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  • Syphon/ Vac Pot techniques

    Hi guys,

    Lately, about 40% of the coffee I drink at home now is vac pot. Its delish and only JUST second to espresso atm. Ive been doing a heap of trialing of different techniques out there and settled on something VERY similar to this:

    http://www.barismo.com/2008/09/syphon-primer-companion.html

    I dont do the middle stir, Im not real convinced by that, yet, as I think you almost get too much extraction of the coffee. And my last stir right after killing the heat is whirlpool rather than through the middle unlike the first stir. As long as the coffee is saturated. Oh, and I stir the water before the adding the coffee too to get uniform water temp.
    I use a TCA-3 with cloth filter. I also dont do the cold towel to assist in the draw down as I only have a chinese Hario copy and Im not sure how good the glass quality is. Ill have to wait till my trip to Japan early 09 and bring back a swag of syphons. Their glass is delish. Apparently theres only a few seconds difference in the draw time anyway (which might make a difference).

    I also have found another use for my temp probe other than for roasting About 91-93 degC before adding coffee.

    Some mates think each of the little differences in technique and even things like adding the coffee AFTER water is drawn up, to how quick to stir and shape of stir, is all just for the show. I used to think the same about espresso techniques - theres no difference in the attitude IMHO. All the little things are purposeful.

    Dose and grind size is also a HUGE factor in the cup... something im still working on. As well as steep time (varying from 45-70 secs), and water temp.

    Oh and keep those filters (and the rest of the equipment) clean! Mine lives in a cup of water in the fridge. Thats after cleaning with oxyclean and boiling water. This stops it from getting manky.

    Ive just picked up a portable butane burner from Jack (Sorrentina), via Di Bartolis too. Its the goods. I was previously using my stove top gas burner but couldnt get the control I wanted. Especially when getting stable temp just before coffee is added.

    Oh I use the max capacity on the TCA-3 (3 cup). It compensates well for the little bit of water that doesnt get drawn into the top glass.

    Im sure theres something else Ive forgotten in my routine....

    Id love to hear what other syphon users techniques are. I remember reading some on the other thread, but I thought itd be good to have a thread dedicated to technique.

    Hope people find that useful,

    YeeZa

    p.s. Ive no way got it all sorted out yet and any constructive criticism is appreciated. All part of the learning - love that learning - to attain that cup.

  • #2
    Re: Syphon/ Vac Pot techniques

    I decided I was due for more coffee toys so I got a syphon last week. Im still playing around with it but I have managed to make at least 2 really good brews... The others have ranged from good to below average :-)

    Time to have another go I think.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Syphon/ Vac Pot techniques

      Originally posted by steve link=1222173535/0#1 date=1222179070
      I decided I was due for more coffee toys so I got a syphon last week. Im still playing around with it but I have managed to make at least 2 really good brews... The others have ranged from good to below average :-)

      Time to have another go I think.
      Howd you go?

      The more and more I fiddle, the more I realise there are as many, if not more variables than espresso. Sure you can hit sometimes, and miss others, but like espresso, youre aiming for that consistency at a high level.

      So people share your opinions!!!

      One thing Ive found too is that there is are subtle differences with different syphons/vac pots (and their filters). Ive just moved to a 3-5cup Hario and its different to the 2-3cup in technique, just like when you move from one espresso machine to another. The basics stay the same, but there are slight differences in extracting the best out of what you have in front of you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Syphon/ Vac Pot techniques

        Yep...many variables to do ones head in.

        For example, my Kenya Gethumbwini, profile-roasted specifically for filter, syphon type brewing.

        When coffee added:
        1) at the start, before any water enters the top chamber, produces in-your-face lemon and grapefruit peel flavours along with tart eyebrow-raising acidity, and an almost non-existent finish (all the actions captured by the front palate). I like it.
        2) after 3/4 of the water has made its way to the top chamber, produces the most complexity in this coffee with deeper bergamot notes, hints of apricots, almonds in the finish and a more succulent mouthfeel. I like it.
        3) after 3/4 of the water has made its way to the top chamber AND stirred, produces earl grey tea-like structure with slight tannins and heftier liquor, greater depth of flavour and the most languorous finish - almond oil and toffee. I like it.

        One coffee. Variable temperature profiles possible. Variable extractable flavours. Problem: how shall I cook this Geth tomorrow morning...

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Syphon/ Vac Pot techniques

          I am with HD on filter/plunger type roasts. I have tried a few espresso types and found them not as good as the lighter roasts.

          For technique I am leaving the upper chamber cocked to one side until water is just pre boil (swirling visible), add the desired ground coffee (10g/100ml finer than plunger), firmly insert the upper chamber as the water starts to boil. From the time the water starts to enter the upper chamber to the drawdown I am using about 70 seconds. Initial stir of the slurry as the water comes in followed by another at about 45 seconds and stop the flame to start the drawdown.

          This results in a bright alive taste to the brew and is very different (and better) to a plunger.

          I have tried longer steep times than this and didnt like the cup as much but everyones tastes are different.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Syphon/ Vac Pot techniques

            Originally posted by HD link=1222173535/0#3 date=1222753385
            Yep...many variables to do ones head in.

