Electric Cory and Coffeemaster, Manual Santos, Manual Hario
Great, hot coffee served with panache and intelligence.
Positive Product Points
Great, hot coffee. No "stuck" brews. Wide-mouth upper bowl. Thoughtful design. Attractive
Negative Product Points
Lower bowl difficult to clean. Doesn't seem to keep coffee warm after brewing.
I'm very pleased with this little pot. It's just the right size for my personal morning coffee needs. I have used a number of vacuum pots -- electric Coffeemasters and Corys, and the manual Harios and Bodum Santos. This one is hands-down better than any of them.
The absolute best feature has been no stuck brews. It always heads south successfully.
The next best feature is the wide-mouthed upper bowl. Since this is where all the grounds are, it's critical that this piece be easy to clean. It's a breeze.
Another little feature is the silicone rubber ring at the base of the lower pot. It grips the counter very well, making it easy to twist on and off the upper bowl as recommended in the instructions. You can safely use two hands on the upper bowl instead of using one on the top and one on the bottom.
Yes, the lower bowl is hard to reach in, but it doesn't require near the cleaning that the upper bowl needs.
One last feature I love is the base. The heating unit is like the European-style electric kettles. The pot sits on an unobtrusive base, so you can take the pot to the table and leave the cord behind. There's a place to tuck excess electric cord into the base, too.
Finally, there's a really nifty swing-out holder for the upper bowl integrated into the base. It's very convenient for holding the upper bowl, so you don't have to lay it down on the counter or in the sink.
I apparently paid more than typical for this pot, but I can't say enough about the Alterra. They brewed a demo pot for me. When I wasn't impressed by the flavor of the Yirgacheffe they just brewed as compared to the cup of drip-brewed Sulawesi I had just bought, they brewed another demo pot of Sulawesi, which sold me. By the way, Alterra's coffee is outstanding and reasonably-priced, considering the freshness and the quality. If you ever visit Milwaukee, don't miss a stop at Alterra.