on November 20, 2001
I originally gave this pot a rating of 1 star but would like to change it to 5 stars. After a very minor correction, the Bodum-3000 now makes an excellent & rich cup of coffee. I had originally complained about its producing a thin, weak brew but have since discovered that this was due to the silicon band preventing contact with the heating base. It took 2 seconds to remove this band and the result is that the brewing process was lengthened by a couple of minutes. I could immediately taste the difference--what was once dishwater became GREAT coffee. Bodum contacted me by email & was extremely helpful, offering to do whatever it takes to satisfy me. So, I now enthusiastically recommend the Bodum Santos 3000, both for the wonderful coffee & customer service!
on October 30, 2005
First, this pot makes excellent coffee. It is better than the coffee offered at most coffee shops, and it's cheaper to make your own. In addition, the coffee is good and hot, just like coffee is supposed to be. It is more convenient to use most of the time than a French press, too, and much better than any drip coffee maker I've ever used.
We did receive a defective unit at first, after a couple of weeks the programming went south and didn't hold the coffee in the upper part long enough. Amazon sent us another unit; it's nearly two years old and works as designed.
As others have noted, this isn't the easiest unit to clean. This difficulty and the initial problem we had makes me knock it down a half star.
As for some of the comments here in the reviews, I'd really take them with a grain of salt. While the design and manufacture of this unusual coffee maker must have been a challenge, the physics of a vacuum pot aren't exactly rocket science (nor are the basics of how to make great coffee) but you'd think it was magic or something from reading some of the stuff here. My opinions, for they are worth: don't perform any of the modifications recommended online unless suggested directly by the manufacturer. Most of the ideas I've read here (cutting the tube down ¼ inch to extend brewing time, for example) make no sense to me.
Also, this is made of tough polycarbonate plastic and is anything but delicate. Trust me, if it was a delicate piece of equipment my wife would have trashed 10 of them by now....
Anyway, in summary: a good electric vacuum pot that makes a great cup of coffee and is reasonably easy to use.
on December 8, 2001
I've lived with the Bodum 3000-10USAA Electric Santos 12 Cup Coffeemaker for a week now, making coffee every morning, and I'm ready to voice my opinion. This is a wonderful coffee maker. It's got a great, durable design, it's as convenient to use as your standard drip coffee maker, it's fun to watch and, most importantly, it makes a great cup of coffee.
I've been intrigued with the idea of a vacuum coffee maker for some time. But most of the other designs made from glass, such as the Cona and the earlier Bodum Santos, seemed a bit too fragile for everyday use. Also, these vacuum coffee makers weren't convenient to use since they required either a spirit lamp or a gas burner on low flame for a heat source. You couldn't just plug it in, hit a switch and walk away. On the other hand, I've never been quite satisfied with all the various glorified "Mr. Coffee" machines because I didn't get that rich coffee flavor I came to know from a French press. The new Bodum vacuum coffee maker combines the best of both worlds. Like other vacuum coffee makers, it creates a rich, fragrant cup that makes it easy to distinguish a Costa Rican "La Minita" from a Guatemalan Huehuetenango (provided that you don't roast both to the degree that Starbucks does). On the other hand, it is convenient enough so that I can stumble downstairs half asleep in the morning, put in my ground coffee, hit the switch and have a great cup of coffee in a matter of minutes. If any kitchen device needs to be virtually foolproof, it's a coffee maker.
Cleaning is more involved than your standard coffee pot because you don't have the convenience of a paper coffee filter to pick up and throw away, and because the bottom carafe isn't water submersible (it contains electronics so you can't put it in a dishwasher). I've adapted and had no problem scooping out the spent coffee grinds with a spatula and running water only on the inside of the bottom carafe.
Some reviewers have complained that you have to use more coffee grinds in the Bodum than in a standard drip coffee maker. This is not true. There is nothing inherent in the vacuum design that requires the use of more coffee. Many people don't use enough coffee per cup. The standard is about two tablespoons per 5 - 6 oz. coffee cup (coffee ideally should be measured by weight, not volume), which is the ratio Bodum recommends. I use just as much ground coffee in the Bodum as I have in any other coffee maker. For those who complain about the cost of using Bodum's recommended ratio, I suggest you roast your own coffee. This will lower the cost appreciably.
