HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Vacpot Stalled Solution (36 msgs / 1127 lines)
1) From: John and Emma
This morning my VP stalled on me. It only happens rarely. I now believe it
happens when I stir the grounds too much and/or too vigorously. I have never
found an easy way to get the coffee back down to the lower pot when my VP
stalled. Today I put the VP back on the burner on low, the coffee that was
in the lower pot bubbled up and broke the seal allowing for all my coffee to
flow quickly and easily back down. It may have been a little over extracted
but it has been the quickest and easiest solution I have found yet.
I know its simple physics but because this rarely happens to me I never gave
it much thought on what to do when I do have a stall.
Cheers,
John H.
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2) From: Doug Hoople
Hi John,
It's messy, but just tip the whole thing upside down over your sink. No
worries about the filter dropping out... it's stuck tight if you're stalled.
Turn it right side up again, and you should be able to jiggle the filter
loose right away.
If you've got a stall, the pot's ruined anyway, so no big loss.
I'm assuming you're using a glass rod as your filter. Stalls don't generally
occur with any other filter type. It's a bit involved, but I've got a way of
preventing stalls altogether. Sounds like you don't get them often enough to
be interested. But if you are, I'd be happy to fill you in.
Doug
On Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 6:02 PM, John and Emma  wrote:
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3) From: John and Emma
Thanks Doug.
I do use the glass rod. For interest sake how do you prevent stalls all
together?
John, Emma, Taz, Ayla, and Nile's Spirit

4) From: Rich Adams
Which is the manufacturers recommended way to undo a stall.

5) From: Doug Hoople
"I put the VP back on the burner on low, the coffee that was
<Snip>
Which is the manufacturers recommended way to undo a stall. "
Unless you're planning on saving the pot, which should be overextracted
anyway, this method is fussy and completely unnecessary.
Doug
On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 12:44 PM, Rich Adams  wrote:
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6) From: Kevin Creason
I'll butt in: it was mentioned earlier this year to simply turn up the
burner right before removal, enough to make it bubble vigorously.
That's enough to insure the filter rod isn't clogged. I haven't had
issue since I started doing that!
Sent from my iPhone 3gSi
On Dec 16, 2009, at 1:58 PM, "John and Emma" 
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7) From: Barry Luterman
Grinder, Grinder, Grinder
On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 9:58 AM, John and Emma  wrote:
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8) From: John A C Despres
Barry's correct. On my Mazzer Mini, I use a setting of 55 over zero.
Drawdown begins in 30-35 seconds and is complete in another 10 seconds. 55
is fairly coarse.
John
On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 8:11 PM, Barry Luterman  wrote:
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9) From: Jeff Kilpatrick
Agreed with Barry and John.  I never have stalls.
5 cup Yama + Cory rod
Rocky at 20 (Maestro did well with the vacpot, too)
On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 7:19 PM, John A C Despres wrote:
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10) From: Doug Hoople
"Grinder, Grinder, Grinder"
No, no, no.
The grinder is almost completely irrelevant to stalls when used in the
normal manner.
Doug
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11) From: Doug Hoople
John,
Sorry, but I already know the reason you and Barry don't have stalls. You
don't roast dark.
Doug
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12) From: Doug Hoople
"Agreed with Barry and John.  I never have stalls.
5 cup Yama + Cory rod
Rocky at 20 (Maestro did well with the vacpot, too)"
How dark is the coffee you're brewing, John? I'm going to guess that you
favor lighter roasts. Would that be correct?
Doug
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13) From: Barry Luterman
Remember the study with a good grinder and a completely burned bean no stall
just increased draw down time
On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 7:08 PM, Doug Hoople  wrote:
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14) From: Doug Hoople
"I do use the glass rod. For interest sake how do you prevent stalls all
together?"
The one sure way you can create a stall, even with lighter roasts, is to
stir just before drawdown, especially stirring in a pattern that creates a
vortex. The creates a "downdraft" the the fines respond to a lot faster than
the bigs.
You can help prevent stalls by not stirring. You can wet down the grounds at
the beginning of the steep cycle, but that should be the last you stir.
Leave it to the vapor column to do the stirring.
If you very rarely have stalls, I'd wager almost anything, this one single
thing will keep you from any further stalls.
