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Topic: Vac Pot Questions (3 msgs / 81 lines)
1) From: Dan
I usually make espresso, but have been playing a bit with Vacuum Pots and have some questions:
1. I have a Kona and a new condition Sunbeam C30A. I measured the upper globe temperature on the Kona and it was only 167 F. I was under the impression that it should be about 204. Is that incorrect? I made the measurement using water (no coffee) and using an accurate thermometer. I use the Kona for iced coffee and it does a nice job, but I do detect a slight sour note, which in the espresso world means the temp is too low. I'm at about 700 feet above sea level.
2. The Sunbeam has the opposite condition. I tweaked the screws inside so I get a total brew time (again using no coffee, just water) of 2 minutes before the coffee heads south. However, the temperature of the brew water is between 208 and 210 F. Isn't this way too hot? Does anyone know of a way to reduce the temperature of the Sunbeam? 
Its a beautiful art deco unit, new feeling rubber and truly unused.
Thanks in advance for any guidance. I have already read the threads regarding the screw adjustments of the Sunbeam. They do address brew length but don't address brew temperature.
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2) From: Doug Hoople
Hi Dan,
As you've surmised, water temperature is critical, and the ideal temperature
range (IMHO and at sea level) is from 190-200F. That's a little different
from the standard range of 195-205F, but I think the slightly cooler range
keeps the coffee clear and sweet.
With the Kona, I'd have to guess that you added cold water and put the globe
in place right away instead of waiting until the water in the lower pot was
nearly boiling.
If you want to heat the water up in the lower pot, then you need to wait
until it's nearly boiling before placing the funnel on top. The typical clue
is that pre-boiling water bubbles are starting to increase in intensity.
I pre-boil my water in a hot water kettle, pour it into the vacpot right off
of boil, place the funnel immediately and keep the heat at medium until most
of the water is north. With 2 or 3 cups (out of 8) remaining, I turn the
heat to low, which reduces the fury with which the last of the water rises
and the first of the air escapes. When I do things this way, the water temps
in the funnel are around 193 or 194F. I drop in the grounds after all the
water is north and steep for 2 minutes.
The water temperature can rise to anywhere from 201 to 204F during that
time, but I never let it get any higher. I'm of the opinion that over
extraction starts right at around 205, and I've definitely tasted the
bitterness of overextraction at 208 or so.
Can't say what you need to do to manage your Sunbeam, but you should be able
to manage your Cona pretty close to the parameters above. The setup I've
been using is the Yama 8-cup and Yama 5-cup. The only real problem with the
Cona is that it uses the alcohol burner, so it's a little hard to control
the heat, but that's all the more reason to pre-heat your water separately.
For the record, there's no functional reason for pre-heating the water. It
just makes things a little easier to manage. And, in my case, it ensures
that I never absent-mindedly boil the pot dry.
Good luck getting this sussed out, and let us know how it goes.
Doug
On Sun, Mar 28, 2010 at 2:29 PM, Dan  wrote:
<Snip>
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3) From: Jeff Kilpatrick
Dan,
In the Kona, be sure to pre-heat the water in the bottom before adding the
top.
Enjoy!
-jeff
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