The Bodum Santos comes in 2 packages:
The Basic = pots, top & bottom lids, spring-loaded filter, spoon, stirrer, base rest.
The Complete = Add a cleaner rod, alcohol burner and rack, stand for upper bowl.
The design of the vac pot looks totally modern. The upper bowl’s flow of the wall looks nice and is a perfect match for it plastic disc filter to produce an excellent cup, even when brewing ways below its maximum capacity of 8 cups. There are markers on the lower bowl but only for 6 and 8 cups. I made a 4-cup pot before with this vac pot, and the result was just as good as an 8-cup pot, unlike other vac pots. The sure grip handle feels smooth to hold. Reasonable price is also a plus on the basic model. The opening at the neck of the lower bowl is fairly small; so, cleaning is a little harder for the lower bowl.
The main strength of this vac pot lies in its plastic filter disc design.
In the past, as I experimented with various vac pots, I found that as the bubbles went up from the filter rod or disc after all the water made it to the top bowl, only certain shapes of the upper bowl design would produce a constant stirring of the coffee ground without "dead" spots: Those with a more conical or V shape will perform better than those with large and flared out U bottom. I thought the V shape design would produce better coffee because coffee ground was benefited from the more vigorous "self-stirring" effect from the rising hot bubbles. This was especially important when I makes only 2 or 3 cups of coffee using my 5-8 cup vac pots: There was just not enough water in the upper bowl to keep all the coffee ground in motion, especially when the coffee ground was spread out too wide due to the larger size of the upper bowl, especially those with the flair-out bottom.
The difference found in the Santos’ filter is that this filter disc is very flat (1/32”-1/16” thick), and it has lots of small "V" groves on the underside, running straight from the center to the outer edge. This filter disc with its V grove facilitates a different bubble movement pattern: Bubbles are forced out from these V groves going horizontally, scrapping the bottom and then going up the wall of the upper bowl. This created sort of a "black hole" stirring effect vs. the typical "volcano" stirring effect of the normal cloth filter or even the 45-degree angle from the glass filter rod, which may leave more "dead" spots unstirred in the upper bowl, especially with a weak "volcano" stream. So, with an upper bowls that have a flat and continuous sweeping line up the wall, this disc will provide a much better stirring effect (assuming with adequate amount of water to facilitate the movement), which translates into better coffee compared to the existing cloth/glass filter. And the Bodum Santos’ upper bowl is shaped exactly like this, hence the better results even for the 3 or 4-cup pot.
For you, if your vac pot has not performed to your satisfaction or if you want to make much less coffee using your larger capacity vac pots, this may be a good remedy besides the old “manual stirring” trick. Besides, since there is no cloth to wash/clean or paper filter to replace, it will be just one time expense that you will invest, for the return of long time pleasure of maximum coffee extraction, not counting NO COFFEE OIL / FLAVOR LOST from the use of hard plastic vs. the absorbing cloth or paper filter.
Just a thought: This disc reminds me of the red and black coin shape discs with the groves around the edge on both sides, used in the game "Checker", for those of you who may feel adventurous.
In action, you can see the coffee ground rising from the side, turned over and went inward. When all the coffee went down the lower bowl, you will see spent coffee ground spread out on the sides and edge more so than in the center.
The Bodum plastic filter disc with a spring-loaded hook is about 1.75” in diameter, and thus, it fits my Hario vac pots exactly. In fact, it will fit any vac pot upper bowl with up to 1.25" diameter opening, leaving at least 1/4” over lap to create the horizontal sweeping effect, but it probably only benefits “large upper bowls” with a smooth horizontal contour going up the wall, not those that is steeper than 35-45 degree angle, since beyond the 45 degree, the “volcano” effect would produce a better result.
The Bodum vac pot is definitely the best choice for folks who want a medium-priced vac pot product with good capacity, flexible (making a 4-cup pot as equally well as an 8-cup pot), lightweight, easy to handle and clean, and maximum flavor.