The first time you set eyes on a siphon coffee maker, you might guess that you’re looking at a beginner-level chemistry set. In a way, you’re not wrong!
They are typically plug-free devices that rely on physics to brew fresh coffee. Siphon coffee brewing can be a delicious and educational experience. Additionally, coffee brewed in this way tends to be incredibly aromatic, flavorful, and intense.
In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to make the perfect siphon coffee. We’ll also reveal our top picks for siphon coffee makers, ensuring you choose a rig that matches your preferences and budget.
What Is Siphon Coffee?
Siphon coffee gets its name from the equipment used to brew it. This gear typically resembles chemistry glassware. Generally, a siphon vacuum coffee maker consists of five parts:
- A top chamber
- A bottom chamber
- A glass siphon
- A filter
- A rig stand
The rig stand grips the bottom chamber, keeping it elevated above any supporting surface. This elevation ensures that a heating element can fit beneath this globe-shaped bottom container. The glass siphon, a long tube, fits neatly into the top of the bottom chamber. The best siphon coffee makers are usually made of heat-resistant borosilicate glass.
Typically, a small filter sits at the top of this tube, which then inserts into the bottom of the upper chamber. With all these parts connected, you have a fully functional syphon coffee maker.
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How Do Vacuum Coffee Makers Work?
In broad terms, siphon vacuum coffee makers brew coffee by utilizing fundamental physics. Water is added to the lower chamber and then heated to a rapid boil. This increase in thermal energy and vapor pressure causes the water to rise through the siphon and into the upper chamber.
You can then add coffee grounds to the top chamber. The water begins to cool slightly as it brews, causing the liquid to sink back into the bottom chamber. When the water has fully drained, only the spent grounds remain in the upper section.
This brew method also incorporates vacuum science, as, without a fully sealed vacuum, the brewed coffee may struggle to lower into the bottom chamber.
Still, you don’t need to be a chemist to understand why siphon coffee is quickly becoming a popular alternative to more conventional brewing methods.
Why Brew Coffee With A Siphon Coffee Maker?
One of the primary reasons to brew coffee with a siphon coffee maker is aesthetics. Brewing coffee with a siphon rig is bound to make you seem like the coolest cat around. Your guests, friends, and family will watch with wonderment as you craft artisanal coffee. But how does siphon coffee taste?
The brew quality won’t disappoint any serious coffee connoisseur. If everything is done right, the siphon brewed coffee is rich, smooth, and incredibly aromatic. It also produces zero sediments, ensuring that drinkers never have to deal with gritty grounds at the bottom of their cups. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy your premium coffee beans.
Of course, there are a couple of potential drawbacks to using a siphon vacuum coffee maker. Firstly, brewing coffee using a siphon brewer takes more time and energy than using those drip coffee makers.
Cleaning the coffee pot can also be somewhat tedious, as most of the parts are made of glass and require handwashing and careful drying. That said, if you have the time to spare to brew with a siphon setup, you’ll receive a reward of some of the highest-quality coffee imaginable.
Things to Consider When Buying Vacuum Coffee Makers
When choosing the best vacuum coffee maker, there are quite a few aspects to consider. For example, while most siphon coffee makers are designed for you to use with a portable burner, some are made for stovetop use. Others might be plug-in electric units.
Still, the device type isn’t the only thing to ponder when buying a siphon coffee maker. Overall, you’ll want to consider:
- Standalone or Stovetop
- Filter Type
- Heat Source
- Vertical Siphon or Balancing Siphon
Let’s take a few moments to review each of these features and factors. That way, you’ll be able to make an educated shopping decision and select the best possible siphon vacuum coffee maker for your home.
Standalone or Stovetop Siphon?
One of the first things you’ll need to decide is whether to choose a standalone or stovetop brewer. As you might have guessed, standalone models come with the appropriate heating source, whether a gas burner or electric heating element.
On the other hand, stovetop siphon coffee makers require a stovetop heating source. The better choice for you depends on your preferences. Standalone units can function far more quickly than stovetop ones, but they’re also a little less safe.
The average vacuum pot has a capacity of about three cups. That’s ideal for single coffee drinkers or couples that enjoy a single cup per day.
However, it might not be enough for larger households or multi-cup coffee drinkers. Consequently, quantity is something to consider before switching to a siphon vacuum coffee maker.
Siphon coffee makers brew coffee via a series of chambers (and one crucial tube). They require filters to keep the final brew smooth and grit-free. There are quite a few different types of filters used in these coffee makers, including:
- Cloth filter (Reusable)
- Paper filter (one-time use)
- Metal filter (Permanent, stainless steel)
- Glass (Newer, but more fragile)
Generally, cloth filters are the preferred filter type when working with siphon coffee makers. They’re exceptionally effective at keeping grounds out of the final brew. Coffee produced by cloth filters taste sweeter and more complex. However, they can be a pain to keep clean and sanitized.
