With so many different ways to brew coffee, the ritual never gets boring. Some coffee makers are straightforward, simple, and easy to use, while others are a lot more theatrical and require a bit of skill to master.
The siphon coffee maker falls under the latter and is one of those brewers that requires a bit of practice.
But for any coffee dedicated coffee fan who takes on the challenge, they will be rewarded with a coffee experience like no other – plus, you’ll be able to wow guests with the intricate workings of this clever piece of kit.
If you think you’re up to the challenge, keep on reading. In this post, we have handpicked a small selection of the finest siphon coffee makers currently available, and you don’t need a Ph.D. to operate any of them.
Our Top Pick: Best Value
What Is A Siphon Coffee Maker?
At first glance, the siphon coffee maker looks like it belongs on the shelf of a school chemistry lab rather than on a coffee shop counter.
You’ve probably seen one or two at your local trendy hipster coffee shop but never knew what the intriguing gadget was, deciding not to embarrass yourself by asking and left after ordering your regular Americano coffee to go.
I hear you. Those bearded baristas can be a bit intimidating.
Simply put. A siphon coffee maker uses a full immersion brew system. It falls 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 discussing coffee, the chances are that the conversation is about siphon coffee.
The vacuum coffee brewing process might seem like a daunting one by looking at the glass siphon tube and chambers.
However, although this brew unit may look challenging, I promise it’s not.
The entire brewing process relies on a vacuum and works on the fundamental principle of contraction and expansion of gas in the form of water vapor.
A heat source is applied to one glass chamber, forcing water up into another section where the ground coffee waits.
The hot then water steeps the coffee grounds. As the glass starts to cool down it then slowly drains back down into the bottom chamber.
The coffee grounds will be in complete contact with the water throughout the whole vacuum brewing process.
The Science Behind The Siphon Coffee Making System
Now you understand the basics of how a siphon coffee maker works, let’s look at four unique features that set the siphon coffee pot apart from other coffee brewers.
Siphon brewers function using a method called full immersion.
If you’ve used a French Press or the AeroPress, this shouldn’t be anything new, as both use this same immersion technique for brewing.
Total immersion is basically a fancy name for steeping, where your ground coffee is in complete contact with hot water during the entire brewing process.
Compared to other brewing methods, such as drip coffee, the immersion method isn’t as good at extracting the full flavor from your coffee and typically produces a light, clearer flavored brew.
The unique feature of the siphon is the vacuum that propels water around the system once your coffee has been steeped.
The natural vacuum created quickly pulls your coffee back down into the bottom chamber, but not before it passes through a cloth filter.
A crucial element of great-tasting coffee is heat.
Unlike other brewing methods that call for preheated water to be poured over your grounds, a siphon brewer is heated continuously.
This ensures that you have a steady heat source throughout the entire brewing process, translating to a better-tasting coffee.
Best Siphon Coffee Makers: Our Recommendations
If this siphon sounds like a coffee maker you want to try, or maybe you want to impress your house guests when they next pay you a visit Bean Ground has your back.
We’ve handpicked some of the best options out there.
Make sure to click the links to each brewer to read the full specs and see what other buyers think of their purchase.
KitchenAid Siphon Coffee Brewer
The KitchenAid siphon brewer is a very well-designed product, and it’s automated!
KitchenAid simplified this brewing method and the entire process even connecting the two chambers is done using magnets.
The bottom chamber features clear lines that help with measuring the perfect amount of water for the different batch sizes.
The supplied user manual also has some brewing tips along with some suggested water-to-coffee ratios to help novices who’re new to siphon coffee brewing achieve a great batch of coffee.
We love the KitchenAid Siphon Coffee Brewer because it doesn’t require any additional heat source, plug the brewer into your regular electrical socket, and you’re all set.
Hario Technica Coffee Siphon
The chances are that if you’ve ever seen a vacuum coffee maker used by a barista in a coffee shop, this is probably the unit they’re using.
The Hario Technica coffee siphon is Japanese-made. The Hario brand is synonymous with top-quality coffee gear 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.
The Hario Technica does require a bit of practice to get the perfect brew but once mastered, it’s a great siphon coffee maker for daily brewing.
The simple yet stylish design is also effortless to use and straightforward to clean.
Yama Glass Stovetop Coffee Siphon
For those of you who don’t want to blow a small fortune on their very first siphon coffee maker, this neat and compact offering from Yama is an excellent choice.
The Yama coffee siphon is all about simplicity and requires no additional heating device. You place the brewer directly on your stovetop.
The Yama siphon comes in two sizes, a 22-ounce, and a 40-ounce, so choose a size that’s perfect for your requirements.
But, for beginners, we recommend choosing the smaller version. The design is simplistic, and it’s pretty much fool-proof to use.
One of the downsides of the Yama is the quality of the glass chambers, which seem to be relatively thin and fragile compared to others.
Bodum Pebo Vacuum Coffee Maker
We found Bodum’s PEBO siphon coffee maker to be of great value. The vacuum brewer is larger, the glass feels much more robust, and overall it seems to be made with better quality materials.
And considering that it can brew eight cups of coffee consistently in a little under 10 minutes, it’s a win-win.
