Vacuum Coffee HQ

Northwest Glass Yama TCA-5D Review

So you like coffee and you like flair — but you also like cheap.  The Northwest Glass Yama TCA-5D is the vacuum coffee maker you are looking for.  For right around $50.00, you get a stylish, sturdy, entry-level coffee maker made of heat resistant borosilicate glass that comes in either a 15-oz. or 20-oz. capacity (and with a negligible price difference between the two sizes, you know you want the larger one!).  The Yama TCA-5D comes with a soot-free denatured alcohol burner, the fuel for which can be found at any home improvement store.

One thing to take into consideration with the Yama TCA-5D is the temperature at which the alcohol burner burns.  The Yama TCA-5D is designed to get your water a’moving, but not to actually push it over the boiling point.  This ensures that your coffee is not overheated and does not lose any flavor (or gain any undesirable flavors).  But because the alcohol burns cooler than, say, butane, this also means you are going to have to wait longer for your water to heat and your coffee to be done.  You have a few options.  You could use the wait as a time to reflect on the coming day, make breakfast — whatever it is you do in the morning.  You could preheat the water in a microwave or kettle before putting it in the Yama TCA-5D.  You could also just replace the alcohol burner with a butane burner.  Even with the additional cost of replacing the burner, you are still looking at an affordable way to break into vacuum coffee.

Habits and hobbies do no have to break the bank.  If you are looking for a quality and economical vacuum coffee maker that is perfect for everyday use, look no further than the Yama TCA-5D.  Both your tastebuds and your pocketbook will delight!

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Bodum Santos Stovetop Review

If any vacuum coffee maker can be described as elegant, it’s the Bodum Santos. This is the coffee maker you’re going to want to constantly have lying out and about so both you and your friends can admire its beautiful and award-winning design.

The Bodum Santos is not just nice to look at, it also brews a smooth cup of coffee without any of the bitterness you get from more conventional coffee set ups. It is constructed from high-quality, heat-resistant glass and has a stay-cool handle design, ensuring you never burn yourself reaching for your morning wake up. The Bodum Santos comes apart in seconds, allowing for quick and thorough cleaning.  With a 34-oz. capacity, you get about six 5-oz. cups of coffee, which makes it a perfect option for the hardcore solitary coffee drinker or the entertainer.  As for accessories, the Bodum Santos comes with a coffee scoop and resting stand.

Not only does this vacuum coffee maker have form and function going for it, it also has a great company history. Bodum is a trusted company with a long history of success. It began in 1944 in Copenhagen and went international shortly thereafter. Bodum is family owned and its conceptualization of design has garnered it many awards. Long story short: Bodum is a company you can put some serious stock in.

Will this work on my electric range?

The Bodum Santos will work on an electric stove top. Some people have reported having success brewing directly on the stove coils, but I recommend you get a diffuser to ensure even heat distribution.  You can find more about diffusers on our accessories page.  Whatever you do, make sure that there is always water in the carafe when the coffee maker is being heated.  If this precaution is not followed, you will wind up with cracked or broken glass and a useless Santos.

What else should I know?

One thing to keep in mind about the Bodum Santos is the filter. The factory filter that comes with the coffee maker is constructed of plastic and wire mesh and is picky about the consistency of the coffee grounds run through it. If your grounds are not just right, you might clog the filter and get a less than satisfactory cup of coffee. One solution is to put some time and energy into finding just the right grind of coffee or simply grind your own beans. If you decide to grind your own coffee beans, try keeping your them in the freezer (not the refrigerator) and using a burr grinder. Not everyone has that much space in their schedule, though, so another solution is to just purchase a Yama cloth filter and use that instead. You will have excellent coffee without any headache.

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Northwest Glass Yama Stovetop Vacuum Coffee Maker Review

I like the stylish flair of preparing vacuum coffee over an open flame, but there are times when it’s more practical to use a stovetop model.  If you find yourself needing the more practical model, try this vacuum coffee maker.

The 40-ounce capacity
of this siphon pot makes it one of the larger vacuum coffee makers on the market today.  It’s perfect for serving more than two.

Besides being dishwasher safe, another great feature of this vacuum pot is its heat-resistant handle.

Will this work on my electric range?

Yes, the Northwest Glass Yama Stovetop vacuum coffee maker will work on both electric ranges and gas burners.  This model includes a diffuser that with electric coil ranges, making this coffee maker one of the most versatile ones out there!

It’s Nice To Have Options

If you decide that 40-ounces is too much for you, check out the 22-ounce version that is on sale over at Amazon for only $29.99. Honestly, though, considering that the 40-ounce model is also on sale right now for only $6.01 more than the smaller one, I would recommend getting the big one.

