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Re: [vacpot] Another thought on Grounds.

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  • Ian Bersten
    It is important to understand the process of making coffee in a vac pot. There are three distinct phases. 1. Boiling the water so that it passes through the
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 8, 2013
      It is important to understand the process of making coffee in a vac pot.  There are three distinct phases.
      1. Boiling the water so that it passes through the grounds and creates turbulence for good brewing.
      2. Leaving the water in contact for brewing. Fine for best flavour, coarse for weaker.
      3. Filtering.  The filtering should NOT be accorded a role in the brewing process - it is simply there to separate the grounds from the liquid. It follows that it does not matter if the filtering is fast or slow as long as it is efficient. The coffee has already been brewed.

      Stalling is bad and can be avoided by using coarser coffee.  If you wish to get really good flavouring from coarse grounds then you must use more of them to compensate for the lower surface area.

      If you wish to wet the grounds I am of the opinion ( i.e. not sure) that it makes no difference if you use cold or hot water.  I suspect that the act of wetting serves to separate the macro molecul;es from the edges of teh grounds and gently deposit them into the interstices of the bed of coffee and effectively block it up - hence the slower brewing.  If you pour water over the bed of grounds you wull get turbulence and the smalles particles will only settle slowly into the interstices.

      Good luck

      On 9/09/2013 10:09 AM, larryhollenb@... wrote:

      In our vacuum pots stalling is not a good thing.. In the various other kinds of pots the same thing can happen.  The worst is when some types of pots tended to let the water though so quickly as to make colored water instead of coffee.  I know the saying is grind it very fine for the best flavor. I have no question that the experiment works fine for the difference in extraction between coarse and very find grinds left to steep in a hot pot of water..  

      The problem as I see it comes in when using such a find grind backs up the water, say in a drip or percolator type pot and they overflow the baskets causing the  grounds to go into the coffee pot and making the wait for the water to finish dripping though the grounds sometimes endless.  

      On the end where it goes though too quickly I toyed with and read ideas on line that might help..  Some how I had not read much about sprinkling some cold water over the grounds in the pot while your waiting for the boiling or near boiling water to pour though them.  I have several pots where that has made a fairly useless design from my past experience work rather well. 

      One is the late Tricolator with the 50's modern look. the Queen style I think some call it. That tended to rush the water though if simply poured over the grounds.  But with the recommended paper filter in place and soaking the grounds with some cool water enough to dampen the basket, then it goes though much slower. Probably up to 10 times slower from what I am seeing.  Another item where that helps but didn't totally cure is the odd silex drip pot with the large ceramic filter that takes the silex type cloth cover.  Its not good at refraining the grounds from getting around the cover and usually makes a very fast pass though the grounds..  Dampening them can slow it and sometimes if enough grounds are used it can be drinkable, but generally it still pushes enough of the grounds off that rounded large filter to make weak coffee.    Another place I just found it has an advantage is my grandmothers wedding present porcelain drip pot which I had never figured out how to make any coffee worth drinking in.. The same technique made that also slow way down and decent results.. 

      Of course the grind plays a part here as well. Pots that stall I find the larger Drip or even Perk setting will let the coffee though, and when pre dampened it seems to slow it enough to make better coffee.  Too fine a grind and as I mentioned I get a stall. 

      I found an interesting early pot at a flea market yesterday. Its a Marion Harland infuse pot.  I had no idea what it was but quickly found an ad for it on ebay as well as a number of google book sites where they discuss various early coffee making designs. They mentioned the cold water playing a part in some of those books as well.  The pot is in fair shape for being over 100 years old. But I had a minor disaster with it while trying to clean it up.. I had it soaking with baking soda to get rid of the old odors and dishwashing powder I had used to clean it also.. When I went to toss out the water the slippery pot went with it.. I hit the sidewalk and dented in the front bottom breaking the solder seam.. At first I was going to pitch it, but I decided to try to save it enough to try a few times.. I used a small ball peen hammer to push the dent back out and a pliers to straighten up the seam.. Then I used JB Weld to seal the area where the water way gushing out the bottom..  ( I looked up the JB Weld and its nontoxic).  I will be curious to see how it works out. 


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