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Siphon Coffee Brewing Guide
The siphon is one of the most interesting coffee makers. It looks very exotic, resembling something from a steampunk world or piece of equipment from a classified chemical laboratory.
But you don't need any special education or even simple barista courses to make coffee in a siphon. All you need is the equipment and minimal instruction. Let's get started!
What Is a Siphon Coffee Maker?
The siphon, also known as a vacuum coffee maker, has been used to make coffee for over a century. It all began in 1830, when Leoff filed a patent for the device in Berlin.
But commercial success came only in the 1840s when Frenchwoman Marie Fanny Amelne Massot improved the design and patented the invention under her pseudonym, Madame Vassieux.
Massot paid much attention to the external design of the device: it was a metal tripod that held two glass spheres one above the other and topped with a metal crown.
Over time, the design of the siphon changed, but how it works has remained the same.
Although the siphon is not the most practical of devices, it is capable of delivering consistently high-quality results. The device requires minimal human effort beyond measuring coffee and water dosages and temperature.
What Are the Parts of a Modern Coffee Siphon?
The design of the device is quite simple; it has been improved over the years, but the general idea remains unchanged. Here are its parts:
- The lower chamber that has a round or teardrop shape and is made of heat-resistant borosilicate glass.
- A metal stand to which the lower chamber is attached. Underneath, there's room for the heating element.
- The top chamber, a second borosilicate glass flask. It can have a cylindrical or spherical shape and is equipped with a long glass tube at the bottom. When the siphon is assembled, this tube reaches the bottom of the lower flask.
- A cover for the upper tank.
- A rubber gasket between the flasks.
- A filter to be placed in the upper chamber. It can be made of fabric or metal.
- A heating element, most often an alcohol burner.
How Does a Vacuum Coffee Maker Work?
The siphon uses an immersion brewing method, but in a strongly modified form compared to other coffee makers.
As the water in the lower chamber is heated by the burner, the pressure difference forces the water through the glass tube into the upper chamber, also called the hopper.
When the temperature in the hopper has stabilized (at about 201.2°F), it's time to start adding ground coffee to the upper chamber. It seems that the water is boiling, but it is not: it is bubbling because of the air passing through the tube together with the water.
Extraction takes place as the ground coffee and water mix in the upper chamber. When extraction is done and you remove the heat source, the pressure changes again, causing the brewed coffee to pour into the lower chamber. First, it passes through a filter that keeps coffee grounds out of the finished drink, which will be pure and rich in taste.
The whole process takes just a few minutes if the water is preheated before you pour it into the lower chamber.
Siphon Coffee Brewing Guide
For the perfect cup of siphon coffee, you will need:
As with other brewing methods, we recommend that you experiment with grind, extraction time, and initial water temperature to find the flavor you like.
Use only fresh coffee (preferably no more than 4 weeks from the date of roasting). If you brew older coffee in a siphon, you will most likely get a mediocre result, disappointing result.
The siphon allows you to extract the full flavor and aroma from fresh coffee. If the coffee is old, there is nothing to extract from it.
Grinding and Dosage
To prepare coffee in a siphon, you will need fresh drinking water and freshly roasted coffee.
The grind size should be medium. If the beans are coarsely ground, the drink won't be saturated enough.
Use a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:14 or 1:16.
Serving (Brewed Coffee)
Regular Coffee 1:16
Strong Coffee 1:14
Brew Time: 7-8 Min
Yield: 3 Cups
What You Need
• Siphone brewer
• Siphone filter
• Clean water
1. Pour water inte the lower chamber, located above the heating element or burner.
2. Pour coffee grounds into the second (upper) container.
3. Switch on the heating element.
4. When the water boils and moves into the upper container, turn off the heating element or burner.
5. Wait until the filtered drink flows through the tube back into the lower chamber.
6. Pour the finished coffee into cups.
- To speed up the coffee preparation process, you can pre-boil the water in a kettle without waiting for the burner to heat the water in the siphon. Put the kettle on the stove and bring the water to a boil.
- Place the filter in the upper chamber. The filter should be pre-moistened with water.
- Pour the boiling water into the bottom chamber.
- Install the upper chamber, but not tightly. This will help warm the upper chamber before extraction.
- Light the burner and place it under the lower chamber.
- When the water starts to boil, install the top chamber tightly to the bottom chamber. The water should rise to the top of the siphon.