Paper filters are typically single-use, which cuts down on cleaning time. However, they’re not nearly as strong as cloth filters. Additionally, daily coffee drinkers may find that they spend more on supplies when using paper filters, as they’ll need a new one each day. You can get great coffee quality as well.
Metal filters are moderately effective at removing more significant bits of coffee grounds, though they can leave tiny bits of grit behind. However, they’re straightforward to keep clean, and they can provide a more secure vacuum, resulting in a faster brew time.
Lastly, there are glass filters. These can be reasonably hit-or-miss. Many don’t fully filter out smaller coffee grounds, and thinner filters can quickly crack due to temperature changes or mishandling. As such, they’re typically not a popular option for siphon coffee makers.
A siphon vacuum coffee maker can utilize a wide range of heat sources. Many are designed to work with an alcohol burner or butane burner.
These burners don’t require household electricity to work and produce a live flame. However, they can be dangerous to work with, especially in households with children or pets. You have to keep your kitchen counter clean when using it.
As such, some may choose a model that works via stovetop. These can be a little safer than burner-based options, though it can take slightly longer for the stovetop burners to heat the water in the lower chamber.
There are also electric-based options that feature plug-in heating elements. These types of siphon coffee makers are the most convenient options, though they’re not nearly as impressive to look at. They may also take longer to reach an appropriate heat level, resulting in a longer brew.
Vertical Siphon or Balancing Siphon (Belgian Brewer)?
While a traditional siphon coffee maker features a vertical setup, some are designed for horizontal use. The right option for you depends on your preferences and available countertop space—both function in much the same way.
Still, a balancing siphon coffee maker (also called Belgian brewers) is often more ornate. They also function via a weight system. When the heated water siphons into the brewing chamber, weight placement changes lift the water vessel off the flame.
The burner’s flame is doused when this happens, and the coffee slowly re-enters the initial chamber. The result is a balanced set of vessels, one of which contains delicious, freshly brewed coffee.
Top 5 Best Siphon Coffee Makers 2023
What are the best siphon coffee makers? Check out our top picks just below to find out! Your next go-to coffee maker might be just a click away.
1. Hario Technica Coffee Siphon – Best Classic Coffee Siphon
We absolutely love this siphon vacuum coffee maker. Not only does it feature the classic look of vertical siphon rigs, but it’s also relatively compact. With a maximum brew size of about 600ml, it’s an excellent choice for single-person households.
This coffee maker comes with everything you’ll need to brew the perfect cup of coffee. It includes an alcohol burner, a burner cover, a filter, and a coffee spoon! Additionally, the thick heat-resistant borosilicate glass can withstand repeated uses and dramatic temperature changes. Hario is the king of glass in Japan, this vacuum brewer is used in many coffee shops due to its durability.
The included paper filter is effortless to use and secure thanks to the spring string attached to its bottom. You can also use cloth filters as well. Overall, this setup is simple, convenient, and straightforward to use.
Keeping the bottom part clean can be somewhat annoying due to the tight neck, but otherwise, this model was essentially flawless from start to finish.
2. Yama Glass 8 Cup Stovetop Coffee Siphon – Best Stovetop Siphon Coffee Maker
Those who aren’t satisfied with drinking a single cup or two may struggle to find a siphon coffee maker that produces more significant quantities. Fortunately, there’s no longer any need to continue the search!
This stovetop coffee maker is bulkier and bigger than other siphon coffee makers, allowing it to brew about double the amount of coffee as other vertical models. With a maximum capacity of about five cups, this coffee maker might be ideal for families or households with multiple coffee lovers.
Additionally, this model doesn’t require you to use an open flame. Instead, its flat bottom is designed to fit neatly onto stovetops of any kind. It even comes with a wire diffuser to ensure it works on electric coil stovetop burners! You will get consistent heat during the whole brewing process.
Of course, if you want a smaller capacity, Yama also has 3-cup and 5-cup versions.
3. KitchenAid Siphon Coffee Brewer – Best Electric Siphon Coffee Maker
Using an open flame to heat your coffee maker can be dangerous, especially if you’re prone to bouts of clumsiness. However, heating your coffee pot over the stovetop can be just as risky, especially if you walk away from the stove during the brewing process.
Fortunately, there are safer ways to enjoy siphon coffee. This electric siphon vacuum coffee maker doesn’t require burners of any kind. Instead, it uses a heating element base.
If you’re concerned about other heating methods, this model could be your best bet. While it does tend to heat water a little more slowly than burner-based options, you won’t be dealing with an open flame or overheated stovetop. This is also the most consistent heat source of all.
