For those of you that followed my series on coffee and coffee related products, you’ll note there is a sizable gap. I was undergoing a home remodel and had engaged an dishonest contractor. I spent most of my time attempting to get satisfaction and destroy said business. I am happy to report nearly all the work was completed and the company is out of business. Now, time for coffee
Today friends we will be exploring vacuum brewing. Fans of Breaking Bad may remember Libertarian Gale’s coffee brewing contraption, which he claimed made the best possible cup of coffee. Walt seemed to agree. That was an overly complex representation of what is a simple brewing method. A Vacuum brewer or siphon brewer is composed of two chambers connected with a tube, covered with a filter and sealed with a gasket. Course ground coffee is placed in the upper chamber and fresh water poured into the lower chamber. The contraption is place on a heat source (burner) and as the water temperature rises, pressure forces the water into the upper chamber where it saturates the coffee grounds. Give the coffee slurry a little stir and wait one minute before removing from heat. As the lower chamber cools, a vacuum is created which draws the brewed coffee back into the lower chamber. It is a mesmerizing process as you anxiously wait for the water to boil and exhilarating to watch the coffee magically pulled back into the lower chamber. To serve, remove the top chamber and place it in its holder. The lower chamber is now just a regular pot of coffee. Put on your ‘Flo’ name tag and top off everyone’s mug. The unit I bought is made by Yama for $62, serves 8 cups and looks like meth making equipment. All but your most jaded friends will be impressed by this bad boy.
Personally I’m a function over form kind of guy and don’t give a darn how something looks if it does not work. So does it make good coffee? Absolutely. Vacuum brewing extracts coffee at a lower temperature than traditional brewing methods and is sort of like a hybrid between cold brew and drip coffee. So if you like the low acid, sweeter taste of cold brew coffee, but don’t like waiting a day or two for the process, a vacuum brewer may be the choice for you. Once you learn the process a vacuum brewer is idiot proof. Vacuum brewers don’t have many variables other than you can adjust grind and steep time, but that is it. Water temp is controlled by the atmosphere and I have no idea how this method works at different altitudes. The cup is very clean thanks to the cloth filter, which to my palate is between a metal mesh filter and paper filter for preserving origin flavor. If you like to make quick coffee with little clean up, this is definitely not the method for you, because it make a big mess every time I use the Yama. It is also the slowest brew method with the exception of cold brewing. A hack I have learned is to pre-heat the water in a kettle and then place the brewer on the stove. Another strike against the Yama is that it is big. I have to store it in a separate cabinet away from all my other brew methods because it is so tall. Despite these short falls the Yama is in regular rotation for when guest are present. It is the largest volume coffee maker I own and it never fails to grab people’s attention. The Yama is unique in aesthetics, taste and function and definitely the most impressive to behold while working.
Fresh Grounds and water
Place over medium heat
Once water reaches top chamber give a stir and wait one minute
After one minute remove from heat and wait for coffee to return to lower chamber
Serve ONLY in Glibs branded mug
people will think you’re a mad scientist
you friends will be impressed
Makes enough to serve multiple people or yourself multiple times
fragile and bulky
slow to brew
clean up is difficult because of shape and number of parts.