Monthly Archive for October, 2013

Vacuum brewer danger: superheating

Yama vacuum brewer

A couple years ago, I read about a coffee brewing method called “vacuum brewing” or “siphon brewing”.  It uses two linked glass vessels, and a small heat source (an alcohol burner, for example).  Water is placed in the bottom vessel and heated.  When the water boils, the top vessel is connected and steam pressure pushes the water up to the top vessel, where it mixes with the ground coffee.  Then the heat is removed and a vacuum forms in the bottom vessel which pulls the coffee back down again, through the filter.

It sounded really interesting, but It wasn’t until last week that I actually found a vacuum brewer on sale, at the Green Beanery in Toronto.  I picked up a Yama TCA-2.

The instructions were all in Japanese (vacuum brewing apparently is popular in Japan), but from the pictures and a general understanding of how the process works, I was able to make it go.  It’s slow, but I kind of enjoy the brewing ritual.

I’ve used it a few times now, but last night something happened that caught me quite by surprise, and was potentially very dangerous.

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