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Silex Vacuum Brewers - Jason Anderson's Review
Posted: October 6, 2003, 11:06am
review rating: 8.7
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Silex Vacuum Brewers
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More About This Product
Arrow The Silex Vacuum Brewers has 11 Reviews
Arrow The Silex Vacuum Brewers has been rated 9.27 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Silex Vacuum Brewers reviews have been viewed 43,195 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Gary Henderson 9.00
Jason Anderson 8.66
Jean Sebastien 8.50
Steven Nilsen 6.50
David Nielsen 6.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.4
Manufacturer: Silex Quality: 10
Average Price: Varies Usability: 9
Price Paid: $50.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: eBay Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 1 month Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: Professional Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Cory Gasketless vac pot
Bottom Line: Perhaps as close to perfection as one can get with a vacuum pot; I guarantee you won't find any brand-new unit that's better.
Positive Product Points

Makes hands-down the best coffee I have ever had, and looks utterly kickass.

Negative Product Points

"Quick-Cooling" stove most certainly does NOT cool quickly.

Detailed Commentary

I threw my drip coffeemaker in the trash when I bought a Cory gasketless vacuum brewer; I stopped regretting it when this Silex arrived. The machine I purchased on eBay looks just like the pictured model, except with a metal lid on top and a slightly different-looking stove with sweet little deco oyster-shaped lifting handles.

The Cory brewer I bought several months ago clogged so much that I finally gave up and started using the French press exclusively for a while. Glass rods, while a seemingly-elegant solution to the vacuum pot filtering problem, clog like crazy if your grind isn't perfectly uniform and dust-free. If you buy a Silex that includes only a Cory rod or Silex "Lox-In" rod, either keep waiting for one that includes a cloth filter, or buy an original Silex cloth/porcelain filter, or buy a brand new Hario cloth filter (http://www.hariousa.com/).

As for the coffee this thing makes, it is absolutely beautiful. A level above anything I've ever sipped in the morning. On top of being clog-free, the cloth filter does its job SO well that even the strongest, darkest brew you can make has a deep amber clarity...hold it up to a light bulb and be amazed. The coffee has a rich, round, smooth flavor with so little bitterness that you'll want to finish the whole pot yourself.

The stove: It does an excellent job of heating the water, and also keeping the coffee warm after brewing. If you buy the whole system, try to find one that's in mint condition and complete (which is not as hard as you think). By "complete," I mean EVERYTHING, including the ORIGINAL cord. Silex made different cords for these things, and the one that you definitely want is the fancy one with the "ANYHEET CONTROL," which is a little red knob right on the end that hooks to the stove, allowing you to turn the thing on full juice to heat the water, and then turn it way down once the brewing is done, to (surprisingly gently) keep the coffee hot. No one wants to be plugging and unplugging all the time, and the plain cord offers no warmer function (unless you get one of the later-model Silex stoves that have a heat/warm switch right on the body).

One other note on the stove...even if you turn the heat control to OFF right when the water breaks past the bottom of the tube, the stove stays so hot that the water continues to boil for too long, which will over-extract your coffee. To solve this, I simply set the brewer on a glass trivet for the pulldown stage, and then put the kettle back on the stove at the lowest "warm" setting when it's done. This heat-retention problem is the only thing that lowers some of my scores for this machine from 10 to 9.

One other general note...I believe that the Silex small-neck (and other small-necked brewers - I've actually seen a few very early *Corys* that have a small neck) is undoubtedly the best-sealing system for an effective pulldown. It only makes sense...the rubber seals tightly, and the smaller surface area (versus the relatively huge later models) makes air leaks much less likely. When pulldown begins with this machine, you can actually SEE the upper chamber move downward about half an inch from the suction.

And finally, I would suggest that, given a choice, you stay away from the Lido units (more squat, decorated and Arabic-looking), ONLY because even my more conventional model is not terribly easy to clean...the angles are even more severe with the Lidos. They really do look cool, though, and I'm sure they make equally great coffee.

Buying Experience

Typical eBay purchase, although the guy took a month of Sundays to get the thing to me.

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review rating: 8.7
Posted: October 6, 2003, 11:06am
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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