Hi All, I am considering getting a Yama Stovetop Vac Brewer. I currently use a Bodum French Press, which works well over the past 10 or so years. But I am now looking to explore new horizons. What are some of the advantages of the Yama setup? Disadvantages? I love many SO coffees with my favorites being Mexican Chiappas, Guatemalans, Ethiopians, SUmatrans,Brazilians, Costa Ricans, and a few others. I have never seen the Yama in person, only on the net. Any suggestions from those with more experience will be greatly appreciated.
Also, I am looking into getting a decent burr grinder from my cheap whirly one. I was looking at the Capresso Infininty Burr, Baratza Encore Conical Burr, and for some reason the Mr. Coffee Burr ginder which sells for 35 at Amazon with surprising reviews. Any suggestions?
Vac brewers give a cleaner cup without the sludge that I find offensive in a French press. The coffee still retains the essencial oils like a FP as a paper filter is not used.
Vac brewers pretty much all work the same regardless of who made it. Some are larger than others. My vac pot is a Silex from the 1940s and it works just fine, producing a very nice cup and in a more household friendly size of 6 "cups".
You do need a better grinder. Amazon reviews are nearly always by people who have no idea what they are talking about and within hours of UPS dropping off the package, they are enthralled with their purchase.
Either of the other 2 grinders have good reps for other than espresso brewing, I would tend to avoid the Mr Coffee grinder.
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The Yama stovetop vacpots are a great value. The glass isn't as thick on these units as on some of the more expensive siphon brewers, which sometimes feature hand-blown glass. In fact, I've read a couple forum posts where the glass on Yama stovetop brewers failed after a period of use, presumably due to imperfections inherent in the glass. But for the price they can't be beat.
One thing to be aware of is that vacuum coffee makers are more volume-dependent than other brewers. So decide what volume you will be brewing most often, then shop for gear accordingly. The setup that works best for me is to have one siphon pot (350 ml) that I use daily for personal consumption and other brewers to accommodate groups (650–800 ml). If you like to brew a pot of coffee at a time, then stovetop models are ideal.
Mark Prince's guide to using a siphon is one of the better resources available:
Otherwise, I'd recommend a Baratza Virtuoso w/ Preciso burrs. You might be able to pick up a refurbished version about the price of a new Encore. But you'd have to wait until they get some in inventory:
Yeah, those grinders look to be pretty good. I think all I would need this for would be for Fp or vac coffee, my Mazzer is strictly for espresso and it works pretty well for me. I also heard about those Aerobie's. Have to look into that too.
The Infinity and Encore are adequate for drip and vac, less good for French press. Brew and vac grinding requires a mid-range in terms of grind particle size and is tolerant of more particle size variance than other grinds -- like French press, Turkish or espresso.
Consequently you can get away with a lower priced grinder and still get adequate results for Vac and drip. However, "adequate," isn't the same as "good." Spend more, get more.
Baratza Virtuosos come stock with "Preciso" burrs, and have for more than a year. If you choose a Virtuoso (excellent choice, by the way), you don't have to look around for one with Preciso burrs -- it's just how they are now.
An Aeropress is a small, coffee brewing device; an Aerobie is a kind of Frisbie.
As I said, the Virtuoso is an excellent choice as a brew grinder, another in the "top two" for electric brew grinders is the Breville Smart. Both are around $200, the Virtuoso a little over, the Smart a little under.
We used a Smart for a few years until we had to replace it because our brew-grinding included so much "cupping," and the Smart was too inconvenient for the task. We replaced it with a Bunnzilla, and as good as the Smart was (very good!) for drip and press, we were amazed at how much better Bunnzilla did with those simple tasks. Spend more, get more.
A Bunnzilla or even a stock bulk grinder is undoubtedly too expensive and too large for your situation. The next step up from the Smart/Virtuoso class of grinders is the Baratza Vario B (the "B" is for special, steel, Ditting "brew" burrs). At close to $500, that's probably way too expensive as well.
While the Vario, and it's $800, much better built sibling, the Forte, are better in the cup than the Smart or Virtuoso -- they're maybe not enough better to invoke the spend more get more rule. Worth it if you have the money? Tough call.
If you're willing to hand grind, the Hausgrind by Knock and Lido 2 by Orphan Espresso are getting great buzz. Both around $200. Note though that there's some lag time between order and delivery for the Hausgrind and that the Lido 2 is still in "beta" and won't be available for sale for -- probably -- another month.
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