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renatoa
03/01/2024 8:52 AM
nguyenanh, coffee drink ?

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Thoughts on vacuum pot brewing
allenb
I pulled out my trusty glass vacuum pot brewer this morning to see how a recently roasted Kenya would cup versus through the presspot and pourover. The impetus behind doing this was me remembering comments made by a coffee shop owner/manager many years ago when he did a one on one demo for me of a Cona D size brewer at a table off to the side. During the brew, I asked him why he didn't do an initial stir to wet the grounds nor any time during the brew. He stated emphatically, "you don't do that ever". I was very surprised since I had always been told this was a necessary step to prevent under extraction of the grounds that stay dry on top for a while but he had done cupping tests and found it best to leave it alone.
This morning, I brewed the Kenya and decided to use his method and it took all of my ability to not knock those dry grounds down during the first minute. With a minimal heat setting on the stovetop and a low bubbling agitation, the grounds were all wetted by minute 2 1/2 and as is the case for a typical vacuum brew, all grounds had dropped from the waters surface by 3 1/2 minutes. I ended the steeping by pulling the brewer off the stovetop at minute 5. I've found 4 minutes not sufficient in my experience.

While this wasn't a side by side cupping analysis, the results were excellent and cupped better than my presspot and better than pourover with more available spice and chocolate notes. I hadn't had my vacuum pot out of the closet for at least a year and a half but after this brew, will be keeping it front and center!
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
ihomeroast
Awesome reminder to break out my vacuum pot. Thanks! Since the vacuum pot requires a coarser grind (both my Cory and my Silex have glass rods), the coffee to water ratio must be increased. What ratio do you find works best for you?
Dave Kvindlog
Roasting since 2007 via popcorn popper and heat gun / dog bowl. Brewing via Technivorm Moccamaster, Cory and Silex vacuum pots, Aeropress, French press x 4, Moka pot, Clever Coffee Dripper, ceramic pour over, and Cory percolator.
 
CK
Interesting read Allen. Although I haven't tried this brew method, it shows there can be many variables for producing great coffee... beans, grind size, timing, stirred or not, etc. Of notice to me is that this method is using water just a hint off of boiling and works great for flavour as you mention. The Aeropress GO I use from time to time recommends water at 80 Celsius and also yields a great cup. The SCAA and other organizations have other temperatures as standard... pretty big margins of difference for all of us who want to experiment away from normal standards. Enjoy your new front and center setup.ThumbsUp
 
renatoa
I had a syphon interlude years ago, and the most unpleasing fact I remember, for my wife especially, that this machine extracts and separate all the oils from the coffee.
I mean I had large spots of oil on the surface, not like an emulsion suspended inside the drink...
Tried various filters, paper and tissue, and no success to remove this annoyance.
Anyone experimented something similar ?
Edited by allenb on 12/19/2022 12:02 PM
 
allenb

Quote

ihomeroast wrote:

Awesome reminder to break out my vacuum pot. Thanks! Since the vacuum pot requires a coarser grind (both my Cory and my Silex have glass rods), the coffee to water ratio must be increased. What ratio do you find works best for you?


Hi Dave, for vacuum pot I use a little over a 1:16 ratio since, as you mentioned, need a little more to achieve the same solids extraction. I know what you mean about needing a coarser grind when using the glass rods. Too fine and they can lock up which is a real bummer to say the least. I'm using a Nicro stainless two piece filter which does a real good filtration but doesn't require grinding as coarse. But, even with using the same grind particle size as my presspot and pourover, it needs a higher ratio.
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
allenb

Quote

CK wrote:

Of notice to me is that this method is using water just a hint off of boiling and works great for flavour as you mention.


I'm at sea level but for some reason I measured the steep temperature to be close to 199F (92.7C) instead of boiling point at sea level. For some reason, even with all of the steam bubbles rising up through the upper chamber, it doesn't take it to 212F which is a good thing as I do not like coffee brewed at 212F. Seems to destroy certain flavor notes.
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
allenb

Quote

renatoa wrote:

I had a syphon interlude years ago, and the most unpleasing fact I remember, for my wife especially, that this machine extracts and separate all the oils from the coffee.
I mean I had large spots of oil on the surface, not like an emulsion suspended inside the drink...
Tried various filters, paper and tissue, and no success to remove this annoyance.
Anyone experimented something similar ?



I've never experienced this with my vacuum brewers but all of my brews have been with a light roasted coffee.
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
CK

Quote

allenb wrote:
I'm at sea level but for some reason I measured the steep temperature to be close to 199F (92.7C) instead of boiling point at sea level. For some reason, even with all of the steam bubbles rising up through the upper chamber, it doesn't take it to 212F which is a good thing as I do not like coffee brewed at 212F. Seems to destroy certain flavor notes.


The riser pipe and the steeping vessel must cool the boiled water down just the right amount. The temperature reading is an added bonus for us. That's similar to how the Moccamaster design works... just enough travel distance providing heat loss before soaking the grinds. Nice!
 
exer31337
Anyone notice a difference between a clever brewer and a vacuum brewer? The only real difference I notice so far is the clever is cleaner since I run it through a paper filter vs the screen that it comes with. Especially when you add the coffee after the water. It takes about 10-20 seconds longer to brew than the vacuum, not enough to justify the price of a siphon brewer vs a clever. I just switched to a mochamaster for large brews as it taste better then my siphon and am giving my KitchenAid Siphon away to someone at the gym.