If you enjoy great coffee, the new Bodum vacuum coffee maker will bring you one step closer to Coffee Heaven.
on December 16, 2002
I've owned this machine for about three years. I took note of many complaints in the various review venues about its needing a lot of coffee to taste good. I personally confirmed that it seemed to require an inordinate amount of coffee to get a rich robust brew. I was getting my coffee by mail from Starbucks, who supply mail orders only in "universal" grind. I wondered if this grind was too coarse to permit optimal extraction. So I experimented with a burr grinder (I chose a hand model, but there are others, e. g. Capresso). Sure enough, with a finer grind, I'm using half the coffee I used to, and it's quite reasonable in cost now. The brew time is fairly short, especially with smaller amounts of water, and both the grind and the amount of coffee have to be adjusted according to the amount of water I use: relatively more coffee at a finer grind for small amounts, relatively less coffee at a slightly coarser grind for larger amounts, to take into account the fact that larger amounts of water result in a longer period of contact of the grounds with hot water and steam. If the coffee brew is bitter, it's been overextracted and you need a coarser grind. This is not as much of a hassle as it seems, because once you learn how to manage the variables for your coffee and your personal taste, the situation is stable, and the electric Santos makes a great cup of coffee. The same machine is sold by Starbucks at a higher price in the stores, the same price online.
on September 27, 2003
We bought the electric Santos (12 c.) after trying their stove-top version. The vacuum process brews coffee by immersing all the grounds in water right at boiling and by holding them there for a precise period. At the end of the period, the vacuum created in the pot (lower section) "sucks" the coffee out of the top where it's been steeping. Boiling the water up to the top results in a soft thundering sound, sucking it back down creates a plunging deluge. It's all great fun to watch.
We usually need more than one measure of coffee per "cup" of water (the cups marked on the pot are pretty small, by the way--less than 6 oz.). We use double-filtered, cold water. The nylon filter is better than paper, so I understand, because it lets the oils through. This advantage is somewhat offset by the pot and upper bowl being made of plastic, albeit very hard. (Bodum used glass in the stove-top version--a better material so far as taste is concerned.)
Clean up is a chore, but you're after peak coffee flavor that percolators or cone filters cannot achieve--so it takes extra work. A reviewer (apparently not an expert!) criticized the Santos for having no feature for taking a cup while brewing. Two problems here: first, Santos brews the fastest I've ever seen (less than three minutes for 12 cups, use instant coffee if you can't wait); second, good coffee requires precise measures and times, and taking a cup while it's brewing destroys the precision. DON'T BUY THE SANTOS IF YOU WANT ONLY A QUICK CAFFEINE FIX.
The lid hinge on our Bodum broke. It's made from soft plastic weaker than the rest of the plastic in the device. Bodum apparently has no designers-engineers who know about strengths of materials. (Our glass version developed a hairline crack along the upper bowl because of the weakness of the material; its lower bowl appears to be a stronger glass. I will be wary of all Bodum products because of material weaknesses.) Lose one point for materials.
I first saw the Bodum 3000 at a birthday party and was intrigued-it was fun to watch the coffee being made (doesn't take much to entertain me)and the coffee was delicious! Before I even needed a new coffeepot I ordered the Bodum- it is sleek in design, minimalist in style and a little pretentious. I don't mind the handwashing of the pot- I hand wash my good copper pan. Coffee grounds don't get me down. And when you want a really good cup of coffee- this is the coffe pot for you! What fun to bring it out for company and watch their amazement as you make and then pour them the best cup of java they have ever had!
on June 8, 2005
This amazing machine brews some of the absolute best coffee I've ever tasted, even better than Starbucks coffee in my opinion. It's probably the best coffee you can brew at home unlesss you're willing to spend several thousand dollars for top of the line espresso equipment.
