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Bodum Santos - Paul Varjak's Review
Posted: April 29, 2002, 2:36pm
review rating: 8.4
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Bodum Santos
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More About This Product
Arrow The Bodum Santos has 31 Reviews
Arrow The Bodum Santos has been rated 8.02 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Bodum Santos reviews have been viewed 190,652 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Glenn R. Holmes 8.75
Paul Varjak 8.42
Jeroen Vriesendorp 8.40
Geoffrey Sherwood 8.25
Craig Hairrell 8.20

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.8
Manufacturer: Bodum Quality: 7
Average Price: $45.00 Usability: 10
Price Paid: $30.00 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: London, England Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 4+ years Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: Aficionado Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Nicro/Cory 468AS, Vintage Silex
Bottom Line: Don't be intimidated by vacuum pots or the low cost of this product.
Positive Product Points

The Santos is relatively durable, easy to use and clean and makes great coffee.  It also makes a larger quantity than most other vacuum pots.  It has a novelty factor and fabulous looks compared to other non-vacuum coffee makers.  More solid than it appears at first.

Negative Product Points

As noted by others, not up to the Cona level of quality.  I wish Bodum would make the Rio (12 cup) again.  It is not as beautiful or solid as some other vacuum pots.

Detailed Commentary

I discovered this coffee maker (and vacuum brewing in general), while I was living in London in the early 1990's.  I fell in love with it aesthetically, and even more so when I discovered how well it made coffee with the horrible London water!  I have been using it ever since.  While it clearly requires a bit of experimentation, these efforts are well-rewarded.  Here is the basic stove-top (gas) method I use every day:  Set the burner to medium and place a metal-screen "flame-tamer" over the burner (I discovered this part in Italy, where they recommend the use of one of these); Fill the lower pot to the 8-cup mark (1 ltr.) with Brita-filtered water and set on burner;  Insert the funnel with the filter in place into the pot and fill with ground coffee and cover; When half of the water has filled the top, I stir the slurry 4-5 times; Let it fill the rest of the way and stir again; let it "boil" for 20 to 25 seconds and then move to an unused burner.  The mixture will sit in the top for 30-60 seconds and then briskly filter to the bottom.  I immediately pour the finished coffee into a previously warmed thermal Alfi carafe.  Several caveats:  the amount of coffee and the "right" grind will vary with each type and purveyor of coffee (it usually takes me a day or two to get it right if trying some new coffee).  As a general rule, darker, oilier coffees will require coarser grinding, or the filter may clog.  Too fine a grind will allow too much sediment into the finished coffee and clogging.  Be careful.  Do not listen to some sources that say the vacuum pot is like an espresso machine, Moka pot, or other "fast brew" method and that it requires a fine grind.  The process is more like a French Press, as the coffee and water mix for several minutes as all of the water is drawn up the funnel.  The difference is that the vacuum created in the carafe replaces the plunger.  If the coffee does not strongly suck down to the bottom pot, the filter may be clogged or you did not allow the pot to sit on the burner long enough.  In fact, I think that the fast, but not too fast, vacuum action is the key.  If it is too slow and the grinds do not form a dense, rounded, cone-shaped pile above the filter, the coffee is not as good.   Contrary to some of the comments already posted, I find that the plastic disc filter works very well, and allows more of the oils and other flavor elements to remain in the coffee than paper or cloth filters do.  Of course, a glass Cory or Cona tube might be better.  I will try it.  I have tried several other vacuum pots and frankly do not think they produce better coffee, and are still somewhat fragile.  Thus, several $30 to $35 pots are better than one $150 dollar one. My father broke my original funnel, which was easily replaced.  As a matter of fact, I bought a whole new kit, assuming I might break the carafe eventually and it only cost $10 more than a replacement funnel. I have tried coffee from the Bodum/Starbucks electric Santos and do not think it is as good, and I am wary of the all-plastic construction.  Coffee is acidic and I can't see how the plastic will not affect the taste or deteriorate.  Furthermore, it looks harder to clean.  On the plus side, it makes a bit more, and can be programmed.  Supposedly the funnel and pot can be put in the dishwasher.  I have seen it on sale for as little as $90, and for that it might be worth it.  Frankly, I think simpler is better and except for breakage, the glass Santos is better than the Starbucks Electric Santos, and almost more foolproof than a press pot.

Buying Experience

Widely available.  Easily available parts via phone or internet in the United States and most of the world.

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review rating: 8.4
Posted: April 29, 2002, 2:36pm
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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