- Reduce heat.
- Pour ground coffee into the upper chamber. We recommend a medium grind. Stir gently. Your task is to moisten the ground coffee with water.
- A small amount of water should remain at the bottom of the siphon; you can ignore this.
- Let the coffee brew for 60-70 seconds.
- Turn off the burner and stir the coffee quickly and gently. Enjoy the aromas that are released.
- The coffee will gradually flow back into the lower vessel.
- About 30 seconds after the coffee stops bubbling, remove the top chamber.
- Your coffee can be poured directly from the siphon. Let stand for 2-3 minutes before drinking.
How to Choose a Siphon Pot Coffee Brewer
Siphon coffee brewers have been used since the 1830s. Then, the devices were made of brass and stainless steel. Such models can still be found, but are impractical and used only for decor. Today, the best high-quality siphons are made of heat-resistant borosilicate glass. This doesn't mean the devices are indestructible, but if you care for them well, they will serve you for a very long time.
Siphons gradually began to go out of use in the 1960s due to the popularity of instant coffee. But when alternative brewing methods came back into fashion in the 21st century, so did siphons.
Now siphon coffee makers are produced by Hario, Cona, Bodum, Yama, and other brands. You can also buy souvenir models with interesting antique burners.
Next, you will learn about how to choose a siphon. By the end of the article, you'll know exactly what type of coffee maker you want and what type of heat source is best for your unique setup.
Like many other systems, siphons can brew different amounts of coffee. Usually, you can make 3 to 8 cups at a time.
Remember to check the capacity of the coffee maker before buying and make sure it matches your level of coffee consumption.
What are the Types of Siphon Coffee?
Siphons can be used both independently and on a kitchen stove. The quality of the coffee does not depend on which method is used.
A stand-alone siphon coffee maker prepares coffee using a built-in or separate burner, which is located under the lower flask. The burner can be powered by either alcohol or gas.
There is another type of siphon coffee maker that runs on an electric or gas stove. Note that you will need to place a diffuser between the unit and the stove. Direct contact with heat can increase the likelihood that cracks will develop nin the lower chamber.
We recommend that you use freestanding siphons that look more vintage and elaborate. These are slightly more expensive than stove models, but their beautiful design is worth it.
Siphons can be used with the usual three main types of filters—metal, fabric, and paper. But there is also a unique glass filter that you can choose if you like. Let's compare these types of filters.
Metal filters. Stainless steel filters ensure a reliable taste by allowing aromatic coffee oils and fine coffee particles into the mug. This results in a strong aroma and a heavier, more pleasant body in the coffee.
A new filter must be kept in boiling water for a few minutes before use. The same goes for the following filters.
Cloth filters. The fabric allows all-natural coffee oils to pass through, but not a single coffee particle gets into the mug. As a result, your coffee in a mug will have an intense aroma and a silky, velvety taste.
The advantage is that such a filter is reusable. But if you want it to serve for a long time, you need to handle it carefully. Rinse thoroughly after use and store in the refrigerator to prevent mold.
It is also recommended that you boil the filter from time to time to keep it fresh.
Paper filters. The porous structure of the filter allows flavors to pass through well but retains coffee grounds so the coffee has a light body and pure taste.
Glass filters. The innovative Cona Glass Filter Rod is designed with dozens of tiny holes that let liquid coffee through but keep large coffee particles out. The result is similar to coffee made with a metal filter, but the taste is much richer. And the filter itself is so easy to clean that you just need to rinse it with water.
If you decide to purchase a stand-alone coffee maker, then you'll also need a burner.
Different burners work best with different siphon models. The most commonly used burners are alcohol and gas burners. Newer coffee makers can use electric and halogen burners.
The alcohol (spirit) burner is the cheapest. That being said, it can be difficult for you to control the temperature until you get the hang of it.
You may also find that a lot of soot will remain on the bottom of the siphon.
We recommend using gas or butane burners. They are usually quite reliable. They are easier to use and control than alcohol burners and will not leave any soot residue.
Siphon coffee makers are experiencing a rebirth. Their popularity is boosting the global specialty coffee industry, and this is not surprising. The siphon helps you to feel the finest nuances of taste and, thanks to the unique combination of total immersion and filtration in one device, to get an exceptionally clean cup, free from coffee particles.