Siphon Coffee Maker: A Must Have For Serious Coffee Geeks
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 give it a go 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 brewers I had tried, all I had to do was to plug it into an electrical socket just like any other regular coffee maker.
This sparked my interest in writing this article, with the advancements in coffee brewing technology, getting your hands on the best siphon coffee maker for home use that any coffee lover can easily use (not just the geeks) has now become a reality.
Below, I have picked out some of the newest and best siphon coffee makers currently available and before you ask, no you don’t need a PHD to operated any of them. Trust me once you’ve tried this vacuum coffee brewing method you’ll be hooked.
How Do Siphon Coffee Makers Work?
Before I dive in, 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 a siphon coffee brewer is being talked about.
So how does it work? The vacuum brew uses a full immersion brew process and then filters the leftover coffee grounds efficiently. The typical siphon brewer is made up of 4 parts: the bottom chamber where the water is first placed and where the final coffee brew ends up, a top chamber that has a siphon tube attached to it where the actual brew process takes place (where the magic happens), some sort of sealing material (typically a rubber gasket) to help create a partial vacuum in the lower chamber, and finally a filter which tends to be made from metal, cloth, paper, or sometimes even glass.
Before I forget, there is also a heating source at the base of the whole setup, each siphon coffee brewer is different but the best coffee siphon typically uses either a specialty butane burner, or a gas/electric stove top as a heat source. That being said some of the older vacuum brewers will use a cloth-wick alcohol burner, but this heat source is extremely slow to heat up the glass chamber to the required temperature.
A siphon coffee maker works on the basic 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) where the coffee grounds are then steeped and allowed to slowly drain back down into the bottom chamber as the glass starts to cool.
As confusing as it sounds it really isn’t all that complicated once you’ve mastered it. If after reading my basic rundown of how the siphon coffee brewer works and you are still scratching your head, take a few minutes to watch the above video featuring Bridgehead master Barista Randy Hogg.
Best Siphon Coffee Makers To Get You Started
If this coffee brewing method sounds like something you want to try, or if you simply want to release your inner coffee geek and impress your friends, I have handpicked and listed below some of the best siphon coffee makers to get you started.
KitchenAid Siphon Brewer
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article the KitchenAid Siphon Brewer is one that was recommended to me by a friend who re-lit my fire for siphon coffee makers. Typically you are faced with siphon brewers that 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 have simplified the whole process of connecting the two chambers by using magnets and an ergonomic plastic handle. The bottom chamber has some clearly demarcated lines to help with measuring the perfect amount of water for the different batch sizes.
The supplied user manual also has some tips and recommended water-to-coffee ratios to help novices new to the siphon coffee brewing process.
What I really love about the KitchenAid Siphon Coffee Brewer is the fact that it doesn’t require any “dramatic” heat source, simply plug it into your regular electric socket and your good to go. You should be able to find this coffee brewer in your local store but if not you can pick one up from places such as Amazon.
Hario Technica Coffee Siphon
If the simple “plug and play” model like the above KitchenAid doesn’t spark your interest how about this more classic looking Hario Coffee Siphon. Chances are that if you’ve ever seen a vacuum coffee maker in a coffee house this is probably the unit they are using, in fact in the above video they are using one that is very similar, don’t you think?
The Hario Technica Coffee Siphon is Japanese made and the brand name Hario is behind some of the best coffee makers around, they also have a neat cold drip coffee maker here. The Technica coffee siphon is sure to impress upon first sight and it comes in either a 3-cup or a 5-cup size, plus it includes its own alcohol burner at the base.
Unlike the above KitchenAid, the Hario Technica does require a bit more practice to get that perfect brew, but once mastered its a great siphon coffee maker to use daily. You can find the Hario Technica Coffee Siphon over at Amazon if you cannot find one elsewhere.
Yama Glass Stovetop Coffee Siphon
If you are just venturing into this coffee brewing method and don’t want to fork out a lot of money at the start this is a great budget option to get you started. The Yama Glass Stovetop Coffee Siphon is the cheapest out of all my recommendations costing just a pinch over $50.
The Yama coffee siphon is all about simplicity and requires no special heating device, simply place it on your stove top in the same way as a Moka Pot. It comes is two sizes, a 22 ounce and a 40 ounce – the smaller of the two should be prefect for those of you just starting out.
I’ve been told that those who have purchased the Yama Coffee Siphon find its final brew quality on-par with the more expensive so called best siphon coffee makers. 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 one area that Yama had to cut costs on to keep the final cost low. For the price you really can’t go wrong for an entry level basic siphon coffee maker, you can find this same brewer over at Amazon.
Bodum Pebo Vacuum Coffee Maker
My final recommendation is the Bodum Pebo Vacuum Coffee Maker. This is very similar to the above Yama in the way that you place it directly onto your stove top or even a portable gas burner, the only difference is that its 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 far higher quality materials.
The only downside is there doesn’t seem 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 are known for quality and they have a big range of french presses that are a favorite among coffee drinkers. I’m confident that you should be able to find the Bodum Pebo siphon coffee maker in your high street store, if not you can always find it at Amazon.