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Do you REALLY need to brew full capacity in a Siphon pot?
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EvanOz85
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EvanOz85
Joined: 9 Jul 2011
Posts: 268
Location: Lafayette, LA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario and Preciso
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos, Yama 5-cup
Drip: Chemex, Kone 3, Kalita Wave,...
Roaster: Hottop B, Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Apr 2, 2012, 4:32pm
Subject: Do you REALLY need to brew full capacity in a Siphon pot?
 

I'm sure this is one of those questions where "Try it yourself" would be an appropriate reply, but why not get the opinion of this educated forum before potentially creating a mediocre brew?

My question is: Is it really that important to brew the recommended full capacity of a siphon pot in order to get a proper extraction? The reason I've read for brewing a full pot is that the water left in the bottom (which is always the same amount regardless of how much you're brewing) will dilute smaller amounts too much and produce weak coffee. But how is this different from a bypass brew? Yes, less amounts brewed will have a higher ratio of "unbrewed" water added to them at the drawdown, but wouldn't the coffee brewed at the top be more concentrated to counteract this anyways? I'm not talking about brewing 12oz in a 40oz pot, but more like brewing say 16oz in a 24oz pot. Am I going to get too much dilution with that? Thanks!
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jpender
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jpender
Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 614
Location: California
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: OE LIDO
Vac Pot: S/S Moka Pot
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Mon Apr 2, 2012, 6:56pm
Subject: Re: Do you REALLY need to brew full capacity in a Siphon pot?
 

Evan, I don't have a siphon pot (although I'd love to try one) but I sometimes brew with a moka pot and there are similarities. The main thing is that each operate on a combination of air and water vapor pressure to drive the system. If I put less water in my moka pot the temperature range of the water is lower. This will be true of a siphon pot as well. But if you preheat your water this will not be an issue.

Unlike a moka pot, a siphon pot has a second stage where the coffee is drawn back down. If there is too much air in the lower chamber it will impede that progress. But you should be able to purge the air with water vapor by maintaining heat a longer than usual.

I'm just a theoretical siphon pot user. I could be completely wrong. Maybe you can answer a question for me: What distinguishes coffee made in a siphon pot aside from the curious process itself?
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johnnyb3
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Joined: 29 Mar 2010
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Location: Anaheim, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Maestro Plus refurb
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Drip: Chemex
Posted Mon Apr 2, 2012, 7:57pm
Subject: Re: Do you REALLY need to brew full capacity in a Siphon pot?
 

I have gone down to a half batch with no discernible ill effects. As jpender suggests, leaving it on the heat for a minute or so before adding the coffee to the top chamber helps the drawdown.
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EvanOz85
Senior Member
EvanOz85
Joined: 9 Jul 2011
Posts: 268
Location: Lafayette, LA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario and Preciso
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos, Yama 5-cup
Drip: Chemex, Kone 3, Kalita Wave,...
Roaster: Hottop B, Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Apr 2, 2012, 8:15pm
Subject: Re: Do you REALLY need to brew full capacity in a Siphon pot?
 

Not to sound rude, but neither of your replies have any relevance to my question. The drawdown is not an issue. My question pertains to the dilution of the brew.
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VKirby
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Joined: 16 Mar 2012
Posts: 99
Location: World Wide
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Mon Apr 2, 2012, 10:01pm
Subject: lol wow
 

EvanOz85 Said:

Not to sound rude, but neither of your replies have any relevance to my question. The drawdown is not an issue. My question pertains to the dilution of the brew.

