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Vac pot: it's not just for coffee any more

Postby RapidCoffee on Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:01 am

I've been using coffee equipment to make tea for some time now. The French press is obvious, and some teas even turn out reasonably well (albeit underextracted) in an espresso machine.

Recently I've been experimenting with the vac pot, and discovered that robust teas respond wonderfully:
Image
Rooibos (or red bush) tea, an herbal tea from South Africa.

Has anyone else played around with this?
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Postby shadowfax on Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:36 am

I can't say that I have, but I do have a Hario mesh filter and holder for my siphon brewer that was intended for using teas (also yields a very french-press-like coffee extraction, allowing more oil through than the cloth filter... as well as silt). The mesh filter assembly also comes with a bunch of paper filters so you can get a (vaguely) drip-like brew.

I'm really taken with siphon brewing as a method.... so robust and open-ended. You can really change your method to suit your tastes easily with it.

My Christmas plans include the Baratza Vario, my TCA-3, a half-pound of Intelligentsia Kenya Thiriku, and this new toy I just got as an early Christmas gift of sorts. Of course, my grandmother is a tea drinker, so that opportunity will probably arise. Any pointers? I'm guessing it's pretty straightforward, though I am curious which filter you're using.
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Postby RapidCoffee on Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:35 am

shadowfax wrote:My Christmas plans include the Baratza Vario, my TCA-3, a half-pound of Intelligentsia Kenya Thiriku, and this new toy I just got as an early Christmas gift of sorts. Of course, my grandmother is a tea drinker, so that opportunity will probably arise. Any pointers? I'm guessing it's pretty straightforward, though I am curious which filter you're using.

How interesting: a device to separate out coffee fines.
Image

I'm using the standard Yama cloth filter, which has never given me cause for complaint. For black teas like Assam (or the Rooibos shown above), a brew time of 3-4 minutes seems to work well. You can use the siphon stand as a lid during all or part of the brewing to increase the temperature. Lower brew temps are recommended for green teas, so they may not respond as well in a vac pot.
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Postby shadowfax on Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:20 am

RapidCoffee wrote:Lower brew temps are recommended for green teas, so they may not respond as well in a vac pot.


Hmm, I think if you put the top on the vac pot when the water is only warm rather than ~200F, you can get some pretty cool kick-up temps. I haven't had occasion to try it, and probably won't ever because I can't stand green tea, but it's a thought. I have no idea how stable it is, though--like if it might kickdown unpredictably or just be plain hard to get the right temp consistently.

As for the MPS-50, I don't want to hijack your thread, John, so I started one a little sooner than I'd planned, here.
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Postby earlgrey_44 on Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:41 am

RapidCoffee wrote:
Recently I've been experimenting with the vac pot, and discovered that robust teas respond wonderfully:

Has anyone else played around with this?



Since I got my antique Silex a while back, I did try it for black teas and the results are indeed excellent. Unlike a "tea egg", there is plenty of circulation, and the filtration is swift and complete. I think I read somewhere that the "glass filter" was originally developed with tea brewing in mind - though that may be apocryphal.

I like to take the pot off the stove and place it on the table where guests can see the leaves floating around and watch the tea fall into the lower globe. Many people have never seen such a contraption before.
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Postby JohnB. on Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:53 am

RapidCoffee wrote:I'm using the standard Yama cloth filter, which has never given me cause for complaint. For black teas like Assam (or the Rooibos shown above), a brew time of 3-4 minutes seems to work well. You can use the siphon stand as a lid during all or part of the brewing to increase the temperature. Lower brew temps are recommended for green teas, so they may not respond as well in a vac pot.


With a tabletop siphon & butane burner you can keep the water temps pretty low (190F). What temp range do you need for green tea? My wife drinks a lot of Yerba Mate' which she normally brews in our 8c Chambord. I'll have to try brewing some up in the NCA5 & see what she thinks of it.
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Postby RapidCoffee on Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:01 pm

This site claims brew temperatures of 150-160F are optimal for green teas. I cannot vouch for its accuracy, but green teas do have a tendency to become bitter if overextracted.
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Postby cannonfodder on Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:50 pm

I have seen the same low numbers for green tea as well as short steep times. Not a green tea fan, tastes like grass to me.

I use my french press to make tea. Avoids the leaves in the cup and gives the tea plenty of room to bloom. I have been using the steam wand on the espresso machine to make spiced apple cider lately. Dash of fresh ground nutmeg, clove and cinnamon, steam it and enjoy
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Postby mini on Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:05 am

So if a vacpot makes delicious coffee and great tea, does that mean that it would make mind blowing cascara?

(if you haven't heard of cascara, click here)
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