This vac pot is wonderful. I bought the 5-cup stove top model, which comes with a wire trivet so that the glass does not touch the hot coil directly. The instructions say to never put the heat higher than medium low under the pot, so needless to say you save a lot of time if you heat the water quickly in a separate vessel. I've been using this product for a while now - here's the method:
- Fill the vac pot with water up to the desired level. Pour all but a small amount of the water into a small saucepan over high heat.
- Place the pot (containing the small bit of water) over medium low heat (using the wire trivet).
- On my stove top, it takes about 3 minutes for the water in the saucepan to come up to temperature. While waiting, prepare everything else: Slip the filter into place in the top chamber (i.e., where the actual brewing will take place), grind the beans (I use the 16 setting on my Baratza Maestro grinder), place the grounds (1 large scoop per cup - the scoop comes with the vac pot) in the top chamber
- When the water in the saucepan starts to form small bubbles, turn off the heat and pour it into the pot. If the water came to a rolling boil while you were doing other things, you will want to set it aside to cool down a bit before brewing.
- Once all the hot water is in the pot, slip the top chamber into place. It should fit very snug into the bottom pot. As the pressure builds the hot water will be forced upward into the top chamber where it will mix with the coffee grounds. What I do is wait until about half of the water is up, give the grounds a stir to eliminate any clumps, then simply shut off the heat altogether and set the timer for 2 minutes. I don't know if shutting off the heat adds any value, but I do not like it when the brew bubbles vigorously - by shutting off the heat, you avoid the vigorous bubbling but there is still plenty of heat to maintain the necessary level of pressure to brew the coffee. By the way, there will always be a little bit of water remaining in the bottom pot - this is normal.
- After the two minutes is up, I remove the whole apparatus to a cooler surface. Almost immediately you will see the coffee start to drain back down into the bottom vessel. It actually gets sucked down through the grounds. After about 30-45 seconds the bottom pot should be full and the top chamber will have only the spent grounds. Jostle the top chamber out of the pot and set aside. That's it! Simply pour out the coffee you want to serve immediately and, for the coffee that remains in the pot, you can stretch out its life by placing a shot glass in the pour spout (it fits perfectly). Aside from pouring it into a thermos, the shot glass "trick" is really your only option as the Yama comes with no warming mechanism.