HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Poor man's Clover (23 msgs / 494 lines)
1) From: Randall Nortman
I thought some people here might be interested in a discussion I
started over on the CoffeeGeek forums.  I've been experimenting for
several months with a new coffee brewing method that I've come to like
quite a bit.  It works on the same principle as a Clover (the $10,000
coffee brewing machine that everybody raves about), but it costs about
$50.  If you like Aeropress-style coffee, you will like this.  The
main benefits of my method over the Aeropress are that you can do much
more than just 4 shots at once, and nothing plastic ever touches the
coffee.  I have never actually tried Clover coffee, but I imagine the
results are pretty similar to what I can get, without having to take
out a second mortgage on my house.
Here's the discussion of the method over on CoffeeGeek:http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/335303Here's an eBay auction for a similar type of setup to what I'm using
(not quite the same, but you'll get the idea from the picture):http://tinyurl.com/yv98azFeel free to ask questions, either here or over there, if you're

2) From: Jim Gundlach
      The last thing I need right now is another project.  But I do so  
want to try this.  Folks on this list almost have too many ideas.
         pecan jim
On Dec 10, 2007, at 6:32 PM, Randall Nortman wrote:

3) From: Dave Huddle
Wish I'd seen this about 37 years, 3 months and 11 days ago when I was
in a chemistry lab (in grad school) every day!    Very interesting
idea and _SO_ simple if you have the equipment handy.
Westerville, OH
On 12/10/07, Randall Nortman  wrote:

4) From: True, Dennis W. FC1 (CVN69)
Sounds interesting I have wished for a larger Aero Press myself...
I see on the post that filter materal strengh could be an issue
depending on hole size in the funnel first thing I thought of was what
about polyester for the filter?
Any thoughts?  Seems stronger than paper and some even like the mouth
feel better than paper for the AP...
Just my 2 cents!

5) From: Randall Nortman
On Tue, Dec 11, 2007 at 12:35:58PM -0500, True, Dennis W. FC1 (CVN69) wrote:
If you read the most recent comments in the thread, you'll find that
the mid-priced funnels have small enough holes that filter breakage
isn't a problem.  Unless you get the really awful funnel I got at
first, which is really cheaply made and has huge holes, you'll be
fine.  It would appear that the typical $50 setup being sold on eBay
and elsewhere is plenty good enough.
That said, a poly filter would probably allow more oils through (I
haven't tried), as would cloth (which I have tried).  You can also get
glass microfiber filters that I think would do a superb job, though
they're a little expensive.  The challenge with metal is getting a
good seal.  I'm sure it can be done, but I haven't bothered, as I'm
quite happy with paper and don't actually want the oils.  (For health
reasons, not taste.)
For paper, I have found that decent lab filter papers (from Whatman,
made in the UK) do a good job, but so do Melitta coffee filters cut to
the right size.  It's just a little inconvenient to have to cut them
yourself.  Generic lab filter papers do not do as well as Whatman
brand -- they clog and break more easily.  They start to disintegrate
as soon as hot water hits them, whereas the Whatman papers can
actually be rinsed and reused if you're careful.  So can the Melitta
papers.  I need to try cutting out rounds of Chemex filters at some

6) From: Kris McN
Veeeery interesting.  Like Dennis, I've wished for a larger capacity AP
myself.  I may just have to give this a try.  Thanks for the head up!  Keep
us posted if you do try the Chemex filters.
Kris McN

7) From: True, Dennis W. FC1 (CVN69)
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
next thought.....LOL.. you guys are going to love me or hate me for
What about instead of the pump use the Vac sealer alread sitting on your
counter? I got a tube set up wiht mine for mason jars... HMMMM 
Devious minds at work scary thought huh?

8) From: Kris McN
Oh, see!  The genius switch is never off with you, Dennis!  I'm going to
order up one of these sets (I've been calling it the WonderClown 6000 in my
head) and give it a try!
Kris McN

9) From: Randall Nortman
On Tue, Dec 11, 2007 at 03:12:07PM -0800, Kris McN wrote:
WonderClown 6000... has a nice ring to it.  I think it's not quite
good enough, though -- how about the WonderClown 9000?  That's much
Here are some shopping tips:
The flask shouldn't be too big if you're going to use a hand pump,
because you have to pump a lot more to get a vacuum with a bigger
flask.  I use a 500ml flask -- that's about 16floz capacity.  If
you're making concentrated, espresso-strength brews like me, that's
big enough for 10 "shots" (two shots in a normal mug of coffee).
The funnel size also determines capacity.  I usually pour in the
coffee slurry all at once, but if it doesn't all fit, you can of
course pour in a little at a time.  I've tried three sizes of funnel,
and this is how much I can do with the "all at once" method.  Figure
about double these numbers if you pour in a little at a time:
70mm: 2 shots (barely)
90mm: 4 shots (easily)
110mm: 10 shots (barely)
Funnels are sized by filter diameter, but different brands are
different depths, so they hold different amounts.  Mine are all
CoorsTek brand, which is like the Cadillac of lab porcelain (and
priced like it, too).  Other brands have slightly lower capacities, I
For the vacuum pump, I bought mine at a local auto parts store for
about $30.  I think it might be slightly higher quality than the ones
being sold online, but I can't say for sure.  Of course, the vacuum
sealer idea is a great one -- if you have one of those, give it a shot
by all means.