If you get slow drawdowns or stalls more often, then they can be prevented
altogether by creating a burst of the vapor column just before taking the
pot off the burner, being careful not to let your water temperature rise too
high. This creates an "updraft," carrying the fines higher in the funnel,
allowing the bigs a chance to settle first. Believe it or not, this will fix
your stalling problems completely!
Doug
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15) From: Doug Hoople
I remember quite well, Barry. I've done a lot of research since then.
As I said, when the grinder is used in the normal manner, it will have no
real bearing on stalls. You were grinding extra coarse, and you were
grinding uncharacteristically (for you) dark roast coffee. The recommended
grinder setting for vacpot coffee is not really any coarser than for drip,
so the settings you were using were deliberately cranked up to provoke a
problem.
If you run the same experiment today, I'd wager almost anything that the
longer drawdown times you were experiencing can be eliminated and/or
substantially reduced. using the final thrust technique.
Doug
On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 9:14 PM, Barry Luterman  wrote:
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16) From: Jeff Kilpatrick
Truth be told, I do tend to roast light.  However, I can share the
experience I gained from the only stall I've had in recent memory.
I have a friend who's REALLY into espresso.  He's got a GS3, outgrew a
Robur, and so on.  The guy's nuts.  Anyway, he was interested in vacpot
brewing, so I took my trusty Yama, Cory rod, and whatever I'd been drinking
(if I recall correctly, it was a very bright Kenyan) over to his place.  I
took a bit little pre-ground so we'd be able to dial in his vario based on
appearance and grittiness between our fingers.  Guess what: we didn't get
there.  I presume we went too fine, but I can't say for sure; it appeared to
be identical to what I do at home, but it wasn't.  We had a hard stall, a
ruined batch, and some really fine espresso to make up for it.  The next
day, all other variables being pretty much equal (all same save the grind
and stove though I used a thermometer in both places so that probably didn't
matter much), it worked just fine.  Now, I'm not saying the vario is bad for
vacpot brewing.  I'd just like to suggest that it does indeed matter how you
grind.  I'll even be so bold as to suggest that's true of any brew method.
Come to think of it, I seem to recall my other most recent stall.  I was
camping in Oklahoma last November and using, you guessed it, my trusty Yama
and Cory rod.  This time, I had my terrible manual grinder with me.  I
followed the same procedure as usual and even used a thermometer on the camp
stove.  Hard stall.  I will say that grinder is not fit to grind coffee
intended for human consumption :-)
Doug, your thrust method sounds promising and if the stove in my new place
is any better than what I have now, I'd love to play around with it.  Maybe
I'll even roast something dark to tempt fate.
Let's leave this here, okay?  I'm of the opinion that there's no need for
another vacpot technique debate.  The topic has been explored extensively by
many contributors to the SM web forum.  If one does take place, let's keep
it friendly.  It's just coffee, right?
Cheers,
-"john"
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17) From: Doug Boutell
The grinder and how new the blades definitely have an effect on the stalls. 
I ran a test a few years ago and a few people on the list are
using a  screen  35 x35 by .010 stainless to filter out the fines. I ran a 
test on a  mini mazzer with new blades, and  large conical macap that only 
had been used about one month.
I found out that on 480 grains or 1 troy ounce of ground coffee, the mini 
mazzer had about 36-45 grains of fines. The conical macap had about 12-20 
grains of fines. The fines filtered by the
screen reduced the stalls drastically so I have a stall about once every 
other month. If it does stall I apply the heat again and allow the coffee to 
clear out the cory rod and get out of the way the coffee
 will flow. The other benefit the coffee always tasted better with the fines 
removed, it removed the small amount of astringency when I tasted the coffee 
when it was very hot and it removed  the slight muddiness. But that also 
caused a problem and forced me to refine my profiles. The large macap now 
gives me multiple  defined layers and the mini mazzer is more of a blended 
layers. Depends on which you like. Les(AKA Dr. Crema) also tested the macap 
for me against his major so we could see what different grinders would give 
us. We both roast with USRC 1/2 kilo roaster and can duplicate each others 
profiles for testing purposes.
Doug Boutell

18) From: Doug Hoople
Hi John,
Sorry, "Grinder, Grinder, Grinder," struck me as conclusive and
all-encompassing, which it isn't.
It's also quite common for people who roast light to proclaim that they
never experience stalls, implying that it shouldn't be a problem at all, and
some of them can be quite militant about it.  They're right, to the extent
that they've experienced it, but it's certainly not the whole story.
