The New Bodum Santos
Posted September 2, 2000 1:40pm
With the delay of the coffeegeek.com launch, I knew it was just a matter of time before a "scoop" of sorts I was holding close to the chest would finally become known. And now the word is out: Bodum has brought out a new vacuum brewer, the new Bodum Santos (it will be called the Barista Europa in N. America, where there will only be one place to buy this thing - Starbucks, of course).
So I got a few things to say about this device. First, over a year ago, I made a prediction that one of the major manufacturers were going to take over the mantel of making a kick ass, electronic, mass marketed vacuum brewer for the new millenium. Just as the CoffeeMaster from Sunbeam was the height of brewing technology in 1950, I figured one company (I semi-predicted it would be Sunbeam again, but more on that below) would do it - take all the modern stuff from kitchen appliances, like cordless operation, timers, sensitive temperature controls, modern materials, etc etc and they would have one kick ass product. That company turned out to be Bodum.
The new Santos has been in Europe for about a year now, and up until recently I have heard very little about it, but one thing I did get out of the Euro introduction is the detailed product brochure for the vac pot (thanks Joe Monaghan!) and the European product manual (thanks Chris!). I first found out about this vac pot in the spring, and finally got some product shots of it a few months back (see below for all the scans from the promo brochure).
All reports so far is that it is a great product, but the casing is polycarbonate plastic, not glass, meaning it will probably get cloudy and scratchy with time. The base is self-contained with the cord, allowing "cordless pot" operation. In the base is an electric timer / clock and some of the other electronics that control the operation of the vac pot. The heating element is in the base of the bottom pot, and is at an angle inside.
The entire design of the Bodum Santos / Barista Europa is typically "Bodum Artistic" with weird angles and organic shapes. The top globe sits in the bottom globe on an angle, with the syphon tube angling to one side. I'm not sure how much I like the "look" of it, but for one thing, it is unique.
The filter is Bodum's "Micron-C-Filter" which is probably the same kind of nylon filter that Bodum uses in a few of the other products, including their 1 cup filter self-contained coffee maker. If it is, I'm not super impressed with this thing, as it lets a fair amount of sediment through, but who knows, maybe it's something different.
The vacuum brewer is electronically controlled, and has an approximately 1.5 minute brewing time, meaning that once all the brewing water is up top, the heating elements will stop heating after one and a half minutes, commencing the kick down process. I've spoken to a few people who own this product and they say it is very consistent under most brewing conditions. Cleanup is average for a vac pot, though care should be taken with the bottom globe - you can rinse it but you shouldn't submerge it in water. Most of the parts are dishwasher safe.
And for the last word on the new Bodum, the brewing quality compared to manual vacpots is middle of the road. One owner told me months ago that they have a Cona and a Hario brewer and find that those manual devices brew a better cuppa compared to the new Santos. Another owner loves it - it is their first vac pot, and compared to their traditional auto drip machine. I'll have to wait till I get one :-)
Lastly (before I get to the pictures), a note (and a rant) on Sunbeam. I don't know what is up with this company. Their website is so old tech its not funny, and in phone calls I've made to them (with queries about the CoffeeMaster line) they seem clueless and very old-thinking. I thought, wow, this company had such cutting edge technology 40 years ago, maybe they could pick up the ball again and come out with a kick ass, cutting edge electronic vac pot for the new millenium. But you know what? They don't seem to be a company thinking very much about the future, or innovative products. Now its up to the Europeans, I suppose.
These scans are from the Bodum promotional brochure for the European version of the Santos. Scanning them was a bit of a pain - the bodum artsy brochure featured muted pastels with white type on them, but heck, I did my best. The full size versions are HUGE, keep that in mind, k? They are about 830 pixels wide, and 425 pixels tall. They will open in this same window, unlike other parts of this site, where pics usually open in a popup. (ed.note: with the new version of CoffeeKid, I have decided not to upload these photos).