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Very best most robust vacuum coffee maker
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__________
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Joined: 12 Sep 2006
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Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Machine now fixed ;o)
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Posted Mon Apr 21, 2014, 4:06pm
Subject: Re: Very best most robust vacuum coffee maker
 

Alternatively, the Cona tabletop electric heater ** works very well - it is now all I ever use. Saves all that messing around with butane or denatured alcohol and probably a bit safer not having a naked flame. Fits exactly in the stand recess under all the tabletop models including the A and B models.  They have an advantage too in that the heat is spread more across the bottom of the glass globe, without the hotspots you can get with more the concentrated forms of heat. And the glass doesn't get dirty either.

Starting from cold, switch off when the water is between 1/3 and 1/2 way into the top globe. There's a little trial and error here - I find for the small Conas - the A and B sizes, somewhere around 1/3 is good: for the larger ones - the C and D - go as far as about half or even slightly more. The heater then coasts and cools gradually but still applies sufficient heat to leave the top brewing just nicely.  Eventually it will cool sufficiently for the vacuum to form, but if that is taking too long for your liking, just remove it from under the glass (it has bakelite handles to allow you to do that).

If you have grounds migrating down when the filter bounces a little it normally means that the filter rod has been disturbed after filling the top with grounds - some have become trapped underneath meaning it does not seal properly at first and once that has happened the gaps allow grounds to get past it more and more and the problem becomes self-sustaining.  Either add grounds after the water has risen (I don't, but some folk do) or be very careful not to move the filter even slightly after adding the coffee.

** Electric heaters are fairly readily available (used) for 230v, and certainly were made for 110v in the past, mainly I think for those parts of France that didn't get round to adopting modern voltage standards until the early '70's, - they were also sold in the USA but probably not many.  They're only 350w, so a stepup transformer shouldn't be too much of a problem if you don't have 230v readily available.

Strongly recommend buying Conas used.  Loads on ebay in Europe and even shipment to the USA should still make them much much cheaper than new ones. Provided the glass is intact there isn't much else to worry about, and you can also pick up obsolete models like the B and A.  (Unless you always make the same amount of coffee, you really should have all 4 sizes ;o))

Most of  mine came that way.  Definitely worth investigating. Most turn up on the .uk .de or .fr sites.
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Eastsideloco
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Eastsideloco
Joined: 7 Jan 2012
Posts: 45
Location: Austin
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: '74 Cremina, '91 Livietta...
Grinder: Vario-W, mid-century...
Vac Pot: Cona C, Kono PR 3, Hellem...
Drip: Kalita Wave, V60, Chemex,...
Posted Tue Apr 22, 2014, 6:58am
Subject: Re: Very best most robust vacuum coffee maker
 

__________ Said:

Strongly recommend buying Conas used.  Loads on ebay in Europe and even shipment to the USA should still make them much much cheaper than new ones. Provided the glass is intact there isn't much else to worry about, and you can also pick up obsolete models like the B and A.  (Unless you always make the same amount of coffee, you really should have all 4 sizes ;o))

Most of  mine came that way.  Definitely worth investigating. Most turn up on the .uk .de or .fr sites.

Posted April 21, 2014 link

+1. You can get a Model C or D for about half the retail price by buying used, and it's the only way to get Models A or B, which sell for higher prices. Conas occasionally pop up on eBay in the US, but there are always brewers in good shape on the sites mentioned above.

I got my Model C from a reseller in Berlin. Pretty quick shipping, all things considered. Since Cona licensed local vendors to make the glass, my globe and funnel are labeled "Made in Germany."

BTW: Some of the "Made in France" models have a narrow funnel neck that may not fit the glass filter rod. Apparently, French consumers are all about using cloth filters with siphons. So you'll often see Cona models in France sold with a cloth filter that was likely original to brewer. In effect, the product was modified slightly to suit local tastes.
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