In my experience, what's happening in the funnel DOES tell the whole story,
and the grinder has a decidedly secondary role in it.
With a good grinder, the finer you go, the less likely the stall, which is
counterintuitive, but true. I'd suggest that, in the experiment with your
friend, if you were working with a high-quality fine grind that you
eventually applied to what turned out to be a nice espresso, then something
else probably provoked the stall, something in the stirring or something in
the settling pattern.
The fastest drawdown I had all year was with Turkish grind from a Vario,
something like 15 seconds. And all the drawdowns I got with fine-ground
coffee were faster than usual, unless I did something really provocative,
like stirring the vortex. The finer the grind, the more consistent and
reliable the drawdown times.
Oddly enough, the drawdown times do deteriorate the coarser you go, and
coffee ground at the coarsest settings of even a great grinder will have the
highest likelihood of a slowdown or a stall. So it was probably a little too
strong to say that the grinder has nothing at all to do with this. But it
certainly isn't the only factor, as "Grinder, Grinder, Grinder" might
suggest.
It is also true that a poor grinder that produces a high level of fines can
contribute to stalls. Your camping experience demonstrates that well. I've
experienced the same thing with a really terrible grinder that I used to
have. You can improve your drawdown performance fairly substantially with an
upgrade from a crummy grinder to a good grinder.
The most telling thing to me, though, is that you can't improve your
drawdown performance much by upgrading from a good to a great grinder. If
you're having problems with stalls, there's nothing you can do with any
grinder to fix it completely. But you can fix your drawdown problems by
altering your brewing procedure.
Finally, the darker the roast, the greater shattering effect in the grinder,
meaning a correspondingly higher level of fines, again with any grinder no
matter how great. So the people who have the most to say about stalls with a
glass-rod vacpot are the ones who try to brew dark-roast coffee with it.
Most dark-roast aficionados don't stick around, partly because of
inconsistent results with this combination of gear, which is why the vast
majority of glass-rod vacpot brewers are light-roast aficionados.
Good luck with your vacpot brewing, John! I personally think it's the best
way to brew coffee, certainly the best way to brew filtered coffee, and I'm
glad I stuck around long enough to figure out how to brew with it reliably.
And don't forget to leave the stirring to the vapor column!
Doug
On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 9:57 PM, Jeff Kilpatrick
wrote:
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19) From: Rich Adams
LOL,  not any more fussy or unnecessary then taking a hot glass vac pot 
containing hot coffee and holding it upside down over a sink.
<Snip>
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20) From: John and Emma
Doug,
You are right I roast all beans between City and FC+. I have a Virtuoso
grinder that is set to 29 for the VP. I think I've had 4 stalls in total
since buying my VP about 2 years ago. Most of which happened when I first
started using my VP. You are right the reason for these stalls has been as
you described. "The one sure way you can create a stall, even with lighter
roasts, is to stir just before drawdown, especially stirring in a pattern
that creates a vortex. This creates a "downdraft" that the fines respond to
a lot faster than the bigs."
The other day I was just too tired and still half a sleep when brewing. As a
result, I did just as you described and stirred too late into the steep
cycle.
I also agree with your comments about grinders. Please don't everyone jump
on me for saying this but with my VP I feel the Virtuoso is a perfectly
adequate grinder. I do want to get an espresso maker and when I do I will be
upgrading to a far superior grinder.
Doug I also found your comments on grind level interesting. When I first
started using my VP I did various different grind levels to find what I
believe to be the sweet spot for my taste. What I found in doing this was
when I ground too fine I ended up with ground coffee in the lower pot. So 29
on my Virtuoso was basically the finest grind level with out getting any
ground coffee in the lower pot and gave me the best cup.
John H.

21) From: Rich
Back in the old days when the vac pot was the standard home pot.  You 
put the cold water in the bottom and filter rod and coffee in the top 
and set it on the stove.  When the water was about all up in the top you 
turned off the gas.  Lower chamber cooled below boiling and the pressure 
dropped and the water in the top was pushed into the bottom chamber.  As 
I remember, it worked every time.  No stirring or other odd incarnations 
required.
Kevin Creason wrote:
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22) From: Doug Hoople
Doug,
Very interesting stuff.  Thanks for the writeup.
Did you notice, though, that even with a great grinder, you still didn't
completely fix the problem?
Even with the fines reduced to a minimum, there's still a possibility of a
stall. Or, more insidiously, long and inconsistent drawdown times.
