Our trusty Braun coffee maker (a wedding present from almost 16 years ago) recently died. I wanted to replace it with something which wouldn't die on us after a year or two, so the cheap $20 Mr. Coffee from Target was out.
I've heard people rave about vacuum extraction coffee makers, so I decided to investigate....and bit. For $75 (including shipping from Amazon), I picked up a Bodum Santos 34-ounce vacuum extraction coffee maker.
This is an entirely different way of making coffee from the usual automatic drip. There are two chambers, a lower one which you fill with water, and an upper one filled with coffee grounds. You boil the water in the lower chamber, which forces it up through a tube into the upper chamber where the hot water and grounds mix. Then you remove it from the heat, and as the steam in the lower chamber cools it sucks the coffee back into the lower chamber through a filter.
As soon as I got the box this afternoon, I brewed a pot of decaf (it being past my usual hour for stimulants). Following the advice of many people online, I preheated the water in the microwave to save time on the stove (a good idea). And by golly, even though I don't consider myself a coffee geek, I really can taste the difference from our old drip coffee maker. It has a much stronger coffee flavor with less bitterness.
Plus, it's fun to watch.
So the scorecard for the vacuum extraction coffee maker is:
- Fun to watch
- Simple: nothing electrical and no moving parts
- No replaceable filters, and easy to clean
- Brews a fine cuppa joe
- Fussier than a drip coffee maker
- More expensive than Mr. Coffee (though not more expensive than a high-quality coffee maker).
- Makes a smaller pot than a large coffee maker