HomeRoast Digest

Topic: New Guy still has a little money left (12 msgs / 341 lines)
1) From: jim jordan
Howdy Ya'll-I am fairly new to both this list and to
roasting my own.  I have spent an unfortunate amount
of money on beans etc., but still have a little left. 
I am interested in getting a vacuum coffee maker,
would like your advice on which to choose.  I am
looking at the Cona, Yama, Hario, or getting an old
Silex from Ebay.  Any real good or bad?  I have
checked coffeegeek and SM, still undecided.   I need
to spend the money fast before my wife buys more paint
to do another bedroom.
Cheers  Jim J Kansas City
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2) From: Jack Berry
Tom has (maybe it's "had" by now) a stainless Silex on 
his garage sale page - cheap!
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3) From: Irene and Lubos Palounek
I know that Tom does not like the Bodum Santos Electronic vacuum brewer for
reasons he explains on the Sweet Maria's site. That unit is also sold by
Starbucks as "Utopia".
We have one and are quite happy with it. Our daughter and son-in-law also
have one and like it.  It seems that there unit-to-unit variations (in the
brewing time etc) and that both units in our family keep the coffee "up
North" for the correct time.
We also have the "manual" Bodum Santos and they both seem to produce
excellent coffee. However, the electric unit has some features we never use,
such as the built-in timer. Because the electric machine is so easy to use,
we use it, on the average, slightly more than once a day. Since we got the
electric vacuum brewer, we never used the manual Santos. We, of course, use
our espresso maker and from time to time one of our French Presses or the
ibrik. However, first think in the morning, the "simple to use" electric
vacuum brewer is the machine that gets used.
At the 2002 Specialty Coffee Association of America Exhibition and
Convention, Bodum was demonstrating a new, smaller "manual" electric vacuum
brewer, which, I believe, has no electronics, just on-off switch. I suggest
that you look at it when it becomes available.  Perhaps Tom will carry that
(5 cup) model, as it seems to eliminate the reasons why Tom does not like
the current 10-cup automatic electric Bodum.
Cheers, Lubos
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4) From: R.N.Kyle
Jim I just bought a Yama from SM, although it is small 20 oz. It is a nice
one. I have had no trouble at all with it. It is easy to use and maintain,
and the price is nice .
Ron Kyle
Roasting in South Carolina

5) From: James Gundlach
On Wednesday, June 26, 2002, at 11:16 PM, jim jordan wrote:
The important thing about getting an old Silex is the quality of the 
gasket.  Old cracked rubber does not work.  There are two neck sizes, 
wide and narrow, and it is almost impossible to get replacement gaskets 
for the narrow models.  Putting together a working Silex should be seen 
as a long term hobby/collector  project.  If you want to make better 
coffee now, get one of the new ones.
Jim Gundlach
roasting over pecan wood fires
in La Place, Alabama
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6) From: Mike McGinness
I'll ditto Lubos comments on the Bodum eVac. It's our first pot of the
morning during the work week brewing method of choice. It's convenient for
Debi to just grind the beans I measured out the night before in the Maestro,
pour them in the top of the eVac (water in the night before also), press
start, and take her shower. She then pours her cup and the remainder in
glass lined thermal carafe. (brew 30oz pot) I get up shortly after, turn on
Miss Silvia, pour my first (and worst cup) of the day from the thermal
carafe, drink it (or part of it) while Miss Silvia warming up... Ah, then
it's time for great coffee! 
BTW, $****ks has the clear currently on sale for $89.99, regularly $129...
Home Variable Variac Rockin' Rosto Roasting in Vancouver, WA USA
From: "Irene and Lubos Palounek" 
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7) From: John - In Deep Southern Texas
    I'm a proud owner of a couple of systems, and love my Cona for a couple
of reasons.  First is the excellent coffee it produces every time.  We've
pondered the thought of running some commercial coffee through it just to
see the improvement - but then it would still be commercial.   The second
reason is that it is a very attractive piece of art sitting on the dinning
table or its storage shelf.  The only thing in my coffee list that gets more
oohs and aahs is the Walnut Zassenhaus grinder which sits next to it. People
are spell bound as they watch the brewing process.  It has almost replaced
any after dinner entertainment.  And if you are looking to spend the money -
this guy will take a chunk.   We have another (remain nameless) vacuum pot
that just doesn't produce the quality coffee and is no fun to watch.
John - trying to figure out what bean I used for this incredible cup of

