I've had my syphon for a couple of weeks now. After brewing on a lunky 8 cup Bodum, the control and finesse of my Hario TCA-3 with a butane burner is night and day different. However, no matter how I've tried to alter my stirring method to achieve the dome, I find it to be more enigmatic than unicorns and fairies (excuse my ridiculousness). If anyone is nailing the dome on most brews, I'd love to hear what might be the best bet.

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This may be a little late, but why do you find the dome to be desirable?
Vance Lin said:
Not sure if anyone else vac pots in this country anymore, but I brew a pot every afternoon. I use a Hario 3 or 5 cup Nouveau, depending on company, and have found that stirring the grounds after they have risen to the top, and continuing to stir until the flame is extinguished, tends to produce the "elusive dome" that you are inquiring about. I agree with Matthew P Williams, above, with regards to why this would be desirable. Would love to ask a Japanese barista what their techinque is, since it is impossible to find much comment online. Personally, I've found that the brews with a dome tend to have better flavor and saturation. I'm not always able to produce a dome with every brew, but when I do, I can almost guarantee that the result is just right (as long as the grind is consistent). Perhaps it has something to do with aeration, circulation, etc. The question of merit and benefits aside, in the end -- especially if you are trying to impress -- I believe the "elusive dome" has a nice "wow" factor, a porous symmetry, and gravity-defying inscrutability when compared to the brown, convex disk that is usually left behind. The only key I've found -- from Chinese Tea Masters to Japanese Baristas w/ small bamboo paddles -- is in the stir. The stir, in those cultures, is mythical in importance. Would love to hear comments if anyone else out there still brews this way.
i have pretty consistent luck with my yama with the process of adding the grounds then pulling and pushing the paddle down the middle creating "waves" ultimately submerging all grounds within seconds. Lesser time time stirring, the better. Once the brew is finished, a helpful trick is to blow vigorously on the lower pot to cool the air faster, increasing the drop speed. and blam. youve been domed.

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