It is also worth noting that the Bodum Pebo uses a reusable plastic filter rather than a cloth one, which makes it quick and easy to clean.
The unit doesn’t come with a burner, so you will have to buy a small heat source (like this), or you can place the Pebo directly onto your stovetop.
Nispira Belgian Balance Syphon
If none of the above siphon coffee makers tickle your fancy, lock your eyes on the Nispira Belgian Balance Syphon.
This is a brewer made to impress, it’s probably not going to be something you can use daily, but if you want to whip it out at a party or during the holiday season, the Nispira is sure to be the center of attention.
Essentially, the Belgian Nispira is a replica of one of the very first vacuum coffee makers. Every detail is based on the original brewers from back in the day.
The Nispira syphon coffee maker oozes elegance, but that does come at a price, and as elegant as it looks, it is one of the higher-priced items on our list of recommendations.
The design of this siphon is slightly different in comparison to others that utilize a top chamber. The Nispira syphon does things differently, and the vacuum chambers are set up side by side.
Despite its unusual design, the Nispira uses the same principles as any other siphon brewer.
The only drawback is that the working system is not as simple to adjust as others, and sourcing replacement parts can be tricky – but it still makes darn great siphon brew!
Is Siphon Coffee Worth It?
We would be lying if we said using a siphon coffee maker was easy; honestly, it’s not.
Don’t get us wrong, it makes a delicious coffee brew, but it’s slightly more time-consuming than simply removing and tossing a paper filter into the trash when it comes to cleaning.
But if you’re a coffee lover, you owe it to yourself to invest in a siphon vacuum brewer, even if you only bring it out and dust it off for special occasions.
If the additional cleaning doesn’t concern you, use it as your regular coffee brewer, and you’ll be rewarded with a smooth, full-bodied, crisp, clean, and rich coffee that’s like no other.
The key to mastering the coffee siphon is timing.
If you keep track of the timing, you can dial it to your personal taste preference.
A good starting reference is to use a 16:1 ratio.
You will find that the coffee will be “normal” strength and roughly somewhere between Chemex or French Press in mouthfeel. You can check our siphon coffee brewing guide for more details.
A Bit of Buying Advice
If you’ve gotten this far, you must have browsed through our list of recommended best siphon coffee makers, and you might even have your eye on one.
But, before you take the plunge and part with your cash, you should look at some other interesting facts and observations regarding the siphon coffee brewer – it might save you the headaches later on!
Standalone or Stovetop?
There are two types of siphon coffee makers, either a stovetop operated device or a standalone.
They both brew the same quality coffee but how that coffee is brewed differs slightly.
The standalone siphon comes with a stand holding the brewer in place, and you add a separate burner underneath.
This is the most popular type of siphon, but using an alcohol or gas burner can be cumbersome.
As the name suggests, the stovetop siphon does just that, and it’s designed to be placed directly onto your stovetop, albeit gas or electric.
However, to lessen the risk of the bottom glass chamber cracking under the intense heat, it’s also recommended to purchase a diffuser to place between the unit and the heat source.
Materials and Construction
Siphon coffee brewing is nothing new, and its roots can be traced back to the 1830s.
Back in the day, brass and stainless steel were the preferred materials used to manufacture siphon brewers.
It’s getting harder and harder to find siphons made in the traditional style, but it’s still possible.
The Nispira syphon listed above is one of those that has been designed with the traditional style in mind.
However, as times change, new and better materials have been added and swapped out.
Today the best quality siphons have a body made from a heat-resistant borosilicate glass rather than heavy and expensive brass.
Almost all siphon coffee makers will come with some type of cloth filter.
This filter is excellent at filtering out the coffee grounds. The only problem with cloth filters is that they are slightly more challenging to clean.
The good news is that many of the best coffee siphons allow you to use cloth or paper and even stainless steel; these are super easy to clean.
In most cases, these will have to be purchased as aftermarket filters and won’t come included with the siphon when bought.
Alcohol Burner or Butane Burner
Suppose you’ve decided that the standalone siphon coffee maker is the type you want to buy you will need to invest in a burner to go with it.
Many will ship and include an alcohol burner with the siphon. These can be tricky to control the heat, and they will cause a lot of soot to be deposited on the bottom of the siphon.
But for best results, we recommend that you invest in a separate butane or gas burner.
They don’t cost a lot, they are generally very reliable and are much cleaner.
This type of burner will also take a lot of the guesswork out of the brewing process; it’s one more minor component you need to focus your energy on, which could be better focused on the coffee itself.
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How Much Coffee Do You Want To Brew?
Siphon coffee makers come in various sizes, with the more popular units brewing anywhere from 3 to 8 cups.
Depending on how much coffee you intend on brewing, make sure you choose a capacity that meets your needs – the photos can be deceiving.
How Much Do You Want To Spend?
And finally, what’s your budget? How much are you willing to spend on a siphon coffee maker?
If this is your first time purchasing a siphon, you might not want to go all in and spend a small fortune.
After all, you might not like the style of coffee that’s brewed.
All we can say is this is a decision only you can make. If you want to seriously wow your guests on a special occasion, perhaps spending a little more will be worth it.
Some of the top-of-the-range siphons are so seriously great to look at.