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Topic: Yama Vac Pot (was Technivorm Disappointment) (7 msgs / 200 lines)
1) From: Bob Hazen
Interesting comment about the Yama.  I too have tried most methods and found 
the Chemex to be my favorite.  I also have a TV which gets daily use because 
of the convenience, but it won't beat the Chemex.  It seems to work best for 
me if I don't play with the valve as is commonly recommended.  I leave it 
fully open and after the grounds are wetted I sink them with a spoon; that's 
it.  I play with the grind getting coarser juuuusssst.... until the bitter 
overextraction taste vanishes.  That's about optimum.
But I digress...  I'm really interested in your experience with the Yama. 
Mine just hasn't blown me away like I expected.  The coffee seems thin and 
bland; no complexity.  I have experimented with timing, grind and amount of 
coffee without significant joy.  BTW, I do heat the water in the Yama 
directly on the stove (gas) rather than heating it in a kettle.  (If I'm 
going to heat water in a kettle, I'd pour it in my Chemex before continuing 
to fool with the Yama!)
So I think I'm missing something.  I would appreciate some details about 
your method.  Timing?  Grind? (how does one describe the grind anyway?) 
When do you put the coffee in?  Just before the water goes up top?  Or do 
you let it sit in the bowl while the water heats?
Thanks for any info you can provide.

2) From: Larry Johnson
Here's how I do it, right or wrong as it may be:
Heat the water in a kettle, grind 5 standard scoops of beans, and
assemble upper half of the Yama. Grind: I have a Solis Maestro (not a
Plus or Virtuoso) and I grind for the Yama at 3 clicks away from the
coarsest setting. To compare, I grind at the coarsest setting for
French press.
When the water is near boiling, I fill the Yama carafe to '8' cups and
put the top part on. Put the whole thing on a different (cool) eye of
the stove and crank the heat to med-hi (around 7 on a scale of 10 -
that's what works on my stove, YMMV). Stove: I have a Frigidaire
electric glass-top, so I don't need the wire thingy.
Monitor the happenings and adjust the heat accordingly to get the
water to move up into the funnel. I don't get a rolling boil until the
water is almost gone, btw. When most of the water is in the top, I
give it a good stir, finishing with the "cyclone" effect that puts
most of the grounds in the very center.
Ok, here's the hard part. All the instructions, tips, etc say to
maintain the temp for a while to keep the coffee from immediately
siphoning back down, but don't let it start "boiling", or sucking air
up through the funnel (just looks like boiling in the top part). I
can't seem to stack those particular marbles. It's either sucking air
or syphoning - I can't seem to get it to sit in the middle. I wind up
letting it "boil" for a few seconds, maybe 20 - 30 total, then move it
off the heat totally and let it syphon away. Must be ok to do that;
the coffee's great.
When the syphon is done, I take the funnel off, store it in its little
stand, and voila! Cafe Johnson is open for business.  I hope I was
clear in my description, but if you have any other questions, by all
means ask.
On 2/19/08, Bob Hazen  wrote:
Larry J
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3) From: Ben Salinas
Here's what I do:
For a 5 cup Yama, I generally dose about 2.5 oz.  My grind is the
consistency of table salt.
I start my water in a tea kettle, and get it up to about 90 degrees C.  I
then pour it in to the bottom chamber (Note- I have a tabletop model).
 Using the Butane burner, I heat the water up to around 92 or 94 degrees C.
 I then stick the top chamber in (without any coffee in it).  I let the
water rise to the top.
Now, using a thermocouple, I check the temperature of the water.  For most
coffees, I start at about 92C, but for some I go lower (the coolest I've
brewed a vac pot is at a frigid 88C and the hottest is at 95C).  If it is
too cool, I'll put the lid on the top of the upper chamber.  If it is still
too cool, I'll lower a bit of the water into the bottom chamber (by turning
off the burner for a split second) heat that water a bit hotter (by turning
on the burner) and let it rise back too the top.  If the water is too hot,
I'll start by stirring it some.  If it is still too hot, I mix cold water
(by the tablespoon) into the upper chamber.
Once the temperature has stabilized, I place
the coffee in the top chamber, and start a timer.  I stir the coffee
enough to get all the coffee wet, but not so much that it agitates the
coffee too much.
 My stir currently takes about 8 seconds.
After about 40-45 seconds, I pull the butane burner away, give the
coffee a bit of a stir to break the puck, and let it fall.
It should be noted that much of this procedure was taken from the folks over
athttp://www.barismo.com,though I've experimented with some of the
settings a good deal.
It should also be noted that while getting the water to exactly 92C might
seem a little over the top, the difference in 1C in the brewing process can
have a huge difference in the taste of the coffee (Yesterday we had a coffee
that was unrinkable at 92C, but was sweet like sugar at 90C).  Additionally,
the stir can be a source of bitters.  If you the coffee moves around too
much, it can overextract leading to unpleasant flavors.
On 2/19/08, Bob Hazen  wrote:
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4) From: Bob Hazen
Great info on the Yama, Larry and Ben.  Much appreciated.  I have been 
starting with coffee in the bowl and then heating the water in the lower 
chamber.  The water starts its way up and slowly soaks the grounds.  Sort of 
difficult to time things - when is time zero?  Based on your posts, I'm 
going to try heating the water separately and avoid the slow soak.  Also, 
I've never experimented with water temperature.  I have a thermocouple 
meter, so no excuse!
Are you guys using the Yama filter?  Shortly after I bought my Yama, the 
filter spring broke.  And the filter was getty grungy so I bought a Kona rod 
from SM's.  It fits perfectly and, as far as I can tell, works fine. 
Perhaps I need a different process with the glass rod, eh?
This weekend is experimentation time.
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5) From: Larry Johnson
I give it about a minute after I stir, which is when I have about 6-7 cups
out of the 8 migrated to the upper part.
On Thu, Feb 21, 2008 at 12:45 AM, Bob Hazen  wrote:
Larry J
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6) From: Ben Salinas
I'm using the cloth filters.  I've replaced the cloth filters a few times
(whenever they get grungy).
I've never used the glass rod, so I can't comment on whether things will
work the same with it.
On 2/21/08, Bob Hazen  wrote:
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7) From: Larry Johnson
I use the cloth filter that came with it, and wash it out really well
after each use. I just got the brewer, so haven't had to replace the
filter yet (2 replacements came with it). I've considered the glass
rod, but stories of stuck brews have made me hesitate. I'm afraid my
grinder consistency (Solis Maestro) might not be good enough. That's
on my wish list, though; a new grinder. Someday. Meantime, I'm loving
what I get from the present setup.
On 2/21/08, Ben Salinas  wrote:
Larry J
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