Posted April 2, 2012 link

If it's not too far OT, have you ever heard of syphon extenders, that leave less water in the bottom of your pot? IDK if it's a part you buy, or just a DIY mod, but it might be worth looking into if you're getting too diluted. No problems to report with 30oz in 40oz pot so far.
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EvanOz85
Senior Member
EvanOz85
Joined: 9 Jul 2011
Posts: 268
Location: Lafayette, LA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario and Preciso
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos, Yama 5-cup
Drip: Chemex, Kone 3, Kalita Wave,...
Roaster: Hottop B, Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Apr 2, 2012, 10:04pm
Subject: Re: lol wow
 

I have never heard of a siphon extender, and a Google search yielded nothing. Can you give more info?
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VKirby
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Joined: 16 Mar 2012
Posts: 99
Location: World Wide
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Mon Apr 2, 2012, 10:22pm
Subject: syphon extender
 

I hesitate to even link the only page I found on it from a quick google search, because this is not something I would recommend at all (but this is the idea)- vinyl tubing clamped to the end with a hose clamp. That can't be good for your coffee. But maybe someone else knows of a better way, a top half made for a bigger pot that has a longer syphon that comes closer to the bottom or something.

Click Here (www.tracezero.net)
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__________
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Joined: 12 Sep 2006
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Location: .
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Roaster: None
Posted Tue Apr 3, 2012, 1:11am
Subject: Re: Do you REALLY need to brew full capacity in a Siphon pot?
 

Hello, EvanOz85

I think you raise a good question (but you answer it yourself as trying it and seeing if you like it is the best answer !)

At the last count I had...ummm...8...of these in various sizes from 3 different manufacturers. No, I don't need 8, but apart from making very good coffee, I find some of them very aesthetically pleasing.

They range from .6 litre (1 pint) Cona devices, up to the Bodum and Cona 1.13 litre versions.  I normally use the one closest to what I want to brew, but I don't think it makes that much difference if you use them for - say - 2/3 of their nominal capacity.  

My favourites are the .6 lite Conas - sadly no longer made for some reason - but making just the right amount for 2 mugs.

Your point about making a more concentrated brew from a smaller amount of water in the top, then diluting it rather more in proportion with the remianing water on the bottom is in many ways the same as making an Americano anyway.

Vacuum pot brewing has a number of variables as you will be well aware, and there aren't any real rules, so if you try it and like the result that's all that matters.

Syphon extender ? don't bother unless you have brewers with incompatible top and bottom globes or the syphon tube is broken ;o)

P.S. - I don't think that comparisons with stove top moka type brewers is that valid.  The problem with making smaller amounts in those is not so much to do with less water, but that the basket is not filled with coffee as it is designed to be, and the percolation of water pushed through it won't behave in the same way.

(minor edit)
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,479
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Apr 3, 2012, 5:23am
Subject: Re: Do you REALLY need to brew full capacity in a Siphon pot?
 

I do have a vac pot and I would not advise adding anything to the dip tube YMMV.

I also have never made less than the full 8 cups that my pot makes but I suppose you could alter the volume of coffee grounds (you would need a higher ratio of grounds to water) so that you brew stronger and that the dilution would come out correct in the end.

With that said though, I do think you may have draw down issues waiting to strike. With a lower volume of brew, your vacuum will be less in the bottom pot before draw down. Well it seems like it would be anyway, try it and see.

This post was written like someone who has never made less than a full pot (and he hasn't)!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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__________
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Joined: 12 Sep 2006
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Posted Tue Apr 3, 2012, 5:56am
Subject: Re: Do you REALLY need to brew full capacity in a Siphon pot?
 

calblacksmith Said:

I also have never made less than the full 8 cups that my pot makes but I suppose you could alter the volume of coffee grounds (you would need a higher ratio of grounds to water) so that you brew stronger and that the dilution would come out correct in the end.

Posted April 3, 2012 link

Struggling with that ;o(  I'd have thought that you still used the same ratio of coffee to water as you would if it were a full pot irrespective of how much of it mixed in the top globe ?  

calblacksmith Said:

With that said though, I do think you may have draw down issues waiting to strike. With a lower volume of brew, your vacuum will be less in the bottom pot before draw down. Well it seems like it would be anyway, try it and see.

Posted April 3, 2012 link

Hopefully a physicist will chime in to put us right.  From my own experience before I got hold of smaller brewers, a half full brew in a 1.13 litre brewer never showed that as a problem, although I accept that the physics of the water vapour/pressure/resulting vacuum in the bottom of the brewer is probably a bit more complicated than it seems at first sight.
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