Upgrading to a great (and expensive) grinder is totally unnecessary as a
solution to stalls.  With the right technique, you can get perfectly
reasonable drawdowns even with a crappy grinder. A great grinder will
improve the resulting cup, and that's a good reason to upgrade. You
shouldn't be upgrading to fix mechanical problems with your brewing
technique.
Doug
On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 10:26 PM, Doug Boutell wrote:
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23) From: Doug Hoople
"
<Snip>
"
Rich,
Back in the heyday of the vacpot, coffee was uniformly roasted light,
usually a C+ or so. Coffee was also pre-ground in commercial quality
grinders, so the level of fines was relatively low.
You're absolutely right, though. If you're not getting stalls and your
drawdown times are consistent and reasonable, then no "stirring or other odd
incantations required."
My advice is for people who are getting stalls, or are experiencing long and
inconsistent drawdown times. For them, a measured dose of carefully tested
incantations is essential.
The short list of incantations? 1) don't stir except to wet out the grounds.
Avoid stirring especially just before drawdown, and 2) a short burst of the
vapor column just before drawdown will correct any remaining mechanical
problems with your drawdowns.
Again, if you're not having a problem, you can ignore all of this. Just
don't try to tell us that there is no problem.
Doug
On Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 10:13 AM, Rich  wrote:
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24) From: Doug Hoople
Hi John H.
Thanks for the feedback.
You're absolutely right. A Virtuoso is a perfectly fine grinder for the
vacpot. I settled on a range between 18 and 21 on mine, so I find it
interesting that your sweet spot is 29. That's probably because your roasts
are a little lighter than mine, and don't shatter as thoroughly. So you'll
get fewer fines, even at the coarser setting.
As I was working through this problem, I found that the coarser grinds, when
they drew down successfully (which didn't happen that often), appeared to
yield a sweeter, cleaner pot. I just couldn't get it to work consistently.
I did find that, once I stumbled onto the trick of the vapor column thrust
right just before drawdown, I could grind coarser and make it work, and my
pots were, in fact, sweeter and cleaner every time.
By that time, I was mostly using the Vario, so I never went back and
corrected the Virtuoso settings. But I'd guess that 29 (out of 40) on the
Virtuoso is a pretty good setting. On the Vario, with its coarse/fine combo,
I set the coarse to 7 (out of 10) and the fine to zero. That worked great.
Happy brewing!
Doug
On Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 8:55 AM, John and Emma  wrote:
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25) From: Doug Hoople
<Snip>
Which is the manufacturers recommended way to undo a stall. "
<Snip>
LOL,  not any more fussy or unnecessary then taking a hot glass vac pot
containing hot coffee and holding it upside down over a sink.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Hmmm... let's see now.
1) Turn the pot upside down. Disassemble. Wash.
or
2) Turn up the heat. Wait a minute or so. Turn off the heat. Wait another
minute or so for a full drawdown. Disassemble. Turn the pot upside down.
Wash.
You decide.
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26) From: Doug Boutell
I've only had  a very limited problem with stalls since I started using the 
screens. I travel with a   Virtuoso conical burr ginder but I also use the 
screens and eliminate about
45-70 grains of fines, for the cost , the grinder gives me excellent 
results.If they had a better way to stop the wobble in the burrs , the 
grinder would probably be very very good for the dollar. But the plastic 
parts  keep the cost down.  I would like to travel with the macap but it's 
too big for the motor home.  I did not upgrade to solve the problem with 
stalls I wanted to see for myself  how the different grinders effected the 
taste. I only use the vac pot , moka pot  and espresso for my coffee.
The other
Doug

27) From: Doug Hoople
So what's the cutoff?
A lot of people never experience stalls. I've had so many exchanges with
people who are baffled and insist that there are no problems at all, I'd
probably have a dollar if I got a nickel for each one. Yup, that's right.
About 20 of the same exchange, which I think is a pretty good indicator of
entrenched opinion.
When quizzed, they all drink their coffee roast to C or C+. Some of them,
when asked, concede that the one or two times they've had stalling problems
came when they were working with darker roasts.
So darkness of roast is a key indicator. And there are plenty of people here
who think anything darker than C+ is a crime, so we must deserve what we get
when we're tempting fate with the darker stuff.
However, there's plenty of good, distinctive coffee to be drunk that's
roasted anywhere from FC to Vienna, and that's the range in which drawdown
problems will be experienced. That range is still much lighter than the
standard French roast of the big-chain franchise cafes.
