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Poor Man's Clover
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Discussions > Coffee > Machines > Poor Man's...  
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gt
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 210
Location: Mpls/St Paul MN
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: None
Grinder: Virtuoso
Drip: Cones & CCD
Roaster: P1 w/ variacs
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2007, 7:35pm
Subject: Re: Poor Man's Clover
 

I tried running 16 oz of plain hot water through my 90 mm filter and its pretty much 25 seconds with one Melitta filter and 30 seconds with 2 filters pumping as fast as I can.  Tomorrow Iíll try making coffee with 2 filters.

One thing that I keep running into is one or two big bubbles coming up under my paper filter near the start of the filtering process.  Tonight I left the pump off and filled the funnel with 200F water then plugged the hose with my finger and sure enough bubbles came up.  So it looks to me like my pump canít keep up with the expanding hot air when I start pumping.  I do find some grounds under the edge of the filter but the coffee seems very clean.  Iím wondering if you have found any of this bubbling up thing?
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WonderClown
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 220
Location: NC, USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gave away a Saeco Via Veneto...
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso, Zassenhaus
Drip: Buchner funnel + vacuum...
Roaster: WB Poppery I
Posted Wed Dec 12, 2007, 9:07pm
Subject: Re: Poor Man's Clover
 

I have never noticed the bubbling you describe, but  that doesn't mean it's not happening.  It does seem to me that sometimes after I have ejected the puck, it looks like some grounds slipped under the edge of the filter, but it's also possible that they got there during the process of blowing out the puck.  Nothing gets through to the cup anyway.

Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure it's not happening, because the pressure gauge on my pump shows that I maintain a vacuum in the flask the entire time.  I start the vacuum going with an empty funnel (wetted paper, though, so it sticks), and then pour the slurry in.  I pour a little bit slowly at first -- maybe that is the difference.  Or maybe it is just that you are pouring so much more in there.  Anyway, my gauge shows that I never lose vacuum pressure, or at least I've never noticed that it does.  I will pay closer attention to that next time, but my recollection is that I start with a mild vacuum that quickly increases after I pour the slurry in.

Are you using the hand pump or that electric pump you got?  Over on the homeroast mailing list (where I also just started a discussion of this method), somebody came up with the great idea of using a vacuum sealer (Foodsaver) with the vacuum hose attachment.  They just ordered their filtering equipment and so haven't tried the Foodsaver yet, but I'm sure it will work great.
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gt
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 210
Location: Mpls/St Paul MN
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: None
Grinder: Virtuoso
Drip: Cones & CCD
Roaster: P1 w/ variacs
Posted Thu Dec 13, 2007, 6:40am
Subject: Re: Poor Man's Clover
 

Everything Iíve been doing the last few days was with my hand pump.  Iíll be using my powered pump this weekend.  It seems like my hand pump has slowed down meaning it takes longer to retract after each pump plus the little relief lever doesnít work now.  Iíve got coffee in the pump a couple of times and I may have messed it up some.

The reason I get coffee in the pump is because the rubber stopper is too big and doesnít allow the end of the funnel to go down below the where the vacuum enters the flask (see my first picture above Ė setup).  When I pump the stream of coffee always wants to go over and get in the pump line.

I just made my first cup this morning and I filled the funnel completely full before I connected the pump and I didnít get any bubbling.  I think a little coffee dripping through heats the air and gets rid of the problem.  I just looked at the bottom side of filter paper and it is nice and clean this time.

When you say you start pumping and hear hissing then start pouring the mixture in, how soon does a reading show up on your gauge?  It take maybe 20 seconds before my gauge moves.
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gt
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 210
Location: Mpls/St Paul MN
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: None
Grinder: Virtuoso
Drip: Cones & CCD
Roaster: P1 w/ variacs
Posted Thu Dec 13, 2007, 7:35am
Subject: Re: Poor Man's Clover
 

I just made a second cup this morning using two Mellita filters and the total time was 1-min 15-sec which is better than with just one filter.  I now thinking with a good hand pump or especially an electric pump that I can get 16 oz through in under a minute.  This coffee is smooth and reminds me of AP coffee.  It just seems to me that forcing coffee through a compressed puck makes it smoother.

I'm thinking we should start looking for what's available in small AC powered vacuum pumps.  Something like aquarium pumps but vacuum instead.
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WonderClown
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 220
Location: NC, USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gave away a Saeco Via Veneto...
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso, Zassenhaus
Drip: Buchner funnel + vacuum...
Roaster: WB Poppery I
Posted Thu Dec 13, 2007, 8:05am
Subject: Re: Poor Man's Clover
 

gt Said:

When you say you start pumping and hear hissing then start pouring the mixture in, how soon does a reading show up on your gauge?  It take maybe 20 seconds before my gauge moves.

