Bite the bullet and spend the money. After a day or two, you won't care. Get the Micro Burner!
Positive Product Points
Very good build quality, killer design. You will develop your own routine for using this maker.
Negative Product Points
Had just a little trouble keeping the upper bowl seal in place. It seems ok now. The upper bowl would sometimes push up out of the funnel seal during brewing and other times lift out of the seal after brewing. This is not good. I found that if I re-seat the seal on the funnel while holding it under running water it would seat in the groove better and then not come off during brewing. With the water running twist and press the seal into place. Another tip- take a look at the funnel seal. There are four lugs at the bottom (stem end) just above them is a flange all the way round the seal. When you seat the funnel in the lower bowl stop pressing when this flange is in place. Pushing the seal in too deep was causing the seal to separate from the funnel. I also found the if the seal is wet that will help removal.That plus trying to force the seal onto the funnel while both were dry. So, go to school on me and you won't say to yourself ' I paid 80 bucks and this @#$%&@ seal won't stay in place?
I bought this maker to have vacuum coffee at my office. It sits on top of the mini fridge just fine. The instructions were clear enough. If you've had experience with the vacuum method it's pretty much the same. One concession to speed. I replaced the alcohol burner with a can of Sterno. I know, it aint pretty or elegant and I'd never use it in front of company. But by myself in the office it's alright and it's faster. Did I mention this thing makes the best coffee you'll ever have? The over priced German drip machine sits awaiting the next garage sale. I've been a vacuum coffee fan for a long time and I am glad I found this coffee pot. Just added a new toy to make the process simpler. I tossed out the Sterno and bought the butane Micro Burner. I got it from Lee Valley hardware for $27.50 + $7.00 shipping via FEDEX. Let me tell you, this little gem is the way to go! I pour the hot water from my kettle into the lower bowl and strike the burner. In SECONDS the water is back up to the boil and ready to go. And reheat the coffee (never from a cool temp, always make fresh if it gets cold) in a flash. I'm now waiting for my West Bend electric kettle from Amazon. It was marked down from $60.00 to $30.00. The kettle lifts from the base and keeps water hot. It has an auto shut off and an on/off switch. Should make the process even smoother. I will post my impressions of the kettle. The Hario experience just got a lot better. The kettle has completed my coffee ritual. Is all this worth it for a cup of coffee? Well, when you're sick and tired of Mr. Coffee and grocery store coffee, there is light at the end of the tunnel. We think nothing of the rituals we involve our selves in to prepare food, so what's one more step forward for good coffee? Life is too short not to have a little pleasure.
The phone rep at Hario USA could not have been more helpful. Got my pot in 5 days and they even threw in a couple of Hario cloth filters. Nice folks to do business with.