Drawdown troubles usually start around FC, but you may not notice anything
more than slightly longer drawdown times.
The problems become more pronounced with FC+, and you'll very likely start
noticing long drawdowns and the occasional stall.
By the time you get to Vienna, if you're not using the essential two
incantations, you'll definitely be fighting a steady succession of drawdown
problems.
If you're actually brewing the burnt swill of the big franchises (or your
own roasting errors), you'll be getting a lot of stalls and problem
drawdowns, but, finally, the cure for that is "Don't do that." You can apply
the essential two incantations, and your drawdowns will be perfectly normal,
but your coffee won't be worth drinking anyway. Instead, step back to
lighter coffees.
Doug
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28) From: Bob Glasscock
Good morning John H,
Occasionally, I will have a pot that doesn't want to complete the southbound
trip, so I move the glass rod very slightly and carefully in its seat in a
side-to-side motion, thus finding a spot that releases the vacuum. This
isn't practical if you have a full top pot, but it works for me as a
completion measure. 
Bob Glasscock
Happy Holiday

29) From: Doug Hoople
Hi Doug,
Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that you upgraded your grinder to solve your
stalling problem (which didn't appear that severe anyway). Your text
certainly didn't suggest that. I got the impression that you were after
better-tasting cofee, and that your vacpot procedural concerns were totally
secondary.
But I did want to warn others that, if they have a problem with slow
drawdowns and stalls, a grinder upgrade was no guarantee of a fix, as has
been suggested. Your use of the macap, an excellent grinder, demonstrated
that you still needed additional steps to completely resolve your vacpot
drawdown problems.
I went to a lot of trouble to test the thesis that a better grinder would
fix the problem of slow drawdowns and stalls. In my own experience, and in
all the other experiences I've seen documented, it helped a little, but was
no guarantee of a complete cure.
The thing to do is to fix any procedural problems first, which is
totally do-able even with a crummy grinder. That should be completely
mastered and out of the way before going any further. After that, if a
better grinder is appealing for potential improvements in the resulting cup,
then, by all means, go for it.
Doug
On Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 1:10 PM, Doug Boutell wrote:
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30) From: John A C Despres
"I went to a lot of trouble to test the thesis that a better grinder would
fix the problem of slow drawdowns and stalls."
Doug, which grinders did you use and, regardless of all else, which one
stood out as superior?
Thanks!
John
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31) From: Doug Hoople
John,
I've had direct experience with a Krups GVX burr grinder that was a decade
old and poorly maintained. In the early days of my vacpot brewing, I'd get
stalls nearly all the time with it.
Once I established the two critical bits of technique 1) avoidance of
stirring, especially just before drawdown, and 2) the vapor-column burst
just before drawdown, I stopped having drawdown delays and stalls even with
this really battered old thing.
That proved, at least mechanically, that no grinder upgrade was necessary to
cure problems with glass-rod vacpot drawdowns.
In the early going, prior to discovering the procedural fixes, I upgraded to
a Baratza Virtuoso, which substantially improved both the flavor in the cup
and the drawdown performance.
A half-year later, also prior to discovering the procedural fixes, I
upgraded yet again to a Baratza Vario, which again improved both the flavor
in the cup and the drawdown performance, but still not enough to prevent
drawdown problems.. I'm quite happy with the Vario and see no need to
improve on it for vacpot brewing.
Barry Luterman ran an experiment last summer with his Mazzer Mini and, IIRC,
his Cimbali Max Hybrid, both of which generated output that led to
unacceptable drawdown times. He never stalled, and he cursed furiously at
the criminal darkness of the roast he was brewing, but he did confirm that,
even with grinders of that quality, there was still the potential for
drawdown problems.
Finally, we've got the recent report on this thread from Doug Boutell that
his Macap generates output that leads to (very occasional) stalls.
I've also compared notes with a few correspondents who are intimate with
Ditting/Mahlkoenig dedicated filter grinders, which have helped to confirm
the working diagnosis of the fixes.
As for recommendations, let me be a broken record. Fix the procedure first.
Once your drawdowns are flawless, regardless of your grinder, then turn to
your grinder with the intent of improving the flavor in your cup.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Virtuoso. It gets high enough into
quality grind levels to produce a good cup of coffee, and improvements from
the Virtuoso as a baseline will only be incremental.
