Hey, I am preparing to host a class on Alternative Brewing Methods here in Charlotte, and I wanted to research the best ways to brew with these devices. Brew with either the Chemex, vac pot, or siphon? What are the parameters you find work best for most coffees?

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Hi Jason. I just got done doing dual siphon brews with 5-cup Yama siphon brewers. I'm new to the 5-cup Yama, and practicing to put on a class that sounds a lot like the one you're preparing for. The siphons seemed like an interesting way to combine a new brewing method with a tasting. I used 50g of coffee to 600 ml of water and let it stay up in the top for 2:30 before removing the heat. I think that was a little too long and a little too much coffee. Next time, I'll try 2:00 and 45g. My grind might also be a little too fine. I'll also pre-heat the water next time. It took way too long to get these to boil over the open flames. So, after this first trial, my parameters will be.

600 ml water
45 g coffee (instructions say one scoop (10g) per "cup")
grind close to auto drip
stee in top chamber for 2:00

I'm sure I'll be making more adjustments as I go. Also, I use 80g of coffee in my electric Santos and 60g in the 8 cup stovetop Yama.
You should check You-Tube. I've seen some very good demos there.
Hey Jason,

Our shop just recently got a 5-cup Yama and after just a few trial and errors, it really isn't all the beast it is made out to be. It makes a great cup and is a really fun experience. What Chuck was saying in that first post is pretty much exactly what we do as well. Approx 50g of "auto-drip" ground coffee and fill up the bottom bowl with a little under 20oz of already heated water and let the coffee brew in the upper bowl for just a couple of minutes before removing the heat.

I do have to say my heart still lies with Chemex though. Such a simple and beautiful piece of equipment that brings out so many notes in your cup. With the Chemex (which I'm sure you already know) just make sure you rinse the filter before you brew (to get rid of any bleach) and to wet all the grounds before making the actual pour.

Have a great time with the class and let us know how it turns out!
Siphon brewers are my favorite brewing method by far. After trying a few different filter methods for it I found that using glass filter rods make the best cup. The cloth filters in my opinion add a fabric flavor taint that really ruins certain coffees. I have seen metal filters before but I have never found a place to purchase them. The glass filter rods are amazing. They do not add any flavor taints, there are no cloths to clean, and they are reusable and recyclable. Bodum makes glass filters but they are around $35. You can easily find old vintage filter rods made by Cory on ebay for $5 to $10. It really makes a huge difference. Brewing parameters were accurately described above but it is one of those methods that you have to experiment with to hit the sweet spot as far as variables like brew time and volume.
Also since Summer is coming up and I am sure Charlotte gets insanely hot you should also research Toddy. Toddy is amazing. For a standard five cup toddy maker you need 1 pound of coffee ground to a little coarser than standard drip but it yields quite a bit because the final product is a concentrate that can be diluted. If you google "toddy coffee" they have directions on their website.
Thanks all. We are currently using Toddy in our stores for iced coffees, works well. And our good friend George Holt is bringing his "coffee snob" for cold coffee, as well. This should be a good class, I hope lots of people can make it.

Portland Roasting said:
Siphon brewers are my favorite brewing method by far. After trying a few different filter methods for it I found that using glass filter rods make the best cup. The cloth filters in my opinion add a fabric flavor taint that really ruins certain coffees. I have seen metal filters before but I have never found a place to purchase them. The glass filter rods are amazing. They do not add any flavor taints, there are no cloths to clean, and they are reusable and recyclable. Bodum makes glass filters but they are around $35. You can easily find old vintage filter rods made by Cory on ebay for $5 to $10. It really makes a huge difference. Brewing parameters were accurately described above but it is one of those methods that you have to experiment with to hit the sweet spot as far as variables like brew time and volume.
Also since Summer is coming up and I am sure Charlotte gets insanely hot you should also research Toddy. Toddy is amazing. For a standard five cup toddy maker you need 1 pound of coffee ground to a little coarser than standard drip but it yields quite a bit because the final product is a concentrate that can be diluted. If you google "toddy coffee" they have directions on their website.
I wish I could have been there... I've been able to get pretty decent results with my Yama.... apparently one of the keys to avoiding that "fabric flavor" is to keep the filters clean and damp in clean water in the fridge, with an occasional oxy-clean wash. Some good tutorials out there for that, but I get good results even without the bamboo paddle....

That said, my favorite methods are still Melitta and french press. I did a Melitta of Intelly's Pulp Natural Panama this morning... delicious!
I use the 8-cup Yama and have followed the directions to the letter of the law as spelled out by the good folks at Sweet Maria's. I don't let the water in the bottom boil at all. I don't believe that the temperature goes down the much between the pot and the bowl on top. I also use a thermometer from time to time for QC. I still use cloth filters and I make sure I follow similar steps to those mentioned by Brady above. The vac pot never lies. Still the best way to make a cup IMHO.

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