding, no matter what brew 
method I use, so I like them all and switch between this one and that 
based on how I feel at the time. Everyone's taste is a big different I 
suppose, and I'm a variety kind of guy!
Rick Copple
Marble Falls, TX

5) From: Angelo
I have a number of vac pots, stovetop and electric. I have experimented 
with various filter/pot combinations. I find the glass rods to be the most 
finicky and the cloth to be the least. These cloth filters seem to be 
interchangeable, any brand would work.
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