A recent conversation in the kitchen of chez Cadmus…
“It’s a mess.”
“It’s caffeinated performance art!”
“You’re cleaning it.”
“It’s good coffee, though…”
“Well… yes. But it’s a mess.”
We are of two minds — my wife and I — over the relative merits of the Bodum Santos electric vacuum coffee pot. I see an evocative design that’s equal parts mad-scientist chemistry set and Frank Gehry angular assemblage. Herself sees… a mess.
Granted, the eSantos doesn’t have the drop-dead convenience of one of those push-button pod machines. And it’s not the grinding, measuring and filling thing… we’re more than used to that. It’s the post-brew mess that herself frowns at.
Like a great many vacuum pots, the eSantos has a permanent filter. [Okay... semi permanent. Bodum recommends replacing it every so often.] This filter is a very fine mesh screen; it allows dissolved coffee solids and oils through, making for an exceptionally flavorful cup with lots of body, and it does so without choking on coffee finings, a problem that I nearly always experienced with my Vintage Cory glass vacuum pot and its permanent glass filter rod.
The net effect is — of course — a mess. No denying it. There’s no paper filter to toss in the trash bin [or compost heap, if you're of the composty ilk]. Instead, after the brewer has cooled it’s necessary to rinse the coffee grounds out of the brew globe, and then to wash it. Yes, wash it. By hand, no less. Matter of fact, if you’ve brewed especially fresh coffee that wasn’t roasted to death [and you are, aren't you?] you’ll find a lovely, oily frothy mess left behind.
Want convenience? Get one of those push-button things. But if you want really great coffee it’s hard to beat a vacuum pot. Bodum’s update on the classic vac is about as good as it gets.