This electric siphon coffee brewer also features a unique design change that’s not common among these devices: Measurement lines. The bottom chamber is essentially a standard carafe, complete with cup-by-cup lines to help you keep track of your coffee consumption.
4. Diguo Belgium Balance Syphon Coffee Maker – Best Balancing Siphon Coffee Maker (Belgian Brewer)
Are you looking to make a lasting first impression on guests? If so, you’ll want to consider brewing them some coffee with this ornate balance siphon coffee maker. It exudes a luxurious Old World charm that’s only matched by gilded absinthe fountains.
Even more impressive, this balance-based coffee maker can extinguish its own oil flame. As such, using it is more like watching an entertaining show than doing work. The entire rig only requires two interactions to brew a great pot of coffee: adding water, then adding coffee grounds.
Still, because this elegant stainless steel siphon coffee maker has a horizontal design, keeping it clean can be challenging. The siphon itself can quickly clog with coffee grounds, and the water chamber is prone to staining.
Still, the golden glow of this siphon setup is alluring. At best, you’ll get to enjoy nearly-automated siphon coffee with this device. At worst, you’ll have an eye-catching decorative piece for your kitchen!
5. Bodum ePebo Electric Vacuum Siphon Borosilicate Glass Coffee Maker – Easiest to Use
Bodum has been producing electric kettles and high-quality glassware for years. When you are hunting for a siphon brewer, chances are you’ve already heard of Bodum Pebo coffee maker. This is an excellent example of why Bodum is popular among coffee and tea drinkers.
But this time, we picked the ePebo, the electric version for convenience. This vertical model is straightforward, with few frills and minimal accessories. That said, it’s incredibly easy to use. Instead of lighting a burner or heating your stovetop, you only need to plug the device into an outlet, add water, and press the big blue-lit button.
After that, your Bodum brewing device will jump into action and provide a constant heat source. The pressurized boiling water quickly flows into the upper chamber, resulting in a fast brewing time.
This siphon coffee maker is a little riskier than other electric options, primarily due to the design of the upper chamber. Though both chambers are made of solid borosilicate glass, only the lower chamber’s handle features a protective plastic cover.
Consequently, you’ll need to be careful when handling the upper chamber. The handle can get quite hot, resulting in burns or accidental breakages.
How to Brew Siphon Coffee
Now that we’ve revealed our top picks for the best siphon coffee maker, it’s time to discuss how to brew siphon coffee. Fortunately, you’ll only need to follow eight simple steps:
- Grind fresh coffee beans into a medium grind size
- Fill water to the lower chamber
- Attach the filter to the top chamber
- Add heat and wait until the water is boiled
- Connect two chambers and let the water rise to the top
- Add coffee. Stir and brew for 1 minute 30 seconds
- Remove heat.
- Let the coffee drop back to the lower chamber and enjoy!
Naturally, the first step to brewing siphon coffee is to prepare your water. You can start with room temperature water, but it’s often better to use hot water that’s about 200℉. Doing so will reduce the time it takes for your water to boil and move up into the top chamber.
After you’ve added water to the lower chamber, you’ll want to secure the filter that sits at the bottom of the top section. You’ll then place the top chamber (with the siphon tube) onto the lower chamber.
Then you can add heat, typically via a portable burner. This heating element goes beneath the lower chamber. When the water in this chamber begins to boil, connect the two chambers securely. Let the water rise through the siphon, you can add your coffee to the top compartment.
Once the coffee grounds are inside the top chamber, you’ll want to stir it several times and set a timer for a minute and thirty seconds. This uses a full immersion brew system like a French press. When your timer goes off, you’ll want to remove the burner and stir the coffee in the upper chamber.
Wait for the coffee to descend back through the siphon. Then, voila! You can enjoy a freshly brewed batch of siphon coffee.
Though we enjoyed using and exploring multiple brewers, one model, in particular, caught our eyes and captured our coffee-loving hearts—the Hario Technica Coffee Siphon. In our humble opinion, it’s the best siphon coffee maker on the list.
Not only does this option feature a traditional vertical design, but it comes with an alcohol burner. These features make it a standalone unit that doesn’t require stovetop burners to function. It also ensures that this model can heat water quickly, resulting in a faster brewing process.
Additionally, the Hario Technica Coffee Siphon can brew about 2.5 cups per use. This amount is the ideal amount for the average coffee drinker. As such, there’s a good chance that single drinkers won’t be left with excess coffee or need to make multiple brews.
It’s so popular so you can easily buy accessories, cloth filter pack, or paper filters.
Either way, any of the five coffee makers on our list should work just fine and brew good coffee, you can choose based on your personal preference.