HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Vacuum Pot Help!! (16 msgs / 1159 lines)
1) From: Dennis Guyer
I have been home roasting for two and a half years.  I have used the AP exclusively for most of that time.  Recently I decided to try a Vacuum Pot after reading all the good feedback from the board.  I ordered a Yama 8 cup from SM and use the cloth filter.  I have tried it about 8-10 times.  I have been very disappointed in the results.  It seems to give me a flavor I don't seem to have using the AP.  The best I can describe it is sour.  I roast using the Behmor and grind using a Baratza Virtuoso.  I use a grind setting of 30.  (For those of you who have one.)  All the coffee is roasted to City+; (at least that is what I believe it is.)  All are either South or Central American coffees.  My draw down times are in the 1 1/2  to 2 min. range. I put the top on just as it starts to boil and the water rises within a few seconds.  I stir one time after the water has risen to the top and let it brew for 30 sec to one min.  
I need help-advice!  I would really like to use the Vacuum pot on those days I want to serve more than the one cup at a time my AP makes.
Thanks for any suggestions,
Dennis
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2) From: phil.palmintere
What's your altitude?
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

3) From: Dennis Guyer
I live in the LA area.  Around 800 feet ASL.
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4) From: cherry carter
I suggest the problem may be the cloth filter. I found that no matter how
well it is rinsed, it retains a flavor that turns sour after only a couple
of uses. I tried the Cona glass rod and that often resulted in blockage, no
matter what I did. I then purchased the Cona pot and have enjoyed perfect
coffee ever since. Others have had good luck with the glass Cory rod, but I
couldn't find one, hence my purchase of the Cona pot.
On Sat, Apr 30, 2011 at 4:58 PM, Dennis Guyer  wrote:
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5) From: Bob Glasscock
Hey Dennis,
First, are you sure you are getting a good seal? I just had to replace 
my Yama after destroying the original bowl by knocking it over, and the 
new one did not seal at all until I put the rubber gasket from my 
original on. Now it does OK. With the new seal in place I got no 
vacuum, hence a mess ensued. I do use the Baratza at 30 but use the 
Cory rod instead of cloth filters. I wouldn't imagine you have done 
enough brewing to turn the cloth filter sour, but if that is the case, 
Oxy Clean seems to be the cleaner of choice. Also are you using 
filtered water - may be time to replace the filter. Try bottled water. 
Anyway, you should be getting good results - it's a very good brewing 
method. 
Bob Glasscock
Greenville, AL
Quoting Dennis Guyer :
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6) From: John Grubbs
Dennis,
I found that the brew water can be too cold. When the water "starts to boil"
and "rises within a few seconds," it can still be WELL below desired
temperatures. My vac pot efforts got much better when I began measuring the
water temp. after it rose into the top, then waiting for 195 degrees before
adding the coffee and starting my timing.
I also second (or third) the earlier comments about taking great efforts to
be sure the cloth filter is really clean. OxiClean does a good job on the
filter, but if not thoroughly dissolved, OxiClean granules can remain
trapped between the cloth and the filter frame. (Yeah, learned that the hard
way.)
John, in Bham, AL
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7) From: Doug Hoople
Hi Dennis,
I'm late (very late) to this conversation, so forgive me if this is no
longer an issue.
The vacuum pot should be giving you perfect cup, very clean, in fact too
clean for some people.
'Sour' isn't a flavor that I associate with vacpots, and I can't think of
any brewing variant (too hot, too cold, too fast, too slow, too coarse, too
fine, etc.) that would trigger that. Certainly not grind, and also certainly
not water that's too cold (which tends to highlight sweetness, actually).
'Bitter,' maybe, if the water's too hot or if you get drawdown delays, but
not 'sour.'
The sour flavor you're getting is almost certainly from the cloth filter.
One way to confirm that would be to simply replace the one you're using with
a new one and see if the flavors change.
You should be able to brew at any grind level you like.  The flavor changes
you get from change of grind are more or less as you'd expect them (muddy at
Turkish, broader and rounder at coarse). You can and should be grinding for
flavor anyway, not as a means for correcting mechanical problems.
Your drawdown times of 1-1/2 to 2 minutes are perfect, but I'd expect that
with the cloth filters, which behave quite consistently from pot to pot.
I'm a devoted fan of the glass rod. I have the Yama 8-cup and Yama 5-cup
pots, and I use a Cory rod (no longer manufactured and has to be bought
used). The Cona rod can be made to work, but is simply not as effective.
I've been making vacuum pot coffee with the glass rod filter every day for
nearly three years now, and I love it.  There is a little extra skill
required to get the glass rod to work (it took me the better part of a year
to work it out!), but not much. Once mastered, you can brew any grind level
and roast level you like without restriction.
If you go glass rod, you simply MUST add the 5-second burst of heat just
before taking the pot off the heat. If you don't, you'll almost certainly
get inconsistent drawdown times and, potentially, stalls.  This is
especially true if you're grinding coarse (30 on the Virtuoso is pretty
coarse) and/or roasting dark.  But if you do apply the burst, you should
have the same 1-1/2 to 2 minute drawdowns as you're already getting with the
cloth filter.
Final note: Like Bob (see above), I also replaced one piece without
replacing the other, and discovered that the new match is a little
problematic.  There now is a lot more drama as the water finishes rising
into the funnel. The rod gets blown out of position, a condition that cherry
complained about a few months back and that led her away from the Yamas to
the Cona tabletop.  To prevent this, I now have to be very careful to have
the heat way down low to finish the rise. It's otherwise not a biggie. So
the match between funnels and pots can be less than perfect from
manufacturing lot to manufacturing lot.
But even with the finickier replacement, I'm still totally rapt with the
coffee I'm getting from this brewing method.
Doug
On Sun, May 1, 2011 at 9:15 AM, Dennis Guyer  wrote:
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8) From: Yakster
I replaced my Cory rods with Silex and Pyrex rods with locking springs and
chains, easy way to kill the drama.
-Chris
Pecked out on my mobile phone.
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9) From: Doug Hoople
"I replaced my Cory rods with Silex and Pyrex rods with locking springs and
chains, easy way to kill the drama."
Yeah, that will certainly prevent the projectile rod effect.
I still kind of like the simplicity and elegance of the plain glass rod.
And obscure things like these are very, very hard to come by here in New
Zealand.
Not much drama, really... I just have to remember to turn down the heat.
And, I'm assuming that if I pull out a complete replacement funnel and pot
from a single manufacturing run, the match should be better and the problem
should go away.
Doug
On Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 12:53 PM, Yakster  wrote:
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10) From: John and Emma
Doug,
This says everything I have experienced and can say as well except I use a
Cona Rod. I just use a spatula to keep the rod down when the rise finishes.
I don't add grinds until water has fully risen.
John H.