            For example, my Kenya Gethumbwini, profile-roasted specifically for filter, syphon type brewing.
            Hazel, for what its worth, that Kenya Gethumbwini has been my fave through the syphon to date. The best cup of syphon Ive had is with that coffee! Ill have to come by and pick up some more

            I found putting the coffee in before the water has been drawn up to the top chamber, its easy to get a mixed response I find thats my hit and miss. Since then, I only add the coffee in after the water has been drawn up, and Ive swirled it around to get (to my best ability) constant temperature throughout the water. Rather than have varying temps throughout the water when the coffee hits it.... kinda like espresso - pushing two different temps (albeit small) could produce different flavours. Just a thought.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Syphon/ Vac Pot techniques

              Variables, variables, variables!

              I have by no means mastered the syphon yet - at the moment Im playing around with dose and when to add the coffee. I think I have been using a little too high a dose.

              Oh, and I need to play with how long I brew it for ... and the intensity of heat I put under it ... and the grind coarseness ...

              ... and then of course before I even pull the syphon out of the cupboard, theres all the roasting variables to ponder ...

              I love coffee!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Syphon/ Vac Pot techniques

                Im still all over the place with mine. Ive had some more great brews, and a few that I barely drank.
                Im not exactly being scientific with it at the moment. The only constant is the amount of water I put in :-)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Syphon/ Vac Pot techniques

                  Perfect timing for this thread. I have just dug out the Hario 5 cup I picked up in Japan last year.
                  I am by no means an expert, in fact far from it. I would like a butane burner, as the alcohol one is too slow for the 5 cup.

                  Today the first attempt i put the coffee in at the beginning, the second attempt was coffee in after the water rose to the top.
                  I was pleased with both attempts, being a complete novice and considering I have to pre grind the coffee.
                  I am using coffee coarsely ground on my mazzer mini. I set the grind half way between the espresso setting, and the coarsest setting on the stop screw. I will slowly fine down the grind a few notches.
                  I am filling it to just below the 3 cup measure and using 3 generous scoops of coffee with the included scoop. It makes enough for a 12oz long black.
                  It would appear necessity IS the mother of all invention. A recent change in work environment sees me able to use the siphon, and clean up. I do find we are regularly out of milk, and I always forget to buy some. Today I had the long blacks, something I thought I would never drink and was totally surprised, no need to buy milk any more !
                  I am sure with further experimentation I will be able to perfect the routine, to suit my coffee tastes.
                  Time to roast some coffee to suit the siphon.

                  Wayne.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Syphon/ Vac Pot techniques

                    Good stuff Wayne! Youve gotta grab one of those butane burners from Sorrentina though, theyre the goods.

                    I forgot to mention in the original post that I grind about 25-30 notches higher than espresso for syphon.

                    I look forward to hearing more about the journey mate!

                    p.s. Is that your roaster in the avatar? If so where in Sydney are ya? haha

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Syphon/ Vac Pot techniques

                      Having a reread of this thread again is interesting as I have dropped the bean amount and upped the brew time a little. Currently 7g/100ml and 70 seconds to the start of drawdown. Might go back and try a shorter one again with a smidge more beans

                      I am still using water from the kettle to start BTW and bring it up to boil with the burner so even the metho one was fine but the control available on the butane one is great.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Syphon/ Vac Pot techniques

                        Originally posted by beanflying link=1222173535/0#10 date=1224724537
                        Having a reread of this thread again is interesting as I have dropped the bean amount and upped the brew time a little. Currently 7g/100ml and 70 seconds to the start of drawdown. Might go back and try a shorter one again with a smidge more beans

                        I am still using water from the kettle to start BTW and bring it up to boil with the burner so even the metho one was fine but the control available on the butane one is great.
                        Yeah totally, that burner is the goods.

                        Ive been finding that a coarser grind with the steep time as the variable a lot easier to control than a fine grind and a varied steep. I find I have been getting more over-extracted brews with a finer grind, but its the goods when I get it on song.

                        I havent got a standardised dose at the moment, but its about 8-10g per 100ml

                        Ill have to measure it again, but a syphon bowl "cup" is equivalent to around 120ml... actually dont quote me on that, Ill have to check.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Syphon/ Vac Pot techniques

                          Originally posted by YeeZa link=1222173535/0#11 date=1224725829
                          Ill have to measure it again, but a syphon bowl "cup" is equivalent to around 120ml... actually dont quote me on that, Ill have to check.
                          Yeah I think youre right Dan - my new Hario says its 360ml and a 3 cupper.

                          I had dose sorted - then started playing with filters, and now I cant get a dose I like for the syphon happening

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Syphon/ Vac Pot techniques

                            1 cup is 4 fl Oz is 4x28.5ml = 120 or there abouts But a metric cup is 250ml so go figure.

                            Part of the reason I had dropped the bean weight down a little is my Zass only holds 21-22g in the hopper and I had been drinking from 300ml Buckets. Might have to put the second Cimbali on the bench dialled in for syphon and put the Zass in the camping kit : . Just as well I am single ;D

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Syphon/ Vac Pot techniques

                              Originally posted by beanflying link=1222173535/0#13 date=1224728411
                              Might have to put the second Cimbali on the bench dialled in for syphon and put the Zass in the camping kit : . Just as well I am single ;D
                              haha I echo your sentiments BF

                              On the grinder thing - I seem to remember Luca mentioning something about grinders and fines and particle size variation having an impact on the end result. And that maybe a cheaper grinder could possibly do a better (I use that word but not really what I mean) job for syphon/filter. Hmmm

                              Comment

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