8) From: David Marley
I use a Yama for my every day vac pot.  It isn't stylish but it gets the job
done and I can use it on the stove.  It is a great beginner pot because the
cloth filter is a little more forgiving for stalls.  The Bodum varieties
have already been mentioned (i'm undecided at the moment, but I look forward
to the Jr.).  The Cona and Hario models are very elegant and functional.  I
agree with John that guests will be in awe of coffee from it.
Unfortunately, I am not sure if they come over to see me or my Hario
Technica!  Don't start with it, but the Royal Balance and Cafitino Balance
brewers are SWEET.  They will cost you more then just paint money though....
You can't really appreciate them until you have seen them work in front of
you and see the quality of craftsmanship.  I'd say go with the Yama or Cona
if you can afford it (conveniently located on the SM website!).
David Marley

9) From: JB Christy
The Bodum eVac/*$$ Utopia is what got me started home roasting.  Vacuum brewing
really does make a dramatically better brew, and the eVac is remarkably
Two points, however:
1) I ended up giving mine to my sister because the eVac, like most vacuum pots,
works best when full.  As a single coffee drinker, the eVac's 40 oz. was too
much for me; I only ever wanted to make a half pot.  And it really doesn't work
well for less then 30 oz.  The water goes north before it's hot and comes south
too quickly.  You can manage this by not putting the top on until the water's
gotten hot, but then you might as well have a manual brewer for $35.
2) I have to defer to Mike/Debi's experience of push the button and walk away,
but my sister finds the need to give the grounds a stir when about half the
water has made it north.  If not, sometimes the water fails to permeate the
grounds -- she gets pockets of dry, i.e. wasted, coffee, and the brew's
correspondingly weak.  [Mike, maybe that's why that's your "worst cup of the
I recommend that you "right-size" your pot.  Figure out how much you'll be
brewing at a time and get a vac pot that makes approx. that amount.  If you brew
a lot in the morning and less at night, you might even consider getting 2 pots
of different sizes.  Vac pots really do perform best when full.
BTW, I love my 20 oz. Yama.  I bought some Cory glass filter rods on eBay, and
tried a few until I found one that didn't stall.  Cheap, rugged and effective --
a good deal.  I tried buying some of the vintage ones from eBay, but always had
some trouble or other, usually a non-functional gasket.
Good luck!
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10) From: Shawn Svacha
I recently purchased a Hario, and love it but hated the wait.  I placed my order early Feb, and was told that the item was out of stock. I made a few calls during this time and was always told the item had to be shipped from Japan and that a glassware convention was delaying the order. I had to wait till early May before I was told the item was being discontinued and was asked if the Deco would be okay as a replacement.  I said sure and payed a few extra bucks for the coffee maker.  When it arrived, it was broken and it took UPS about two weeks to get it back to the retailer.  They sent me another one about a week later and I received it just fine.
I really like it and am very pleased with the quality of the glass.  I could have purchased a cheap one (under $75.00) sooner, but I wanted something that looked nice and that would last.  Hario glassware is very high quality.
Hope this helps,
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11) From: Penelope
Sometime around 09:01 6/27/02, John - In Deep Southern Texas typed:
What can one expect to pay for a new or used Cona ( of any of the all glass 
ones).  Are they still produced even?  I keep hearing about antique vac pot 
systems(Silex I think).  Thanks.
Just trying to work out my own  budget.  Actually, I am seriously looking 
into building my own glass vac pot  but would need to come in "under 
budget" to justify it I think ; "really, I'm saving money this way".
BTW, welcome aboard Jim.
--  --
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

12) From: John - In Deep Southern Texas
    The Cona is still in production, there was a period when I think the
Hiros weren't available (or part of their list).  Silex has been around
since  - I - was a child so they are probably the antiques being talked
about.  LIke a lot of things in life, part of the price is involved in pride
of ownership, reputation and quality.  I bought my Cona because it has the
best reputation for producing the best cup. I swallowed hard (on a small
fixed budget) and went for it and have never regreted it for a moment.
Building a glass vacuum pot is going to require some understanding of how
the vacuum is formed, and how much water it will pull and then maintain.
Lots of people have figured it out because there are lots of vacuum pots out
there - but its NOT something I'd want to try (and I use to skydive so I'm
no coward).   You can check out several of the systems at once on Tom &
Maria's site at:http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.brewers.vacuum.shtml   The
systems run between $60 - $150  but when you are considering them remember
reputatiion and quality - then you can settle on pride of ownership for
John - heading south again

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