I can give this product my full recommendation to those looking to try vacuum brewers without spending a lot of money.
Positive Product Points
This is my first vacuum brewer and I am very pleased with my results. Given its low cost compaired to other vacuum brewers it is a great way to test out vacuum brewing without spending a lot of money.
Negative Product Points
I would like to see a handle on the top pot to make removal of the top pot easier. Just after brewing the glass is too hot to handle without a cloth and I worry about dropping it. The small wire "W" that you use to sit the pot on when heating on the stove is of low quality and I gave up using it.
I decided to try vacuum coffee brewing after reading some articles about it online. I was put off by the $150 prices of some vacuum brewers. I decided on the Yama 5 cup vacuum brewer after reading some positive reviews on it. I ordered my Yama from Sweet Maria via the web and it arrived 6 days later. Upon unpacking my Yama I was pleased to see that all had arrived OK and that the Sweet Maria people had included a tip sheet for using this brewer. I followed the recommendation to test brew with just water to season the pot as well as washed it out with soapy water. For my first pot I just eyeballed the coffee amount....Wrong! I ended up with a weaker coffee than I expected. The Yama 5 cup comes with a long handled spoon/measure that is the correct amount of coffee for my amount. I fill the water to a little over the 5 cup mark (about where 6 cup mark would be). This brewer makes more coffee than you think from looking at the unit. I make two large travel mugs of coffee per brew when filled to the 6 cup area. I was a little concerned at first by the amount of water that is left in the lower pot when brewing...about 1/4 inch. I thought that this would make for a poor coffee but it doesn't seem to matter. I have been experimenting with different grinds to see what works best with this unit. I have not noticed any real differences with different grinds but my work is not yet complete. As for cleanup I wait until the unit has fully cooled then I hold the top pot under the running tap and remove the filter. I let the water run through the filter and pot until the grounds are gone (5 seconds). There is a film on the top pot after rising that must be wiped away with a paper towel. I just run some tap water in it and air dry it. The opening to the bottom pot is fairly small and I can not get a paper towel in there using my hands. I think I will look at a bottle brush. I can give this product my full recommendation to those looking to try vacuum brewers without spending a lot of money.
I ordered this product from Sweet Maria's website. Lowest price I found and they sent a follow-up E Mail to confirm my order and that the item had been shipped.
Three Month Followup
Still using the Yama for my daily coffee some 4 months after I got it. I am very pleased with this brewer. I found that after about 1 month the cloth filter causes the coffee to travel "south" very slowly even though I have cleaned the cloth filter as best as I could. Replacing the cloth filter restore the brewer's performance. I would recommed that that you purchase extra cloth filters when you buy your brewer ($1.00 each).