Posted December 13, 2007 link

When I start pumping air through with nothing in the funnel yet (other than a damp filter), I get about 2.5inHg (=64mmHg) on the gauge.  This is using my 70mm funnel with generic "Double Rings" filter paper (I'm trying to use up the box).  If you can't get any reading at all before you pour the water in, that would argue for the pump not being very good.  I don't know what the actual reading is when I use a larger funnel with Melitta filters, but I'm pretty sure the needle moves at least.  It's enough of a vacuum to hold the seal on my funnel holder (which is not a rubber stopper like yours, and needs a vacuum to "hold it down" in order to get a good seal -- I think I linked to the type of holder I have previously in this thread).

gt Said:

I just made a second cup this morning using two Mellita filters and the total time was 1-min 15-sec which is better than with just one filter.  I now thinking with a good hand pump or especially an electric pump that I can get 16 oz through in under a minute.  This coffee is smooth and reminds me of AP coffee.  It just seems to me that forcing coffee through a compressed puck makes it smoother.

I'm thinking we should start looking for what's available in small AC powered vacuum pumps.  Something like aquarium pumps but vacuum instead.

Posted December 13, 2007 link

First, on the subject of better hand pumps, check out MityVac pumps, available from auto parts stores.  They come in a few different versions -- some plastic, some metal, and some with a double-size mechanism that pumps twice as much air in each stroke.  I have the basic plastic version, and it seems to work well.  I think they're a little better built than the ones from the lab supply stores.  Mine has no problem maintaining a good seal.  It was roughly $30 if I remember correctly.

For motorized pumps, I mentioned above the Foodsaver vacuum sealer that another person on the homeroast list is goign to try.  Home roasters tend to have vacuum sealers anyway for storing their beans, so that would be a good bet for home roasters.  (I don't actually have one myself.)  Aside from that, I don't know of any inexpensive and small motorized vacuum pumps.  I think one certainly could be made.  I have a powerful and inexpensive little air compressor in the trunk of my car that runs off the car battery and can inflate tires to very high pressure.  But that's inexpensive because there's a big market for it -- I don't know if there's a big enough market for vacuum pumps.  You could always try modding an aquarium pump to run backward -- they're pretty cheap and very easy to find.
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WonderClown
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 220
Location: NC, USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gave away a Saeco Via Veneto...
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso, Zassenhaus
Drip: Buchner funnel + vacuum...
Roaster: WB Poppery I
Posted Thu Dec 13, 2007, 8:38am
Subject: Re: Poor Man's Clover
 

I finally took some photos.  Here you can see the type of funnel holder I use.  It's a rubber disc with a hole cut out for the funnel stem, and it's shaped to hug the sides of the funnel a bit.  It works OK except that I often have to hold the funnel down while I start pumping until the vacuum is established.  Until there's vacuum pressure to hold it down tightly, it generally doesn't get a good seal.  I also have to be careful that the funnel is centered -- if the stem is touching the flask, it won't get a good seal.  This is my 70mm funnel and 500mL flask.  The same funnel holder works with my larger funnels.

WonderClown: emptysetup.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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WonderClown
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 220
Location: NC, USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gave away a Saeco Via Veneto...
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso, Zassenhaus
Drip: Buchner funnel + vacuum...
Roaster: WB Poppery I
Posted Thu Dec 13, 2007, 8:42am
Subject: Re: Poor Man's Clover
 

Here's an action shot during filtering.  Unfortunately you can't really see the stream of coffee.  Maybe this is actually toward the end of filtering.  It's kind of hard to get the shot with one hand running the vacuum pump and the other holding the camera.

WonderClown: action01.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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WonderClown
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 220
Location: NC, USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gave away a Saeco Via Veneto...
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso, Zassenhaus
Drip: Buchner funnel + vacuum...
Roaster: WB Poppery I
Posted Thu Dec 13, 2007, 8:43am
Subject: Re: Poor Man's Clover
 

One more shot, looking down at the coffee/water slurry in the funnel, ready to be filtered.

WonderClown: action02.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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gt
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 210
Location: Mpls/St Paul MN
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: None
Grinder: Virtuoso
Drip: Cones & CCD
Roaster: P1 w/ variacs
Posted Thu Dec 13, 2007, 9:17am
Subject: Re: Poor Man's Clover
 

WC, I see the bottom of your filter stem is above where the vacuum enters.  Do you have any trouble with coffee wanting to get sucked into that port?

The other time I've had this situation is at the end of filtering when there is a lot of froth (an inch or more) on top of the coffee and it gets up to the vacuum port.
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WonderClown
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 220
Location: NC, USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gave away a Saeco Via Veneto...
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso, Zassenhaus
Drip: Buchner funnel + vacuum...
Roaster: WB Poppery I
Posted Thu Dec 13, 2007, 9:32am
Subject: Re: Poor Man's Clover
 

gt Said:

WC, I see the bottom of your filter stem is above where the vacuum enters.  Do you have any trouble with coffee wanting to get sucked into that port?

Posted December 13, 2007 link

Occasionally a little bit has gotten sucked into the vacuum port, so I've started putting the funnel in so that the angled drip tip angles away from the port (as you can see in the photo).  This tends to make everything drip away from the port.  Since doing that, I haven't had problems.  But even when stuff has gotten sucked in, it's only been small drops and they've only made it a few inches into the tubing, never all the way to the pump.
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