Drip and filter coffee systems maybe a little boring compared with siphon coffee systems.
Siphon coffee—or as it’s more commonly known, vacuum coffee—is an old-world and interesting way to watch the coffee making process unfold.
Not only that, but it releases a distinct flavor that you just don’t get with drip feed systems.
This is an involved process that takes some getting used to, but the rewards far outweigh the hardships of getting there.
Have you ever seen a vacuum coffee maker at work?
It’s a truly marvelous thing, and tantalizing to watch the whole process from start to finish.
We’ve found the five best vacuum coffee maker models that you can buy, based on a specific and strict criteria.
It focuses on quality, ease of use, and of course, how well the coffee comes out. Get your independent burners ready; it’s time to make a one-of-a-kind cup of coffee.
Our Reviews Of The Best Siphon Coffee Maker
Hario NEXT Glass Syphon Coffee Maker
We’re already fans of Hario and their pour over coffee systems, but this siphon system has got to be one of the best they’ve ever produced.
Topping our chart for its attention to detail and quality components, this is simply the best siphon system for beginners and seasoned professionals alike.
The underdog of any siphon system is the plug that helps retain pressure, and Hario made this one out of a stainless steel spring that’s destined to last for many years.
As is customary for their brand, Hario used borosilicate glass, which has a natural heat resistance that exceeds anything that your burner could put this unit through.
Your burner, stand, and main components are also made out of stainless steel, though the handle is made out of silicone.
While this is built to give you a great grip at all points throughout the brewing process, it will be the first aspect that you’ll notice degradation on.
When it comes to cleaning, it’s as straightforward as you get.
They didn’t do anything fancy with the top reservoir; it’s a simple cylinder that gets the job done, and doesn’t enrage you while you’re cleaning it.
It’s as effective as it needs to be without any extra bells and whistles, which is exactly how siphon coffee was meant to be enjoyed.
KitchenAid Siphon Coffee Brewer
When you think of KitchenAid, mixers are usually the first things that come to mind.
Well, it’s time to reimagine what you understand about them, because they arguably made the best modern design siphon coffee maker out there.
Everything has clean lines and curves to it, so your cleaning process isn’t egregious in the least.
KitchenAid also wanted to address one of the major concerns with siphon coffee makers: safety.
That’s why the heating plate isn’t an open flame like with most burners, and why they included a magnetic lock to keep everything tightly together during the brewing process.
You still get the same authentic process and flavor of siphon brewed coffee, it just doesn’t require nearly as much cleanup.
Your siphon orb comes with its own handle, and the basin resembles that of a standard coffee carafe in just about any machine you’ve ever used.
Siphon coffee requires a thorough filtering process, otherwise you’re just drinking failed Turkish coffee.
KitchenAid included a stainless steel filter with a reusable cloth, so you don’t have to buy expensive siphon filters just to use your new coffee maker.
Bodum PEBO Vacuum Coffee Maker
The only problem with modern day siphon coffee making is the cleanup.
There are so many working parts to worry about that it becomes a chore at the end, even if you got that bold, smooth cup of coffee out of it.
Bodum did an excellent job at minimizing the number of working parts to reduce cleanup time, while also making the glass components fairly easy to clean and access.
You get a plastic handle along the center to give you pouring power, though be warned that it still heats up a bit.
It’s not enough to burn you, but you will feel the heat building in your palm as you go to pour. Apart from that, the only other downside is the prolonged brew time.
It can take up to 11 minutes for a full basin of coffee, and while we approach siphon coffee with an appreciation for the time it takes, this can be a bit much.
With those minor grievances in mind, they sized this perfectly to calibrate the optimal settings for a seriously stellar cup of coffee.
You’d be hard-pressed to find this level of smoothness out of most siphon coffee makers, so we have to give credit where credit is due.
Between the flavor it provides and the sturdy, durable construction, you’ll be hooked on it.
Kendal Glass Tabletop Siphon Coffee Maker
Imported from Japan, Kendal’s simple glass siphon system follows just about every rule regarding siphon coffee makers.
Between the broad stand, sturdy handle and quality filter, it gets the job done properly.
However, it didn’t peak the top of the list for a reason. It’s not designed for more than two people to enjoy one cup of coffee each.
The total volume is 0.31 gallons (a little over a quart), but that’s accounting for the total volume between both basins.
You’re getting about two 10-ounce cups out of this, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but the advertising on it was a bit dodgy.