11) From: Doug Hoople
Hi John,
I wait until the water's finished rising, too.  To me, it makes much more
sense, and makes the whole procedure more controlled.
For one thing, the rise lasts for a variable amount of time. Sometimes it
goes very quickly, sometimes very slowly. It's hard to be precise about the
timings of the brew when the amount of time the grinds are exposed is
dependent on the rise.
For another thing, the temperature in the funnel is more constant once the
rise completes, so that's another factor that is better controlled.
Typically, the water temperature in the funnel at the start of the rise is
around 175F and only climbs to the desired 195-200F when all the water has
made it to the top.
I did find, before I started using the heat burst at the end to prevent
drawdown delays, that putting the grinds in the water after the rise seemed
to cause more delays.  But with the heat burst, that's not a problem in the
least.
YMMV, though, and there are plenty of vacpot users who still put the grinds
in the funnel before the rise.
Thanks for chiming in, John.
Doug
On Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 12:51 PM, John and Emma  wrote:
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12) From: John and Emma
Hi Doug,
Here is just one of many values I have had from this list. I have learned
from many of you. I started adding grinds after the rise has finished
because many of you recommended it for the reasons you state below.
Personally I can say there was a big difference in the cup between adding
grinds before rise had finished versus after. I also experienced less stalls
by adding grinds after the rise finished.
Thank you Doug and everyone for sharing your wisdom. I so enjoy our
community.
John H.

13) From: Phil Palmintere
I've always kept the top globe resting at an angle (unsealed).  Then, when
the water is simmering in the bottom globe, I grind & then add the coffee to
the top globe, press it down to seal, and the rest is like magic.
So this morning I decided to try the alternate approach - letting water
rise, then adding coffee.
WHAT A MESS!  The coffee "bloomed" very, very fast.  So fast it rapidly
bubbled over the top of the top globe, all over the stove. 
The good news is my wife is still asleep so she didn't see the mess before I
cleaned it up.
While it's no use crying over spilled milk, I reserve the right to cry a bit
over spilled Costa Rica Hernan Solis Villa Sarchi.
phil
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14) From: Jim Gundlach
If it is not worth crying over when spilled, it's not worth brewing and drinking.  That is the basics of a life worth living.
   pecan jim
     
On Jun 18, 2011, at 11:33 AM, Phil Palmintere wrote:
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15) From: Peter Louton
Lap it up in a clean towel and then wring what you can into a cup.
Peter
-- Sent from my Palm Pre
On Jun 18, 2011 13:33, Jim Gundlach <pecanjim> wrote: 
If it is not worth crying over when spilled, it's not worth brewing and drinking.  That is the basics of a life worth living.
   pecan jim
On Jun 18, 2011, at 11:33 AM, Phil Palmintere wrote:
> I've always kept the top globe resting at an angle (unsealed).  Then, when
> the water is simmering in the bottom globe, I grind & then add the coffee to
> the top globe, press it down to seal, and the rest is like magic.
> 
> So this morning I decided to try the alternate approach - letting water
> rise, then adding coffee.
> 
> WHAT A MESS!  The coffee "bloomed" very, very fast.  So fast it rapidly
> bubbled over the top of the top globe, all over the stove. 
> 
> The good news is my wife is still asleep so she didn't see the mess before I
> cleaned it up.
> 
> While it's no use crying over spilled milk, I reserve the right to cry a bit
> over spilled Costa Rica Hernan Solis Villa Sarchi.
> 
> phil
> 
>>

16) From: Doug Hoople
Wow, for something as simple as a vacuum pot, the diversity of experiences
with it is astonishing!
Sorry, Phil, sorry you've had a mess on your hands. I've seen some pretty
big blooms (the fresher the coffee, the bigger the bloom), but I've never
experienced such.... EXUBERANCE!
Thanks for sharing!
Doug
P.S., I'm with Pecan Jim: if it's not worth crying over, it's not worth
brewing. :)
On Sun, Jun 19, 2011 at 4:33 AM, Phil Palmintere
wrote:
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