Vac Pot Cloth

Dedicated Readers of this blog (hahaha...) may recall that I promised that I would devote a post to vac pot brewing. WHERE IS IT, my cherished Readers ask me. Reams, no veritable bales of digital paper have been wasted as they inquire about the mysterious vac pot method that I honed in the Himalayan hills under the taxing (actually tax-free) tutelage of a famed Arabican barista. Peace, dear Reader, peace, it shall come.

Suitably absurdist preface out of the way, let's talk vac pot filters. Cloth is best. A true gentleman by the name of Nate Jones, of Kaffeologie, is coming out with an amazing metal filter. Amazing. A friend and I had the privilege of testing it. It's almost as good as cloth in terms of brew-quality, but properly maintained cloth will always produce clearer coffee. Depth filtration and all that business. Cloth is not easier but it can be pretty easy once you learn my wax-on-wax-off tricks.

If you've just bought a new vacuum pot--hint hint, Roaste stocks them--then you probably received with it a cloth filter that's already tied to the filter apparatus. I wouldn't use it more than 30 times before replacing it. I usually replace mine every 15 or so times. At this replacement-rate, it's about the same price as uisng paper filters.

When you tie you filter, make sure the filter is wet with hot water. This will take out the clothy taste as well as making it easier to get it good and tight. I don't actually tie my filters though. But I do get them as tight as I can. If your filter is centered, then you shouldn't have any major agitation in the brew chamber (bubble streams off the side of the filter...not ideal, but if it's gentle then it's fine. The problem is that the streams act as agitators. It's like having a baby hand in the chamber stirring certain parts of the coffee but not others. This tends to increase bitters in the cup, assuming everything else in your technique is sound.)

Every time you brew with cloth, I like to prewet it with hot water for a few minutes. In between uses, store it in water in the fridge.

Cleaning cloth. When your brew is done, keep the filter spung onto the stem. Dump as much as you can into the trash or, better, the compost. If you've got a high pressure faucet, you can blast most of the rest of the spent grounds out of the chamber. Pretty easy. And the key to getting the filter good and clean is to detach it from the filter at this point--this is why I don't like to tie mine. Use your fingers, scrub all that coffee out, rinse, then put your textile pet in the fridge. I'm using a lot of words here, but this whole bit doesn't take me more than 2 minutes. Syphon coffee emerges absurdly hot, so you shouldn't be drinking that stuff right away unless you're into miniature self-immolation. 

Occasional puro caff/cafiza soaks never hurt cloth either. This routine should keep your cloth good and clean. Most people who complain about cloth just don't know how to use it. In my mind it's the best filtering medium in terms of quality. Yeah, a little bit more work but once you get a routine down it's not a big deal. Amazing fragrant and clean coffee...cloth is worth the trouble.

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