10) From: Kris McN
So I went ahead and bought the WonderClown 9000 set up you linked to on Ebay
(Merry Christmas, me!) - I figure I can always get another funnel at some
point if I want/need different capacity, but this would be a good starter to
play around with.  You mentioned filter paper quality, do you happen to know
if the filters included in that set are of sufficient quality? I happen to
have a box of Whatmans around (because I'm a NERD).  I'll dig them out and
see if they're big enough, but I will want to try other filter material at
some point.  I do have a FoodSaver, so I'll be trying that out as well.
Thanks for all the info, Randall.
Ooooh!  This is going to be fun!
Kris McN

11) From: Randall Nortman
On Tue, Dec 11, 2007 at 04:01:45PM -0800, Kris McN wrote:
They are good enough if you get the grind right.  If the grind is too
fine, or your grinder makes a lot of dust, those filters may clog up
on you.  Doubling them up actually helps a little if that happens, or
make the grind a bit coarser.  If all else fails, cut circles out of a
drip filter, which I've found works really well.  (I've used Melitta
brand.)  I think with your Foodsaver, if the filter clogs, you might
end up drawing a pretty strong vacuum in the flask.  Inspect the flask
carefully before you use it to look for small cracks which might
weaken it.  You might want to wear a pair of safety goggles the first
time you crank up the vacuum on that thing, just to be sure.

12) From: True, Dennis W. FC1 (CVN69)
Good thought on the glasses 
Oh Kris I can't wait to hear how it works....
Please let us know!!!
(Oh and give our best to little luna bee!!!)

13) From: Denis and Marjorie True
So have you gotten the WC9K yet?... have you tried it out? don't be shy 
Kris inquiring minds want to know!
Kris McN wrote:

14) From: Kris McN
I do have my WC9K!  I will tell you all about it, but I'm in Albuquerque at
a workshop *at this very moment*, so I'll post next week about it.  I just
didn't want you to think I was ignoring you.
Kris McN
On Jan 7, 2008 8:57 AM, Denis and Marjorie True  wrote:

15) From: Dan Comfort
I read a bit of the coffeegeek thread and it sounds very interesting.
I'd love to see a video of it in action.

16) From: ray
Well what is it Dan?  Love to learn about new systems that are reasonable in

17) From: Ed Needham
Youtube search clover coffee and the first one you get is this...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfWIkAUsinM*********************
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com*********************

18) From: Randall Nortman
On Thu, Jan 10, 2008 at 02:04:31AM -0500, Ed Needham wrote:
He's not talking about an actual Clover, but rather my poor imitation
of one, which was dubbed by somebody on this list as the "WonderClown
9000", or WC9k.  It's a method which produces excellent coffee in my
not-so-humble opinion -- if you get all the variables right.  It's
basically a chemisty lab vacuum filtration setup -- total cost around
$50-70, depending on what size you get, and unlike the Aeropress, only
glass, porcelain, and the filter media of your choice ever touches the
coffee -- no plastic.  The variables of time, temperature, and
water/coffee ratio are completely in control of the user, and you have
a lot of flexibility in grind fineness as well, with the only
limitation being that if you go too fine, filtration will take longer
than you probably want it to.  I use a grind on the coarse end of the
espresso range (much finer than drip) and can filter in about 30
seconds, which is fast enough.  These days I use a water/coffee ratio
of 140mL to 20g for a double, which produces something much stronger
than regular coffee but weaker than espresso.  I dilute after brewing
with another 140mL or so to make a nice robust "americano", just as
with the official Aeropress method.  I vary my water temperature from
190F to 200F depending on the coffee, with most coffees being on the
high end of that range.  (The actual brew temperature is lower than
this, because the grounds start out cold and drop the temperature
almost immediately.  The amount of temperature drop depends on the
water/coffee ratio and whether you have pre-heated the glassware,
which I always do.)
The coffeegeek thread, with photos but no video, is here:http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/335303I ought to post a video, I suppose.  I think my digital camera can
take short videos, but I've never done it.
My most recent discovery in the process is that human lungs can
substitute for the mechanical vacuum pump well enough.  I discovered
this during my holiday travels, when I packed my pump badly and broke
it.  I haven't replaced it yet.
I would be very interested in hearing from anybody else who tries my
method.  I don't stand to make any money on it -- you can buy the
equipment pretty cheaply from lab supply shops online.  There are
plenty on eBay.

19) From: Treshell
Watching the videos on the site a Dave used a wire whisk to stir the coffee.
Anyone tried doing that with the Aero?  Might change the cup--

20) From: Brett Mason
I have used a plastic fork with the inverted AP method...
Works pretty similarly...
AP is my Clover
  $11,955 still in my pocket
On Jan 10, 2008 11:09 PM, Treshell  wrote:

21) From: Rich
A wire whisk works very well for stirring the beans while roasting with 
a heat gun.  I suspect it also does a superior job in stirring coffee 
into hot water.  They come in several sizes.
Treshell wrote:

22) From: peterz
I use one of those battery powered  swizzle sticks. It really keeps the 
bloom down  and mixes it very well.
Brett Mason wrote:

23) From: kevin creason
that's not a bad idea-- I got one from a friend for Christmas and haven't
even put batteries in it yet.
I've just been using the brandy swirl method and pouring in the water in
stages as it blooms and swirls.
On Jan 11, 2008 12:51 AM, peterz  wrote:
Admit your errors before someone else exaggerates them. - Andrew V. Mason

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