The coffee that comes out of this follows all the same flavor profiles and smoothness ratings of standard siphon coffee; it’s going to make a great cup, and in fairly good time.
Compare this 3-4 minute brewing process to the 11 minute process of the previous model.
You could make this in your home office while you’re getting work done, and not sacrifice too much time while doing it.
The system is a little convoluted to clean, though that’s sort of what we’re getting into when we choose a siphon coffee maker.
Nispira Belgian Luxury Siphon Coffee Maker
It’s time to get regal.
This gold-colored siphon coffee maker looks incredible and adds to the theatrics, but it also provides an excellent way to make smooth, full-bodied coffee in a short amount of time.
You can get a full basin in about five minutes, but keep in mind that there’s only a maximum of a 17 oz capacity. It’s fairly limited, but for one or two-person use, it’s just right.
The high quality stainless steel retainer system has an anti-corrosive property, which helps in between cleanings if the siphon maker is going to sit there for an hour or two.
This siphon maker resembles a lot of odl-world models for a reason; there’s a lot of aesthetics in making siphon coffee, and they made this look just about as complicated as it ever possibly could look.
The wooden stand, branded logo and ornate design of the glass is all part of the show.
Nispira’s system is mesmerizing to look at while the siphon effect occurs, though it produces a similar flavor to many other siphon coffee makers.
You’ll get the alcohol burner included in the kit, completing the old-world look that’s going to entice guests right from the start.
Siphon Coffee Maker FAQ
Is Siphon Coffee Better?
Siphon coffee has a smoother taste than drip fed coffee, but apart from that, there isn’t much of a reason to get a siphon maker apart from theatrics.
It’s something of a skill to be able to use one properly, and is great fun to make, but the flavor impact is minimal.
A siphon coffee maker allows you to put on a show for others while you look like a mad scientist of caffeine, and make them something smooth and rich.
However, there is such a thing as a bad siphon. The best siphon coffee maker models on our list all represent something, and that is perfect calibration.
When they first started making siphon coffee makers, the science was only so precise.
It’s dead simple to manufacture one of these nowadays, so most of them can produce similar tasting coffee with a great level of smoothness.
That isn’t to say that every siphon coffee maker is made equal, though.
Some have more heat resistant glass, better handles with less heat retention, and higher quality metal components that make them much easier and safer to use.
Siphon coffee is smoother than drip coffee, so yes, it is better by a slight amount.
Don’t let this dissuade you from trying your hand at siphon coffee; it’s a ridiculously fun thing to do, and once you get involved, you’re going to be hooked.
What Are the Benefits of a Siphon Coffee Maker?
Siphon coffee makers may not be as popular as they were during their inception, but they still have a few benefits that might persuade you to try them over a boring drip coffee maker.
The smoother taste and body are great reasons to try it out, but there are also a few hidden benefits that aren’t listed on the sales pages.
If you’re into coffee like we know you are, these reasons are going to ring true.
Siphon coffee makers keep the top off while brewing, and it floods the entire room with this rich aroma of arabica coffee, even if you’re only making enough for one cup.
It’s one of the most unanimously agreed upon aromas in the world, and it simply gets you excited for that cup of coffee.
Low Energy Use
Yes, you are burning butane, but that’s relatively inexpensive compared to the electric costs of 120 V coffee makers sucking up all that energy through the way, every day of the week, every month of the year.
We often don’t think about how those small appliances make a big impact on our energy bill, but it adds up quickly.
You’d look like a crazy person if you dragged a drip feed coffee maker from place to place, but if you’re bringing a siphon coffee maker around, then you look like an aficionado that knows their stuff.
Whether you’re bringing it camping, tailgating, or you’re travelling and don’t want to drink hotel coffee (because let’s face it, nobody does), it’s portable and lightweight enough to go with you wherever you go.
How Does a Coffee Siphon Work?
Vacuum brewer pots use, well, a vacuum in the bottom beaker. That’s when water vapor rises up through the small central conduit, and no air comes back down.
This creates a vacuum because there’s little to no air in a small space, and when something is eventually introduced back into that space, the vacuum will pull it in as it attempts to fill with air.
Any vacuum coffee pot will operate on this principle.
How Durable is a Siphon Coffee Maker?
Many people get freaked out by putting live flame to glass, but what you need to understand is that it’s heat treated ahead of time to prevent breakage, cracking, or any damage from occurring.
While it’s not recommended, you could light a flame under an empty beaker for a few minutes without breaking it.
