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Making vacuum pot easy

April 05, 2011

I've sung the praises before of the vertiginous glories of cloth-filtered vacuum pots. The cloth allows a little bit of insolubles through, which really accentuates the aroma of the coffee and contributes to a lush mouth-feel. 

 However, I'm now an apostate when it comes to cloth filters because I feel that they have a low tolerance for user error. If you don't tie the filter properly, if you don't clean the filter properly, if you don't seat it properly...you can have some literally disgusting results. There are technical reasons for this but I'm not really in a mood to get into that (and I don't think anyone cares to read about it!).

So, what is the vac-pot user left to do?

 There are glass rods. Clean-up is simple. They're pretty reliable, although sometimes they can clog and "stall" and become more than a little dangerous. They also let in quite a bit of soot and, even if you let that sediment settle before decanting once or twice, the coffee isn't that clean-tasting. If you like oily, rich brews, I'd recommend cloth-drip. ROASTe sells the Yama sock pot, which I think is a very nice and affordable way to make coffee.

There are metal filters. No stalling issues here and cleaning up isn't that hard. ROASTe sells an example of this. Coava will, I'm told, issue a DISK sort of filter that I anticipate will be very effective.

Perhaps the best way to take advantage of a vac pot is to use paper filtration. If you have a two-part filter (easily acquired...the metal piece that ROASTe sells is an example of one), what you can do is simply put a paper filter in there. I'm partial to Filtropa and, even better, Hario filters: they're made without toxins and the Hario stuff in particular is nearly taste-free. What I like to do is a cut a circle filter and place it into the two-part assembly. It's quick and easy and makes a clean brew, by which I mean (1) there's no sediment (2) excellent flavor clarity. The mouthfeel isn't so lush as it is with a cloth filter, but you don't have to worry about filter taint. Fair trade-off if you ask me.

 I know that vac pots are quite popular here at ROASTe--they're among the site's bestsellers--and hopefully some of y'all will find this helpful.





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