I wouldn't do without it for entertaining and wish I had owned one when we were assigned to Embassies and did a lot of entertaining. Now I have it and don't use it enough.
Positive Product Points
The Bodum Santos is a beautiful way to make coffee. It really impresses the visitor. If you entertain, this is the coffee maker to use for making that very best Kona or Columbian brew. Put it out for everyone to see! No one will go away any less than charmed.
Negative Product Points
This coffee maker is difficult to manage. It appears to be Lexon, so you have to take particular care in its use and cleaning. My experience with other Lexon products is that they crack over time. It is not the easiest to disassemble or to assemble. It comes in two large parts and is very tall when stored. That makes it difficult to store. It is worth the hassle, but no one can say that it is hassle free.
I love the coffee the Bodum Santos makes, but don't use it often because it is difficult to prepare, clean and store. I have friends that come over often that are pretty demanding and we always prepare quality coffee for them. I like to try different ways of prepareing coffee for them. I have done Vietnamese iced coffee using the real Vietnamese drip makers and various other coffee black magic for them. I sort of reserve this coffee maker for them and other special occasions. I wouldn't be without this coffee maker, but I don't see ever using it for everyday. The results are better than the drip unit that I use every day, but not so much as to make worth the hassle. I wish I had owned one of these when we entertained at the Embassies we served in. We did breakfast for 20 to 30 people about once a month and more. I liked to serve the best of coffees when we did that. This coffee maker would have been wonderful for those events. I always had a good coffee and tea bar set us with the liquor, beer and wine whenever we entertained. The objective was to impress and this would have done so in spades.
I got this and had no idea what it would do for me. I used it and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of its coffee product. It was not overwhelming though. (01/03/2007 - I must add that I just did the modification to the up tube as recommended on this unit last weekend. The coffee is superb now.) For all that I had read of vacuum coffee makers, I expected more. In the 1950's, vacuum coffee pots were pretty common and I didn't remember them as anything to italicize back then. With the newer and better coffees available on the market, this does take better advantage of what is available and adds substantial to the entertainment value of a coffee service. This is a great Christmas gift and the recipient will thank you for giving it. It has great charm!
I am lucky in that I live near an excellent place called Unclaimed Baggage. You will hear of Unclaimed Baggage about twice a year when Leno or Letterman does a special on it. In the same complex is an annex called Unclaimed Cargo. Since I am retired, I do a lot of treasure hunting there. It looks weird when I state the prices that I give for things when I buy them there, but they are true prices.