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Topic: Vacuum Coffee Brewers?? (19 msgs / 435 lines)
1) From: golfin
Hello All, 
Just a question I have been pondering for awhile now. Should I purchase a
Vacuum Coffee Brewer or not ?  It looks like a lot of extra work compared to 
my expresso or drip coffee makers. Is the taste of the coffee made with it 
that much different ?  Are there any special models to look at if I do 
indeed purchase one ? This is an expensive hobby, but a very tasty one to 
say the least. 
Thanks 
Paul Covert...
Newbie of Coffee Roasting.
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2) From: John Abbott
Paul,
	I use a Cona vacuum pot and could never go back to a drip brew.  Yes, it
takes a little extra effort, but that effort becomes routine instantly when
you taste the results. The routine in our home is to preheat the water in an
electric kettle (the only extra step) and then to sit back and watch the
show as the coffee works its way to the top, and then return to the bottom
as a most excellent brew.  We use it for company meals and all conversation
turns to the Cona when it is started.  I bought my Cona based on Tom's
recommendation as "The King of Coffee Brewers"http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.brewers.vacuum.shtml Tom also sells the
Bodum and Yama brewers so he would know.
John

3) From: Fulton Martin
--On 12/18/02 7:53 AM -0700 golfin wrote:
<Snip>
Hi, Paul,
I'd say you should... There is extra work involved and it's messier,
but the coffee is so much better that it's worth it. 
It's been more expensive for me, too, because I keep breaking 'em. I
chipped the bottom of the funnel on my Bodum before it was two months
old. I kept using it, but got a Yama to supplement it right away. I
broke the funnel on that within six months, and got a similar sized
Hario because it looked like the funnel would fit, and Hario sells
replacement parts (where Yama doesn't). But a replacement funnel for
the Hario is almost as expensive as a complete Yama, so the next time I
ordered from Sweet Maria's, I bought *two* Yama's, so I'd have a spare.
Good thing, too, because within a month I broke the bottom globe.
Somewhere in there, I also got a FSD stainless steel one, which is what
I use on Sundays when I need to make more than the two+ cups the Yama
is perfect for. Wish I could find a SS pot that made 22 ounces...
As for what models you should look at, it kind of depends on how much
coffee you want to make and how much money you're willing to spend. The
Cona that Tom sells is very nice (as John testifies), although it makes
more coffee than I usually drink in one sitting. (Besides, given my
history, I don't think I could afford to keep myself supplied with
them.) The Yama is great for a two-cup breakfast (or one each for you
and your sweetie, if she's a coffee drinker). Hario makes a pretty
complete line (I don't think they go any bigger than the Yama) of
smaller 
makers if you only want one cup. And the aforementioned SS one from
Food Service Direct is pretty good for when you need 48 ounces. (I've
taken it camping--nothing like making *good* coffee for a bunch of guys
who typically settle for instant in the wild.)
Fulton Martin
__=o&o>__
fulton
San Diego, CA
N32 43.956, W117 05.874
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4) From: Owen Davies
Paul asked:
<Snip>
Well worth doing, IMHO, if only to see what an amazing difference the
brewing method can make in the final product.  We recently graduated
from an automatic drip maker to a Chambord French press, which has
since been supplemented by a Bodum Santos vac pot.  I prefer the
French press for morning coffee, in part because the 12-tasse Chambord
is larger than the Santos and still is barely big enough for our two cups
each, but mostly because at that time of the morning I'll happily sacrifice
subtlety for power.  However, when testing a new coffee, the vac pot
is definitely first choice.  It retains a lot more of the unique
characteristics
of the coffee.
However, there is an exception.  Predictably, it's a coffee that does not
have much in the way of varietal characteristics.  I have not gotten into
home roasting yet (it's coming soon!), and the only drinkable coffee
available at local stores in our area is Starbucks French roast.  If you
are half asleep and make it in the French press, it's better than anything
we had used in the filter machine.  Make it in the vac pot, however,
and there is no flavor worth mentioning, little more than charcoal water.
You may well find that the results from the vac pot with some coffees
do not suit you as well as those from the filter.  (Note that I've never
had *$ FR from a filter; no idea how it compares with the others or
whether those results could be projected to other coffees.)
One way or another, it's well worth trying.
Owen Davies
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5) From: John Abbott
Owen!  As long as you've been on this list and you STILL aren't drinking
real coffee!!  I would think that by now you'd just have to see what real
coffee is all about. The best brewing method on earth cannot make bad coffee
good, only better.  You are in for a thrill when you finally taste freshly
roasted coffee!!
John

6) From: Owen Davies
John Abbott wrote:
<Snip>
coffee
<Snip>
Hey, John, it can't have been more than a month.  Well, okay, six weeks
at the outside.  I'm a compulsive researcher, and I've spent the time well.
At this point, there isn't much doubt that I will go with a Rosto, add a
Variac after a little experience, and be happy with them for a long time.
Any less info-gathering, and I'd have worried forever that my choice
had been a mistake.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good cup!
Owen
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7) From: Ben Treichel
My 0.02$, a vac pot is better than a french press (used for travel, 
now). The question that you should be asking (IMHO) is if the coffee 
from a vac pot is better than an americano. I'm still trying to figure 
that out myself.
golfin wrote:
<Snip>
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8) From: John Abbott
YES!!!