It is amazing what a difference this makes to the taste of the coffee. Of course you should think about where you're priorities are, if you just want something that brews up decent coffee (not *good*, decent) quickly and is easy to clean you'll be better off with a cheaper drip brew maker. But if you really appreciate good tasting coffee and are williing to put a bit of extra effort to get it I would highly recommend this machine.
The vacuum brewing system really makes a difference because it gets the water to just the right temperature. Most drip coffee makers don't get the water hot enough to really bring the flavor out of the bean and if you use water that's too hot you'll end up with burnt tasting bitter coffee but this machine achieves the ideal temperature.
It's also really fun to watch...I don't usually care what appliances look like as long as they do what they're supposed to do well but have to say watching this machine at work is really cool probably partly because I know what good coffee is only a couple of minutes away. A manual vacuum pot will probably get you similar results for about 3/4 of the price but it's difficult if not impossible to find one that will brew 12 cups at a time. It can keep it hot for up to 2 hours and if like me, you don't mind coffee a little less than piping hot it's nice to be able to brew so much good coffee at once.
Annoyances and tips:
-Don't skimp on the coffee, the recommended one smalll scoop per cup produces a fairly week brew, try increasing that until you achieve coffee brewed to your taste. This definately does recquire more coffee than a drip brewer to achieve the same strength.
-Use good coffee preferably freshly ground.
-This is a bit of a pain to clean, not difficult just a little time consuming.
-It is made of plastic but it is well made and doesn't look like one of those cheap plastic appliances that are only good for a month or two.
-I'm told putting a quarter underneath the lower part of the pot while breweing will cause it to keep the coffee in the vacuum chamber a bit longer resulting in a slightly better brew.
-While the manual says to replace the nylon filter once per month I'm told they can last up to a year or more if cleaned after every use and well cared for.
Overall...Absolutely awesome coffee well worth the small amount of extra expense and inconvienience compared to a drip brewer. Great product!
on April 18, 2005
The following begins with our review ofthe smaller Bodum but goes on with updates to the larger one we now own:
I regret that my first online review must be negative, but . . .
> Great cup of coffee. We found that changing the filter every month, even if not broken, keeps the flavor at its best. No matter how you clean the filter, a new one, for some reason, clearly improves the taste.
> Quick and relatively easy to use. Clean up is more work than a traditional machine, but the coffee flavor makes it worth it.
> Unfortunately, the quality does not yield longevity. We bought ours in April 2004. Since then:
a) The lid tabs broke so if you forget and simply poor a cup, you have coffee everywhere as the lid pops off.
b) By January 05, there is coffee leaking around the bottom of the pot. Clearly the plastic body is failing and it looks like we will need to replace this unit soon.
For the record, we have used this almost daily as our primary coffee machine but everything has been cleaned by hand (no dishwasher cleaning which is not recommended). So we are sure that we have used it as intended, but the construction quality simply was not up to the daily usage in our experience.
Now for the hard part: Finding a replacement that brews as good a cup as this, but one that will last!
ADDENDUM: (Or Addendumb?) Okay, so it is roughly one week later and now the handle to the coffee pot has broken off entirely. A third problem in less than a year! I plan to contact Bocdum so we will see what they say, but it wouldn't seem too unreasonable to expect a coffee maker to work once daily for more than 9 months, right? And to make matters worse, not having found a suitible replacement based upon all my research, we are now awaiting delivery on our new 12 cup Bodum Santos! God help us!
Update #2: You can read the info below and see my concerns. You will also note that we replaced the smaller unit with the larger one, even with the quality concerns. So as a quick update on the larger one, the same seems to be the case - great coffee, but questionable build quality. We have used the unit now for about 5 months and we do use it daily. The tabs on the lid have broken as they did on the small one. So far, that is the only thing, but it is one of those frustrations that can result in coffee everywhere if someone does not know it and fails to keep a finger on the top when pouring! Perhaps the other issues will not surface, but a quick failure of a simple thing like the lid, twice in two units, does not inspire confidence. (I need another cup of coffee!)
on June 23, 2002
My husband & I decided to buy this coffee maker after doing a lot of research. We've had it for about two weeks now and it definitely makes the best coffee ever. Here's what we've found:
1. The coffee--perfectly brewed every time, really hot, and FAST. Six cups brew in about six minutes. We did a side-by-side brewing and taste test with our old filter-drip machine. The Bodum coffee was a lot hotter, had better body and flavor, and was done a lot faster.
