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Topic: Drip cone design blues (16 msgs / 433 lines)
1) From: Scott Marquardt
I picked up one of the thermos bottle drip cones a while back, and I'm a bi=
aghast at the design.
The heavy porcelain Melitta 103 cone I picked up some time ago at a thrift
store is, apparently, a rare find. It's design is tremendous -- three large
holes in the bottom and vertical fluting inside that makes filters really
What's up with all these smoothbore designs with the merest token fluting?
If I wanted all my brew to pass through the bottom inch of the filter cone =
. .
Am I alone in finding this bizarre?

2) From: Derek Bradford
On 1/27/06, Scott Marquardt  wrote:
I have one of these things, too.  A nice government green colour.  A couple
potters have told me not to use it for daily use--the glazes that were used
on the old Melittas had high lead content that can leech into your coffee.
Newer glazes don't have this problem (food safe pottery at least), but ones
made before the early 70s should be used with caution.
Were you lucky enough to find the caraffe that goes with it?  They have
brilliant drip-free spouts.  It's really sad that we still haven't figured
out how to consistently make a proper, drip-free spout.  I'm so excited whe=
I find a good one.
The Uglyroast 2 Coffee Roaster.  ...Now 40% less ugly!http://uglyroast.atspace.com

3) From: Douglas Strait
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Interesting observation. I just went and looked at the two different #6 =
size Melitta cones that I have. One is the thermos style from SM that =
you correctly observe has minimalist fluting just at the bottom.  My =
other is also a brown plastic one but has prominate fluting entending =
upwards about 2/3 of the cone height but with a single hole. I doubt =
that one vs three holes is of any consequence. Like you, I do wonder =
about the minimalist fluting on the thermos model. Intuitively the =
extended fluting of the older models makes more sense. Perhaps the =
change was a well reasoned design decision and we just don't perceive =
what that reason is. If you have a lot of time to kill, perhaps a call =
to customer service ....
FWIW, I once designed and built a folding filter cone holder for =
backpacking/travel. I included flutes in my design simply because I was =
following the practice of the older style plastic cone. 

4) From: Douglas Strait
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Scott, I just ran a quick experiment on the two cones I have. There may =
be a justifiable basis to quibble with the design of my experiment since =
no actual coffee was harmed in its execution. 
Just to make sure we are talking about the same new cone. I will =
describe mine. My thermos mouth cone has fluting extending 2" up the =
interior sides. It takes 6 oz of water to fill to the level of the top =
of the fluting. My older cone has fluting extending up about 3 3/4". 
My experiment consisted of measuring the transist time of 16 oz of cold =
water dumped into the filter all at once. Filters were white, #4 =
"BrewRite" [cheap store brand]. End of timing defined as when the =
exiting water transistions from a steady stream to a defined drip-drip. =
The remaining depth of water at which this occured was about 1/2" for =
the new thermos cone and about 1/4" for the older style cone. 
New Thermos cone 3:36 
Older style 1:04 
Perhaps the new style was attempting to address excessively fast =
extraction time of the old style. Granted, one would expect longer =
extraction times were actual coffee involved plugging the filter pores. 
I found myself wondering if other folks pouring styles are similar to my =
own. My style is on pours subsequent to the first one I tend to pour in =
such a fashion as to wash the grounds down towards the bottom of the =
cone. As a result, for my style of pouring most of the grounds would =
reside in the portion of the newer style cone where there is fluting. 

5) From: Scott Marquardt
My pour style is like yours. However, my concern isn't necessarily to
get the water through the grind. My assumption is that most of the
water in the cone has already absorbed a lot of solutes, and is ready
to pass through the filter -- so I indeed WANT it to pass through the
upper part of the filter. These non-fluted designs -- or heck, I'd say
*marginally* fluted (lame little token ridges in the plastic,
apparently less the product of an engineer's mind than from someone
apparently thinking "they're supposed to look like that . . . aren't
they?") -- seem to find it mysteriously important to have all the
water pass through coffee that's assumed to be in the bottom of the
cone -- and we all know that's not where your grind is for a while
There's a lot of ways to do this, but what I generally shoot for is to
get a lot of solutes on the first pour, more on the next, and still
more on the next. I do NOT understand that this needs to happen as a
consequence of the water flowing through grounds which are not,
generally, sedimenting on the bottom. That first pour, especially,
interacts with coffee that's all over the place in the water -- from
top to bottom. There's a lot of extraction going on there -- and, I'd
beg to say, in the second pour as well (or 1.5'th pour, if like me you
don't wait until things are empty to pour again).
I'm yammerin' now, doggonit, trying to explain what's obvious to me --
that I want the brew to leave the top of the filter as much as I want
it to leave the bottom. For one thing, it gives me a LOT of control
over the last minute or so of extraction. If I want that "last third,"
by golly, I can focus on that. If I don't, then it's a no-brainer
because everything from the first two-thirds of the brew cycle has
flowed out through the top anyway.
I just don't like the inference by the manufacturer that I won't need
the extra control that higher fluting gives. It's as if they're
assuming that the only way I'd possibly be interested in doing this is
to have every ounce of water pass through grind that's not at the
bottom of the filter for the first minute and a half ANYWAY, and after
that isn't necessarily what I want to do anyway.
- Scott
On 1/27/06, Douglas Strait  wrote:
e a
e .