9) From: Wendy Sarrett
Hi Paul,
The big advantage is you can grind finer than a drip without getting
sediment.  I have found I have to do things right (I'm a relative
newbie) or I get a weak cup from my Yama.   The way it worked best for
me is to heat the water to the resiquite 195-200 degrees in the bottom
globe on close to medium heat on my electric burner, stick the top globe
on.  At that temp the trip "up north" is very quick.  Let it brew for at
least a minute (if it starts bubbling two vigorusly at that point I turn
the heat down) and then take it off the heat and it takes a few seconds
and it starts the trip back "south."  I found if I don't heat the water
on at least close to medium it takes too long to get to the proper temp
and the one time I had the heat set too low resulting pot wasn't as
strong as I'd like. (Could have been another cause such as the grind,
etc.) I found using a standard kitchen termometer to get the water temp
right was really helpful. (I also use that when I heat water for french
press brewing.)  I do like the Yama as a choice because it's well made
but reasonablely priced.  Note that since the vac pots tend to be glass
you have to be careful with them.  Also, I store the filter assembly in
water in the fridge (as was recommended on one of the message boards)
and I've also been told that soaking the filter assemply in boiling
water with oxyclean gets rid of the sediment and makes it seem like new.
It's really not hard once you get the hang of it but I don't use it as
my workday brewer as I don't want to worry about boiling water when I'm
rushing about getting ready to leave...I use the drip pot for that.
With the swiss gold filter it does a decent job.
Wendy
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10) From: Ben Treichel
Actually I use the same Bodum pot to heat the water for the vac pot as I 
do for the french press. I pour the water in the bottom, and put the 
burner on high. Once i get the first bubble, i place the top on. As soon 
as all of the water has transferred, I turn the burner to half heat, and 
wait two minutes. I then move the pot to a clod burner, and try to 
remember to turn off the burner.
Wendy Sarrett wrote:
<Snip>
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11) From: David Westebbe
<Snip>
Get a Sunbeam Coffeemaster C20A on eBay.  It might be cheap (I paid $8 plus
shipping) and it might work very well.  It is completely automatic.  It is a
PITA to clean (but no nmore so than any other vac pot), but the dishwasher
does a good job.
I'm having a lot of fun with mine, and it makes great coffee.  I've heard
mixed reviews from other people, so YMMV.
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12) From: David Westebbe
<Snip>
<Snip>
I've got two words for you, Owen:  Mail order.
 If you
<Snip>
My sincere condolences.  My guess is that your filter machine is defective.
What type of machine do you have?
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13) From: Owen Davies
David Westebbe helpfully wrote:
<Snip>
Any specific suggestions?  My wife and I tend to prefer dark-roasted,
full-bodied coffees--which the *$ sort of resembles if you're still
sleepy enough.  Our favorite coffees to date, not available here, have
been two French roasts:  an Ethiopian yrgacheffe and a Papua New
Guinea.  The notion of dark-roasting either of these coffees seems
bizarre to most of the folks I've talked to, but at least a little of the
varietal nature still came through.  At this point, if I were roasting
them myself, I might leave them just a tiny bit lighter.
<Snip>
defective.
<Snip>
The usual Mr. Coffee.  I assume it works just as it was intended too--
brews too cold, and absorbs tasty oils on the paper.  At this point,
I'd replace it with better, but would sooner spend that $150 or so
on a roaster, beans, downpayment on a Rocky, or something like
that.  If we really want filter coffee (much as I'd love to have it
waiting for us in the morning!), we'll pick up a Chemex.  Unless
someone has a better idea.
Thanks.
Owen
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14) From: Ben Treichel
I checked the temperature on a few black and decker single cup machines, 
and they go get up to the proper temp, and brew into a thermal cup. $20, 
or less. ( I give them to family along with beans and a whirly grinder 
to get them into better coffee).
Owen Davies wrote:
<Snip>

15) From: David Westebbe
<Snip>
I'd try Peets, if you like dark roasts.  Myself, I was happy withhttp://www.armeno.comfor many, many years.  However, they are close by
where I live, so shipping was overnight even though it was UPS Ground.
They do the typical Full City for just about everything, but for a few
coffees that they think work well, they do a Vienna and French Roast as
well.
 If we really want filter coffee (much as I'd love to have it
<Snip>
The Mr. Coffee is not worth using.  You are just wasting coffee.  There
exist competent auto drip machines for around $100, and you could also, for
just about no money, get a mug-top drip filter holder.  That  way, you can
control the water temp and brew time accurately.
Have fun!
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16) From: Owen Davies
Among other helpful suggestions, David Westebbe wrote:
<Snip>
Yup!
<Snip>
Not anymore.
<Snip>
for
<Snip>
Might do that, though we've always liked the Chemex; just never got around
to replacing the last one after we broke it.
How do you control the brew time with a drip filter holder?  I'd have
assumed that the only controlling factors were the density of the mass
of grinds and the porosity of the filter.
Thanks for the suggestions.
Owen
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17) From: David Westebbe
<Snip>
By how fast you pour the water through.  You could pour it real slow and
drag out the time during which the coffee is saturated.
OTOH, if you were to fill up the filter basket with water, the grind is the
factor that determines how fast it will drip through.
Some people swear by 4 minutes. YMMV :)
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18) From: David Lewis
At 9:53 AM -0500 12/19/02, Owen Davies wrote:
<Snip>
Well, after home roasting, anything through the mail is tough, if 
only because it's fairly expensive to get it shipped quickly enough. 
If you can get a couple of friends so that the shipping doesn't kill 
you, though, Supreme Bean in LA does a great job with Papua New 
Guinea near where you like it: there's a light coating of oil on the 
beans. . If you're saving now, you should be 
ready when Tom gets the new Hearthware in.
Best,
	David
-- 
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or 
that we are to stand by the President right or wrong, is not only 
unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American 
public."
     -- Theodore Roosevelt
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19) From: Owen Davies
David Lewis offered:
<Snip>
Now, that does sound good!  That's exactly what I'd hoped for,
someone who could give from experience the details that the
Web sites omit.  There's nothing on the page at joetogo that
would have told me how they roast their PNG, and it makes
all the difference.  Many thanks.
Owen
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