Benefits At a Glance:

Check out what other are saying about this vacuum coffee maker, or click here to buy it now.

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Northwest Glass Ceramic Base Vacuum Coffee Maker Review

This stylish vacuum coffee maker has a 20-ounce capacity, which is perfect for a couple of mugs of coffee, or several espresso-sized cups.

The Northwest Glass Ceramic Base vacuum coffee maker makes a really smooth cup of coffee and, with the included butane burner, makes for a great showpiece.

Included with the coffee maker are a bamboo stir stick and, as mentioned, the butane burner.

What makes the butane burner so nice is that 1) it burns hotter, making your prep time shorter; and, 2) butane is the same fuel used in many cigarette lighters, which means it is often easier to find than alcohol fuel.

UPDATE: The price has recently been lowered over at Amazon.  Whereas the MSRP is $130, the online price has now dropped to $104.76!  Click here or on the “Buy Now” button (above) to take advantage of this sale right now.

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How To Brew Vac Pot Coffee

If you are using a cloth filter, be sure to soak it in hot water for at least a minute before beginning the brewing process.  The soaking helps the filter to stretch out to completely cover the opening of the siphon.  This is important as vacuum coffee is supposed to be clear of sediment.

In this case, I am using a 15-ounce vacuum pot.  You can adjust your ingredients according to the size of your vac pot.

  1. After the filter has soaked for at least a minute, position it over the opening of the siphon, in the upper chamber.  Drop the chain down the siphon and fasten to the bottom.  This keeps the filter secured over the siphon and prevents coffee grounds/sediment from getting into the final product.
  2. Pour hot water into the bottom chamber and put flame under it to begin boiling.  (I always use hot, but not boiling, water that I have heated on the stovetop to start as this speeds up the brewing process.)
  3. Add grounds to upper chamber.
  4. Place the upper chamber on top of the lower one, but do not seal them together yet.
  5. Once the water in the bottom chamber begins to boil, seal top and bottom together.  As the water continues to boil, it will be forced up into the upper chamber.  This is known as the “kick up”.
  6. Wait for the water to begin to fill the upper chamber.  Once it is about half-full of water, stir to mix the grounds.  It is traditional to use a bamboo stir stick, but you can also use a wooden or plastic stirring utensil. (Using a metal utensil can scratch the glass.)
  7. Once all the water has left the bottom chamber, shut off the heat source and let the coffee stand for a minute or so.  (Steep times may vary from pot to pot, so check the instructions that came with your equipment to get a specific time.)
  8. Break the seal between the two chamber, but do not completely disconnect the two chambers, as the coffee will now filter back down the siphon and into the bottom chamber.  This is known as the “kick down”.
  9. Once all the coffee has drained from the upper chamber, you may disconnect it and rinse.

Your coffee is now ready to drink.  You can serve it right out of the bottom chamber of your vac pot.

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What Is Vacuum Coffee?

The term vacuum coffee (also called “vac pot coffee” or “siphon coffee”) refers to a particular, increasingly popular coffee brewing process that utilizes a two-chamber system for brewing - an upper one and a lower one that seal together and are connected by a siphon.  The lower chamber holds the water as it is heated to a boil, once the water begins to boil, you connect the upper chamber to the lower one and seal them together.  The boiling of the water creates a vacuum which draws the water up through the connecting siphon and into the upper chamber, where the coffee grounds are.  After all the water has been forced into the upper chamber, the seal connecting the two chambers is broken, which allows the brewed coffee to re-enter the lower chamber (through a filter connected to the bottom of the upper chamber).  The result is a delicious and perfectly clean cup of coffee.

As stated above, one of the benefits of vacuum coffee is that it is very clean (no grounds or sediment in it) and crisp.  While French Press coffee, another popular coffee-brewing process, makes a bolder cup of coffee than the vac pot, a common complaint is that there is often a layer of sediment that collects at the bottom of the cup.  Often, this sediment washes out of the cup with the last sip, making for a very unpleasant end to an otherwise enjoyable cup o’ joe!

With vacuum coffee, there is none of that.  What’s left in the bottom chamber, at the end of the brewing process, is very clear, very sediment-free coffee.  Yum!

Not only does the vacuum process make clean, crisp coffee, but the brewing process is also quite theatrical.

Picture this: the bottom chamber is suspended from a stand, making it look like a beaker from mad scientist’s lab.  The vac pot is held over an open flame, and the science of a vacuum is employed to push the water upwards, creating an effect that seems to be nothing short of anti-gravity magic…  These all serve to transform the mundane task of “makin’ joe” into an entertaining event.  It would add a wonderful touch to your after-dinner refreshments, the next time you hosted some friends.

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