The siphon is one of the better brewers I've had, and I've had more than a few, but in hinde sight I would have just gone with the clever for my morning cup.
 
allenb

Quote

exer31337 wrote:

Anyone notice a difference between a clever brewer and a vacuum brewer? The only real difference I notice so far is the clever is cleaner since I run it through a paper filter vs the screen that it comes with. Especially when you add the coffee after the water. It takes about 10-20 seconds longer to brew than the vacuum, not enough to justify the price of a siphon brewer vs a clever. I just switched to a mochamaster for large brews as it taste better then my siphon and am giving my KitchenAid Siphon away to someone at the gym.

The siphon is one of the better brewers I've had, and I've had more than a few, but in hinde sight I would have just gone with the clever for my morning cup.


I experimented with a Bodum Santos electric vacuum pot many years ago and it, like the Kitchenaid siphon brewer, was an auto-electric with plastic mesh screen for a filter. It unfortunately suffered from three primary problems. One, without being able to carefully control the heat input during the steeping phase, it steeped at too hot of a temperature and agitation was violent, two, steep time was too short (normally around 2-2 1/2 minutes before pulldown started) three, due to the mesh screen, it pulled an overly large amount of fines into the brew at pulldown. While I had some brews that were somewhat ok, most were too weak from under extraction and flavor and mouthfeel was off due to the huge amount of fines.
I'm hoping the engineers at Kitchenaid were able to overcome some of these shortcomings found with the Bodum. Have you had the opportunity to use a good quality manual vacuum pot brewer without the mesh screen filter?
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
exer31337
I did not have any of those problems with the KitchenAid. It also had a cloth screen to put over the mesh for finer grinds. I think 2 minutes is plenty of time for an immersion brew. The fancy English guy posted a video on the clever and that is the recommended brew length 2-2:30. It made an excellent cup of coffee, I just don't think it was better than the clever, and the clever is $30 or less.
 
exer31337


Give that a try with the clever, let me know how it compares to the fancy vacuum.
Edited by renatoa on 12/21/2022 1:58 AM
 
Birdman
I had a vac pot many years ago. Stove top, all glass with a wire protector under the bottom to protect the glass. It made OK coffee, and was fun to watch, but was a PITA to clean. More trouble than it was worth.
 
renatoa
Clever is nothing else than a filter coffee machine where you remove the glass during infusion.
The valve will not let water flow, and the coffee will infuse in the whole water volume.
The resulting taste should be the same, there is no reason to be different.

The syphon principle is different, a lot... especially the final water suction, which is spectacular Grin
 
allenb

Quote

renatoa wrote:

Clever is nothing else than a filter coffee machine where you remove the glass during infusion.
The valve will not let water flow, and the coffee will infuse in the whole water volume.
The resulting taste should be the same, there is no reason to be different.

The syphon principle is different, a lot... especially the final water suction, which is spectacular Grin


Where the two are similar is that the coffee is steeped in a vessel prior to dropping into a receiver. Where they diverge is this: In a vacuum brewer, there is agitation of the coffee via rising steam bubbles versus a static bed of coffee floating on the surface prior to pulldown. Another divergence is that a vacuum brewer maintains a stable steeping temperature throughout the brew versus whatever drop there may be in the clever prior to pulldown. In addition, for classic vacuum brewers using either the cory style glass rod or the chicago nicro style stainless filter causes the coffee bed laying on the bottom to become the actual filtering agent versus a paper filter.

Because of these differences, there is necessarily a noticeable difference in flavor profile between the two methods.
Is one superior to the other? Not to me. As with all of the available brewing methods, if careful attention is paid to proper grind, water temperature, steep time, proper filtration etc. one can achieve amazing results from both.
Edited by allenb on 12/21/2022 8:11 AM
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
allenb

Quote

exer31337 wrote:

I did not have any of those problems with the KitchenAid. It also had a cloth screen to put over the mesh for finer grinds. I think 2 minutes is plenty of time for an immersion brew. The fancy English guy posted a video on the clever and that is the recommended brew length 2-2:30. It made an excellent cup of coffee, I just don't think it was better than the clever, and the clever is $30 or less.


While its true that coffee steeped less than 4 minutes can achieve excellent flavor, in my cupping tests and a multitude of testing at SCAA, certain varietal notes and especially certain spice and floral notes can only be coaxed out of the coffee by extending to 4 minutes.

Of particular interest to note, cupping tests of coffees with various taints or roasting defects have shown that steeping less than a 4 minute average and/or steeping with less than ideal water temperatures have the ability to mask the defects and the fact that it isn't able to extract all of the available minute flavor notes is typically an acceptable tradeoff for most people.
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
allenb
This morning's vacuum brew in the process


1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
allenb
For those who may not be familiar with the cory glass rod and the nicro stainless metal filter, here's a couple of images of them. I am using the nicro stainless filter which works well with the Yama 8 cup.
allenb attached the following images:
cory_glass_rod.jpg nicro_stainless_filter_with_spring.jpg

1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
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