Hope this helps.
Doug
On Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 3:20 PM, John A C Despres wrote:
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32) From: John A C Despres
Hi, Doug,
Nope, didn't help. I wasn't asking for help. I was asking about grinders
because I was curious about what you discovered in your extensive grinder
research. I haven't had a vac pot problem after the first three brews a
couple years ago. I know all about Barry's experiment, I was here.
You can lift the needle off the broken record. I didn't claim to have a
problem, I don't have a problem, I asked which grinder you found superior,
regardless of all else. I was curious to know what you discovered about
grinders. Just grinders, put the vac pot thing away for just a second; which
grinder did you find superior?
Thanks.
John
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33) From: Doug Hoople
Hi John,
I didn't say you had a problem, and, IIRC, I think I suggested that my
advice can be ignored entirely by those who don't have problems.
Grinders? In a thread entitled "VacPot Stalled Solution"?
In summary, without all the procedure disclaimers:
The Virtuoso is fine for all your vacpot needs.
The Vario's better. Makes for a better-tasting cup.
Any good-quality grinder should do the job.
Hope this helps.
Thanks.
Doug
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34) From: Yakster
If I remember correctly. Doug offered to give the OP his method off
list, but was encouraged to do otherwise.
I've had my share of stuck pots with my cuisinart grinder. The Hoople
Thrust aka Rumble in the Funnel has helped prevent this.
Some stuck pots I can fix with a wiggle or pull on the filter rod
before the vacuum pressure is too high, but I pay for that in more
fines in the pot.
Never had a stuck pot when I started with grinds already in the
funnell, but I prefer to dose after the water has gone North.
I hope to upgrade my grinder to a Vario or the forthcoming Viruoso Precisio.
-Chris
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35) From: John and Emma
Hi Doug,
I think you may have this John below, who asked about grinders, confused
with me John H. I was the one who started this thread and am the one who
owns and uses the Virtuoso. You did a great job of answering all my
questions. Thanks.
John H.

36) From: Doug Hoople
Hi John H.
First of all, thanks. I'm glad you found the information I provided useful.
That's one of the reasons we all post here, isn't it?
I did, in fact, confuse you and Jeff Kilpatrick (John) early in the thread,
but figured things out fairly quickly.
John A C Despres, on the other hand, I've know for a while, both here and on
other boards. While I was in the depths of vacpot despair last summer,
John D reached out to try to help me puzzle out the elements of this
mystery. We actually spoke on the phone, a fairly extraordinary thing to for
message-boarders to do. John D and another regular on the boards, Dave
Borton (aka Bold Java) were both very helpful to me in talking through the
whole vacpot picture and in eliminating some of the variables from the
problem I was trying to solve.
I guess, though, that I jumped on John D's question about grinder
recommendations as an opportunity to balance the whole grinder/procedure
dynamic. I wasn't answering him, I was answering for the whole community.
Not John D's fault, mind you. He asked the question, and it happened to be a
question I was just aching to answer.
Some of it stems from the logical outcome of the search for grinders. In my
research, the logical ultimate grinder that was going to "solve all my
problems" was the Ditting/Mahlkoenig Guatemala or another similar model in
the same class.  The usual espresso giants (the Mazzer Mini, Super Jolly,
Robur, the Macap M4, the Cimbali Max Hybrid, etc) were, according to the
Europeans who actual care about such things, "not real filter grinders."
That was a terrifying conclusion. I was going to need about $2000 to get the
grinder that might fix my drawdown problems? And I wasn't going to be able
to even test it to know for sure before committing? I nearly pulled the
trigger on a Mazzer Mini about a half-dozen times, but knowing that there
was a "better filter grinder" out there prevented me.
So I struggled for a long time with the question of grinders while I was
still struggling with what to do about my problem drawdowns.
And you can imagine my relief once I stumbled onto the vapor column thrust
just before drawdown as the key additional technique to break the whole
thing open. In the end, even the D/MK Guatemala wasn't going to fix things
all by itself, but a simple change in technique was.
That's why I answered John D's grinder question the way I did. In the end, I
don't have anough personal experience with enough grinders to recommend the
"perfect" grinder. I only know that there are a lot of good grinders out
there, all of which are capable of delivering a fine cup of vacpot coffee.
btw, anyone out there with a D/MK Guatemala they want to lend me? I'd still
love to try it and see what kind of cup it delivers!
Doug
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