I recently rediscovered the siphon coffee maker, this coffee brewer isn’t something new to me, but for some reason, I never took a liking to this method of making coffee in the past. However, a friend recently persuaded me to try it again claiming that the new siphon coffee makers are a lot easier to use and operate than those around in the 90’s.
I got my hands on the new KitchenAid Siphon Brewer and sure enough, it was super easy to use, it required no burners or naked flames like the previous vacuum brewers I had tried. All I had to do was to plug it into an electrical socket just like any other regular coffee maker and push a button!
Playing around with the KitchenAid sparked my interest once again in the siphon coffee maker. With the advancements in coffee brewing technology, getting your hands on the best siphon coffee maker for home use that anyone can easily use (not just the coffee geeks) has now become a reality; Unlike the olden days when you had to take out a life insurance policy when you wanted to use a Siphon brewer!
If you want to try this siphon coffee maker brewing method, below, I have picked out some of the best siphon coffee makers currently available, and you don’t need a Ph.D. to operate any of them. Trust me once you’ve tried this vacuum coffee brewing method you’ll be hooked.
What is a Vacuum Coffee Maker?
Before we dive in head first, it’s probably a good idea to fully understand how the siphon coffee maker works as well as the basics of how to operate it (safely).
Siphon coffee makers fall under a plethora of other names such as vacuum brewed coffee, vacuum pot, and a vacuum brewer, among others. So if you hear any of these word combinations in a sentence relating to coffee, the chances are that the conversation is about a siphon coffee brewer just like the ones in this article.
How Does The Siphon Brewer Work?
Siphon coffee makers brew coffee using a dramatic-sounding process term called “total immersion.” As dramatic as it sounds total immersion is simple brewing process. The coffee grounds will be in full contact with the water throughout the whole brewing process.
I bet this process is starting to sound familiar, well it should, because the AeroPress, French Press, and the Clever all use immersion for brewing. In laymen’s terms, coffee immersion is the same as steeping but typically results in a lighter and clearer final brew.
You’ll find that the best siphon coffee maker will be made up of 4 parts:
- The bottom chamber where the water is placed first (and where the brewed coffee ends up).
- A top chamber which has a siphon tube attached, this is where the actual brew process takes place (This is where the magic happens).
- Some sealing material (typically a rubber gasket) to help create a partial vacuum in the lower chamber.
- A filter that’s made of metal, cloth, paper, or sometimes even glass material.
There’s also a heating source at the base of the whole brewing setup, however, each siphon coffee brewer is different, but the best coffee siphon will typically use either a butane burner or a gas/electric stove top as a heat source.
With that being said some of the older vacuum brewers will use a cloth wick alcohol burner, but this heat source can be extremely slow to heat up the glass chamber to the required temperature. So I recommend investing in a small gas burner like this one that can fit underneath the siphon.
A siphon coffee maker works on the fundamental principle of contraction and expansion of gas, in the form of water vapor. A heat source is applied to one chamber (bottom) which in turn forces water up into another chamber (top). It’s this top chamber where the coffee grounds are then steeped. As the glass starts to cool down it then slowly drain back down into the bottom chamber.
As confusing as it sounds it actually isn’t all that complicated once mastered; it might take a few tries first though! If you’re still unsure of how the siphon coffee brewer works take a few minutes and watch the above video which features Bridgehead Master Barista, Randy Hogg.
Best Siphon Coffee Maker (Top Picks For 2018)
If this coffee brewing method sounds like something you want to try, or if you just want to release your inner coffee geek and impress your buddies, I’ve handpicked some of the best siphon coffee makers to get you started. So grab a cuppa and let’s crack on!
KitchenAid Siphon Brewer
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the KitchenAid Siphon Brewer is the vacuum pot that relit my passion for siphon coffee makers. Most of these brewers are famously fragile due to the glass construction, but the KitchenAid has been built to take some abuse.
The KitchenAid Siphon Coffee Brewer is very well designed, and they’ve simplified the process of connecting the two chambers together by using magnets and an ergonomic plastic handle. The bottom chamber has some clear lines that help with measuring the perfect amount of water for the different batch sizes.
What I love about the KitchenAid Siphon Coffee Brewer is the fact that it doesn’t require any “dramatic” heat source, just plug it into your regular electrical socket and your good to go. You should be able to find this coffee brewer in your local store but if can’t you can pick one up from online retailers such as Amazon.
Hario Technica Coffee Siphon
If the simple “plug and play” KitchenAid doesn’t spark your interest how about the classic looking Hario Coffee Siphon. The chances are that if you’ve ever seen a vacuum coffee maker being used by a barista in a coffee shop, this is probably the unit they’are using. Actually, if you take a look at the video above, it’s the same vacuum coffee makers that they’re using!
The Hario Technica Coffee Siphon is Japanese made and the brand name Hario is behind some of the best coffee makers and coffee grinders found in today’s marketplace, such as the Hario V60 and the ever so popular Hario Skerton coffee grinder. The Technica coffee siphon is sure to impress upon first sight, and it comes in either a 3-cup or a 5-cup size and includes an alcohol burner for the base.
Unlike the above KitchenAid, the Hario Technica does require a bit more practice to get the perfect brew, but once mastered it’s a great siphon coffee maker for daily brewing. You can find the Hario Technica Coffee Siphon over at Amazon if you cannot find one elsewhere.
Yama Glass Stovetop Coffee Siphon
If you’re just venturing into vacuum coffee brewing and don’t want to dig deep into your pockets and fork out a lot of money the Yama is the perfect budget option. The Yama Glass Stovetop Coffee Siphon is the cheapest out of all my recommendations and costing just a pinch over $50 bucks you’ll have some change leftover for some fresh whole coffee beans to go with it!
The Yama coffee siphon is all about simplicity and requires no special heating device, just place the brewer directly on your stove top (same way as a stovetop Moka Pot). The Yama Glass Stovetop Coffee Siphon comes is two sizes, a 22-ounce, and a 40-ounce; I suggest the smaller of the two those of you just starting out.
Coffee fanatics have told me that the brew quality of the Yama Coffee Siphon is on-par with the more expensive vacuum pot brewers like those listed above. One of the downsides of the Yama is the quality of the glass chambers which seem to be rather thin and fragile; I guess this is the one area that Yama had to cut costs so they could keep the price as low as possible (you’ve got to cut cost somewhere!). For the price you really can’t go wrong for an entry level basic siphon coffee maker, you can find this exact same brewer over at Amazon.
Bodum Pebo Vacuum Coffee Maker
My final recommendation is the Bodum Pebo Vacuum, Coffee Maker. This siphon coffee maker is very similar to the above Yama in the way that you place it directly on your stove top or even a portable gas burner; the only difference is that it cost almost double the price!
However, you are getting a bit more “bang for your buck” with the Bodum. The vacuum brewer is larger, the glass feels much more robust, and overall it seems to be made with better quality materials.
The only downside is there doesn’t appear to be any a cover for the top chamber, to be honest, this shouldn’t be an issue unless you overfill the bottom chamber.
Bodum is known for quality, and they have a big range of good quality French Press coffee makers that are a favorite among coffee drinkers. I’m confident that you’ll be able to find the Bodum Pebo siphon coffee maker in any well known high street store but if not you can always find it at Amazon where they always have stock readily available.
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