6) From: Scott Marquardt
Think of it this way -- if you end up with a full filter of water and
you're near the end of extraction time -- why should you wait for it
to pass through all the grind on the bottom of the filter and get
over-extracted, when you could be content to let it pass out through
the sides as well? I'f I'm being really picky about my extraction, why
should I dump all that good coffee merely because I can't get it out
of the filter fast enough, and want to avoid having it extract for an
extra minute or more?
On 1/27/06, Scott Marquardt  wrote:

7) From: Douglas Strait
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
In case anyone did not take my comment about calling Mellita customer =
service as tongue-in-creek as intended, the thermos style cone under =
discussion is not likely an actual Melitta product. It is certainly not =
marked as such. 

8) From: Douglas Strait

9) From: Scott Marquardt
Yes! Got 'em. A good write-up. Didn't have time, yet, to peruse and
reply. It'll be another week before I get time to sit down and "OK,
now, can I get this done in the next week or so?"
I believe that if I had a slew of the Wear-Ever units, I would
implement your mod on 'em all and keep 'em to give to folks who're
where I was last summer -- just starting out.
BTW, I had an amusing exchange with a manufacturer of thermal sensors
designed to go through the human digestive system. My contact had a
conversation with her engineers, and they figured that the
specifications for a small thermal sensor to record or transmit roast
temperatures (while tumbling around with the beans) would not make for
a tenable design effort just now.   ;-)
Big surprise.   ;-D
- Scott
On 1/27/06, Douglas Strait  wrote:

10) From: Douglas Strait
A bit of an old topic now but I have to eat my words on something that 
I said earlier in this thread. Earlier I said that one vs multiple 
holes was not likely of consequence.
Ever since Scott's [likely over caffienated] tirade about the design 
of the SM Thermos Filtercone holder I have been observant of its 
performance. While not as concerned as Scott about the extent of the 
ridging, I have found a source of inconsistancy in it's performance. I 
normally use it with a "Brew-rite" brand welded seam #4 filter to brew 
a single cup [for me a cup = 15oz travel mug]. I noticed that 
extraction times were extremely variable. What was happening is that 
in some instances the folded over welded stem was blocking the single 
drain hole which lengthened the drain time. The fix was to drill an 
array of three extra 1/8" holes around the original hole. This insures 
consistancy of extraction time. All is well.

11) From: raymanowen
My trick was to place the paper cone with seams folded over in a #4 Gold
mesh filter.
With the paper, some extra body was gone. To get my money's worth, I
dispensed with the paper filters totally. I set The Grinder coarser from 30
to 52- like a press setting.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
On 7/24/06, Douglas Strait  wrote:
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex-NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976

12) From: Scott Marquardt
Well, at the expense of sounding like a nut again/still, I have to say it:
Some may recall my amazement that I picked up two pristine 2 gallon Fetco
Luxus containers for $32 each on e-bay. Well that's all fine and well, but
how the heck to brew into them? Start with a Mellita 103, and sew up a 5
micron polyester filter to #6 dimensions. Then, wish you'd left a couple
more inches on top. Then, be glad your drinkers are all old folks who prefer
weaker brew. Finally, heat two 1.7 liter boilers full of water, and do two
batches of French grind through the cone with a full 5 oz. of grind each
time. Add more water to the dilution these folks like, and serve it up.
Let's put it this way; just last week I started roasting a decaf for the
farmer's market that is blowing me away. I usually hate decaf. This one is
an awesome Costa Rican Swiss Water, and I love it. Wow. And  brewed in the
above way, it was perfect. Almost two gallons (not THAT diluted! ;-) of
perfect coffee.
Polyester, I tell you.
Actually, I've nailed the fundamental design feature for a filter basket
that will not require shaped and sewn polyester -- a mere cutout from a
sheet of the stuff will do. It will be a cone, though. And it will be big
enough to do a 2 gallon Luxus in one pour. That'll save me buying a $2200
machine for the church -- though if I could find one on e-bay for
proportionately what I got the Luxus units for, it'd cost me only $220 and
I'd certainly snap it up.   :-)
Oh, mark this: a polyester filter has amazing throughput. It moves your
extraction through very quickly, resulting in immersion brewing with
always-fresh water in contact with the grind, which increases extraction
efficiency and speeds extraction. Folks, call me an iconoclast but the
notion that a cone should restrict flow in order to provide better
extraction, is simply wrong. Yes, this from the guy who appreciates the
Aeropress despite it's total immersion with NO flow. Different beasts
entirely, for entirely different uses.
It's impossible to describe the joy that comes from discovering how these
things actually SHOULD work.   ;-)
- Scott "still too much caffeine" Marquardt
On 7/24/06, raymanowen  wrote:

13) From: raymanowen
Back to the catalog- or a local fabric outlet.
BTW- does "...impossible to describe the joy that comes from discovering how
these things actually SHOULD work." mean you never did?
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
"A camel makes an elephant feel like a jet plane." - -Jackie Kennedy

14) From: Scott Marquardt
I'm afraid I'm becoming hopelessly dogmatic.    ;-)
I'll offer some samples of the stuff when I get a lot in. A punch is going
to cost me $50 or so.
On 7/25/06, raymanowen  wrote:

15) From: raymanowen
Why would you need a punch? A High School metal shop could make a student
project to punch for you, or have other ideas. Jr. college? -ro

16) From: Scott Marquardt
Yah, they could. But that would involve more than $50 worth of my time
negotiating that and waiting for it.  ;-)
Once I have a punch in-house, I have my own domestic pool of child labor to
draw upon . . .
On 7/25/06, raymanowen  wrote:

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