The set-up

This is the set-up. The clutter on the left is a vacuum coffee brewer. The thing in the middle is my cheesy home blade grinder, and on the right is a half of a pound of Ethiopian beans, Yirgacheffe in origin. The tomatoes are...well, forget about them.


The beans are dropped in (I use a rough measurement of two heaping tablespoons per six ounces of water) and ground. This thing is pretty trashy, but it gets the job done with a moderate degree of success.

Brewing process

This is how it works-- the bottom half is filled with water. The top has the ground coffee. There is a filtering device between the two halves. You turn the thingy on. It heats up the water, creating pressure with the vapors (or something). The water is then vacuumed to the upper portion of the brewer....

Finished brewing process

...like this. The boiling water and grounds swirl around in the upper portion for a short amount of time. After a minute or so, the heat is shut off, and the gravity (and lack of pressure) draws the coffee to the bottom half, leaving the grounds in the top for easy cleaning.


Like so. See the heat slinking away from the mug? Wunderbar. That's enough for several cups right there. The entire process, including grind, set-up and brewing, took seven minutes.

Why is this a good thing? While autodrip brewers are incredibly common, vacuum brew pots were fairly common in post-WWII American society. They're actually speedier than autodrips, and they don't filter out the beans' natural oils--that's a sad side effect of a paper filter. And while commercial autodrip makers do a good job overall, home units--one item most coffee-drinking Americans own--are really flawed: they don't actually heat the water to the proper temperature. Vacuum brewers do, even though it makes them very, very, very hot to touch when the process is done.

Vacuum makers--and to an extent drip brewers--are also great for lighter-bodied beans, like this Ethiopian. It accentuates the bite. Yum!

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 9/07/2006 10:17:00 AM,


At 1:15 PM, Blogger lucas said...


have you tried Pura Vida coffee? it's shade grown organic stuff and the company is non-profit, so your money goes toward helping the communities that grow the beans.

also, it's damned good.

At 10:27 PM, Blogger Erica said...

My granpa has one of these different model, but still a vacuum type. I can second you're opinion here, it really is wunderbar.

At 10:38 PM, Blogger Erica said...

Wow. That was quite bad. Let's try that again, shall we?


"My grandpa has one of these. It's a different model, but still a vacuum type. I can second your opinion here, it really is wunderbar."

Thank you. I'll try not to type any more while under the influence of allergy meds.

At 11:27 PM, Blogger Keith Martel said...

mmmm, very nice. i don't see a timer to set before I go to bed though...

glad you're doing the year-o-blog. and I won't snicker if we can be co-mentors. I am continually inspired by your creativity and (a)vocational diligence.

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Lucas-- I know about Pura Vida (you're the second person to mention them to me this week, actually), but haven't tried. I'm a big fan of Grounds for Change, shade-grown/organic/bird friendly stuff. It's not a non-profit, but at least it has the Fair Trade aspect going for it.

Erica-- can I have some of those allergy meds?

Keith-- co-mentors = cool. Timers = for sissies.

At 9:15 PM, Blogger Buddy Chamberlain said...

It reminds me of how my Iraqi teacher made coffee. Except they just had this filter thing they put in the boiling water...

Anyway, where can I get one of those thing-a-majigs?


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