The main principle at work that prevents the glass from breaking is heat transference.
If you have water in the bottom beaker, then the heat will pass through the glass fairly quickly, and transfer to the water.
In short, you’re not actually heating up the glass as much as you think, it’s more like you’re heating the water.
This is why we don’t use stainless steel or other types of metals for vacuum coffee pots; they absorb heat before they transfer it (hence why you need to pre-heat an oven before use).
What Grind Size for a Siphon Coffee Pot?
What Grind Size for a Siphon Coffee Pot?
Siphon coffee pots need a medium grind, which is what you’re going to find in most pre-ground coffee.
You should grind your own beans to maximize flavor and control every aspect of the coffee making process, but you should aim to have a consistency somewhere in between iodized table salt, and kosher or sea salt.
The goal is to have as much surface area of the coffee as possible, without making it into a powder.
Each individual grind has water run through it, then it moves around as your stir the top beaker contents, and eventually it runs through the sediment grinds at the bottom to get into the bottom beaker.
That’s a lot of travelling through coffee grinds, and if they’re too coarse, you’re not going to get enough of an extraction, and you’ll end up with watery-tasting coffee.
How do You Set up a Siphon?
Vacuum pot coffee requires a few steps to set up before you turn that burner on. For one, you need to separate the two separate beakers so you can apply the filter to the top one.
A siphon filter usually comes with a metal bead drawstring on the bottom. Feed that through the central beaker pipe and pull it gently until it’s secure.
You should be able to tip the top beaker upside-down without the filter falling out before continuing.
Next thing you need to do—and we’ve seen a lot of vacuum coffee maker reviews where people don’t do this—is meticulously heat up your water before you put it into the siphon.
Get it to about 200 F, just before the boiling point, and pour it into the bottom beaker.
Now it’s time to turn on your burner. Start with a high flame until the coffee starts to lightly boil (this sounds redundant based on what I just said, but trust me here).
Once the coffee starts boiling, you’re going to secure your top beaker in place so that it’s completely flush with the bottom beaker, and secured in place at the rig.
The second that you secure that, you’re going to see the water rise up into the top beaker on its own.
Once 80% of the water is in the top beaker, slowly reduce the heat until the top beaker is no longer boiling.
It is okay for the small amount of water left in the bottom beaker to boil, as this will maintain the vacuum.
Next, you have to add your coffee into the top beaker and stir it. Wait the allotted amount of time based on your desired brew strength and grind size, and kill the heat.
The coffee is going to come down through the siphon into the bottom beaker, and you’re done.
What Should the End Product Look Like?
When you’re done, the coffee should have a dark color to it, as well as a smooth body. There will be minimal coffee froth on top, and it will resemble a freshly poured cup of coffee.
In order to know if you did it right, look at the grinds in the top of the siphon before removing the top beaker. How did your grinds fall?
When grinds fall in a perfectly symmetrical circle on top of the filter, that means you did everything right.
You stirred throughout the process, you kept things moving, and now, everything has evenly run through all of the coffee grounds.
If you notice clumps of coffee grinds on one side of the siphon, or like a lot of it has stuck to the edges of the top beaker, the vacuum might have been weak.
It might have pulled the coffee down too quickly.
What is the Siphon Effect?
Siphon coffee brewing is an old school style method of making coffee, dating back to the 18th century.
The siphon effect, at the time, was seen as one of the most efficient ways of making a higher quality coffee before electric drip units were invented.
The best coffee siphon will produce a perfect siphon effect, which is when the pressure builds up in the bottom chamber, and forces water to actually rise up into the top chamber.
It’s held there by this pressure, where it rolls around and imbues with the coffee, almost coming to a boil.
Once the heat in the burner is shut off, the water vapor in the bottom stops pressurizing.
From there, the water feeds through the filter thanks to gravity, and enters the bottom basin as coffee.
You might also see this referred to as the vacuum effect, or hear these called vacuum coffee makers.
That’s exactly what’s happening: an atmospheric pressure change, but in your own little glass world. The air is being removed, creating a vacuum through Bernoulli’s theorem.
Your Newest Way to Create That Perfect Brew
Siphon coffee and the science behind it is fascinating, but what’s even better is how fascinated your friends and family will be when you not only make them fantastic coffee, but the theatrics of how you prepare it.
If you can pour out a solid brew from a siphon coffee maker, you’ve mastered one of the hardest parts of making coffee. All that’s left to do is enjoy.
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