2. Clean-up: A little more trouble than with our old drip coffee maker, but it's really not a big deal. We rinse the coffee grounds out of the top half into the sink with the pull-out sprayer, then run them down the disposal. We hand-wash the top and filter or, occasionally, run them through the dishwasher (the top fits fine in the bottom rack). We just rinse out the bottom half and let it air-dry.
3. Amount of ground coffee used: This coffee maker does use a little more coffee than our old one. The instructions say to use one scoop (2 tablespoons) of coffe per "cup," as marked on the carafe. One "cup" on this carafe is four ounces. We have found that this ratio works perfectly. With our old coffee maker, I used one scoop per six ounces for the best-tasting coffee. I suspect the difference is due to the coarser grind used in the Bodum than in filter-drip coffee makers.
4. Amount of coffee made: The minimum amount of coffee you can make is 4 "cups," or 16 ounces. This is not too much for me to drink by myself, but if you just want 8-12 ounces to get yourself out the door in the morning, it might be too much. The maximum is 12 "cups," or 48 ounces, a good amount for a dinner party. And the machine brews so quickly that you can easily make one pot for the decaf-drinkers and a second for those who prefer it leaded.
5. Other comments: *Really* fun to watch and listen to! Watch the instructional video--it's very helpful. We haven't experienced any of the problems with water heating that some other reviews mention.
on January 6, 2002
I've been using the Santos for ~3 weeks now: 2-3 full pots per day with my family over the holidays, and now 1/2 pot per day for just me. I love it. The only downside is that I used to be just an occasional coffee drinker, and got a pot just for convenience. I'm now drinking 3 cups a day 'cause it's so good.
What makes this coffee pot different from your traditional drip coffee maker?
1) The water never boils. According to the enclosed video, the water is only heated to 96º (C), 4º (C) shy of boiling. Although there's turbulent action when all the water is in the top funnel, I believe that's caused by heated air is also being forced up the tube, thereby aerating/mixing the coffee. [Actually, I don't know if traditional coffee pots boil the water, but I know this one doesn't.]
2) The water stays in contact with the grounds longer. The first water up the tube begins releasing the flavor of the grounds while the rest of the water is being forced up. Once all the water is forced up (except for a bit to protect the heating element in the base), air comes up and mixes up the whole schmear. The first water up is probably in contact for 3-4 minutes, the last for <1 minute.
3) Nylon filter: paper filter cones make cleaning out the grounds easier, but at the expense of absorbing a noticable amount of the flavor. The fine nylon filter in the Santos does a great job of filtering out all but the very, very finest of sediment while absorbing nothing. Depending on the roast, you may find coffee oils floating in your cup, which you'd never find with a paper filter. A few seconds using spatula to scrape out the grounds is more than worth it for the difference in flavor.
4) Polycarbonate material: If you've used a drip coffee maker for more than a week, dip a Q-tip in hot vinegar and run it between the ridges in the filter holder. I bet it will come back brown. The plastic in most machines holds onto to some of the coffee forever. You can never get them completely clean, and the flavor of your hundredth pot is therefore worse than the flavor of your first. The polycarbonate material of the Santos comes completely clean with just a wipe of a(n optionally soapy) sponge. And it's clear, so you can tell it's clean. I usually avoid plastic because of the flavor, but this material appears to be both totally inert and practically indestructible.
About the only thing I think could be improved on the Santos is the ease of cleaning the bottom coffee pot. The instructions say not to use running water, presumably to protect the exposed heating element. I wish they'd have given us a plug to stick over the element so we could really completely rinse the pot.
Bottom line: This is a fabulous coffee maker. But beware: you'll drink more coffee than ever, and you'll have alot more moochers dropping by your place for coffee.