How To Use A Siphon Coffee Maker – Step by Step Instructions

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Siphon coffee makers are designed with impressing your guests in mind. Why? Because it’s the coolest way to make coffee.

Aside from this, though, how does the coffee taste? After all, it’s one thing using a siphon coffee maker to look cool, but if the coffee’s not great, that credibility will soon disappear. Another concern people often have is how to use a siphon coffee maker.

This article addresses those issues and offers a step-by-step guide to using a siphon coffee maker so that you’ll understand how to use this mysterious brewer that resembles a piece of lab equipment.

How Does A Siphon Coffee Maker Work?

Before looking at the recipe, let’s examine how a siphon coffee maker (also known as a vacuum coffee maker) works.

Most standard siphon coffee makers have the following parts:

  • A bottom container for pouring the water in and collecting the brewed coffee on completion of the brewing process.
  • A top container with an attached siphon tube. The water moves through the tube from the bottom to the top container before dropping back down.
  • A paper, metal, or cloth filter that stops coffee grounds from reaching the bottom container.
  • A gasket to seal the containers.
  • A heat source beneath the bottom container. This heat source can be an alcohol burner, a butane burner, an electric heater, or a stovetop.

When the water in the bottom container heats up, it generates vapor pressure that forces the water into the upper chamber via the tube. Then the coffee grounds are saturated and extracted. When the coffee brewing is complete and the burner is removed, the coffee goes through the filter, returning to the bottom container.

Now you know how a siphon coffee maker works, it’s time to examine how to use one to brew a beautiful cup of coffee.

How To Brew Siphon Coffee

What You’ll Need

  • A siphon coffee brewer
  • Fresh coffee beans (or freshly ground coffee) – any roast or bean type is fine.
  • A coffee grinder – you’ll need this to grind your beans to the appropriate size.
  • A spoon – most siphon brewers come with a wooden spoon.
  • A kettle – using boiling water speeds up the brewing time. It takes longer to heat the water using a burner.
  • A timer and a scale – these items are optional, but they provide consistency when brewing coffee.


  • Freshly ground coffee – 20g
  • Water – 320ml
  • Total brew time – three minutes (90 seconds for coffee brewing, and 90 seconds for the coffee to reach the bottom container)

Step-By-Step Instructions For Using A Siphon Brewer

1. Boil your water in the kettle

2. Attach your filter

Place the filter into the top container, and place the chain of the filter into the tube. Then, pull the chain and attach the hook to the opposite end of the tube to securely attach the filter.


3. Pour pre-heated water into the bottom container

If you’re using a scale and measuring cup, measure 320ml of hot water and pour it into the chamber. If you’re not using those items, check for measuring marks on the chamber. Fill the water to the correct line according to the brewer’s instruction manual.


4. Heat the water

Place your heat source beneath the brewing chamber. It’ll take a few minutes to reach the necessary water temperature, even if you poured in boiling water.

Place the glass tube on the top container into the hole in the bottom container. Let it sit to the side and ensure you leave a gap.


5. Grind the coffee

As the water heats up, measure 20 grams of coffee and grind the beans on a medium setting. If you’re not using a scale, measure approximately four tablespoons of beans. Our article explaining how much coffee is in a scoop provides greater detail.


6. Attach the top container once the water is boiling

When lots of bubbles appear in the bottom container, the water is boiling. At this point, securely attach the top part, and ensure there is a good seal between the two units.


7. Let the water rise to the top

The vapor pressure moves through the funnel to the top, the coolest part of this brewing process and the most likely to captivate onlookers. However, you need to remain focused on the water.

The bottom container will still hold a little water, but that’s normal and nothing to worry about.


8. Add the coffee grounds

Pour your ground coffee into the water and start the timer. Then, using your spoon, stir the mixture to ensure the grounds saturate completely. Wait for 30 seconds, then stir gently for 10 seconds.


9. Remove the heat source

After 90 seconds, turn the heat off, and the brewed coffee will move through the filter into the bottom container. This is another part of the process that looks great.

You can alter the brewing time if you wish. For example, if you’re using a larger amount of grounds, it can brew for an extra 15 seconds.


10. Enjoy your coffee

Once the coffee is filtered, you can remove the top container. However, be careful as it’s likely to be hot. For this reason, it’s a good idea to wait a while before performing this task. Hold the coffee maker’s handle and swirl the coffee, then pour it and enjoy!


Tips For Making Perfect Siphon Coffee

Siphon Filter Type

Some siphon brewers have a cloth filter, ensuring a clean beverage with the flavor preserved. This is the most widely used way to brew coffee using a siphon coffee maker. However, one drawback is it’s tricky to clean.

Another option is paper filters, which prevent most finer particles from reaching the coffee, and produces a sweeter and brighter drink. However, you’ll require a compatible adaptor for paper filters.


Finally, you can use a permanent stainless steel filter that lets the coffee oil enter the finished beverage for a full-bodied drink. Like French press coffee, some finer particles could reach the coffee.

Grind Size For Siphon Coffee

The ideal grind size for making siphon coffee is open to conjecture. In our opinion, a medium grind size similar to what you’d use for Chemex or pour-over is perfect. These grounds will be the same size as table salt. Nevertheless, some coffee enthusiasts favor a grind size slightly finer than you’d use for pour-over, while coarser grounds are acceptable for others.

We recommend starting with a medium size, then tweaking according to the type of beans you’re using and taste preferences.


How Does Siphon Coffee Taste?

If you’ve correctly followed the recipe in this article, your cup of coffee should be clean, full-bodied, tasty, and smooth.

You’ll often find siphon coffee brewers in specialty coffee shops, and that’s because it’s an excellent brewing method for lighter roast premium coffees as it accentuates the acidity beautifully. Also, because the brewing process doesn’t use direct heat, the finished coffee will not be remotely bitter. In short, siphon brewed coffee is one of the best ways to enjoy premium single-origin beans.

Drawbacks To Siphon Brewed Coffee

As we have explained, there are plenty of good reasons to use a siphon pot, from the process to the flavorsome coffee it produces, but there are also a few drawbacks to be aware of.

While the siphon coffee brewing process is undoubtedly cool, you will need some expertise to brew great coffee with a siphon coffee brewer.

It also takes longer to clean up than other coffee brewers. That’s because there are two brewing vessels to wash and clean, rather than one. Cleaning the top container is straightforward because there is a wide enough opening. However, the bottom container is difficult to clean thoroughly because you won’t be able to squeeze your hand or cloth inside. Also, if you’re using a cloth filter, it will need cleaning properly too.

Another drawback to vacuum coffee makers is they are susceptible to breakage. For example, the glass tube will easily smash, so you need to take extra care when moving or cleaning it.

Finally, if you use an open flame to heat the water rather than an electric heat source, you’ll need to be aware of it while you’re brewing and ensure there’s nothing flammable nearby.

Final Thoughts

As this article has explained, there is no cooler way to brew coffee than with a siphon coffee maker. It looks incredible watching the water bubbling in the bottom container before making a seemingly gravity-defying move upwards to the top container. Meanwhile, watching the coffee move into the bottom container is equally beautiful.

On top of that, the siphon coffee brewers are aesthetically pleasing and sure to be a talking point of anyone’s kitchen. Finally, if you have the necessary expertise, you can make beautiful coffee with a vacuum pot.

However, even with these advantages, using a siphon brewer every day isn’t that practical, as you need to be present throughout the brewing process, and it isn’t easy to clean. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a brewing method that impresses guests, there’s no better one around. Better still, when used correctly, the beverages siphon coffee makers produce are delicious.


Siphon Coffee Recipe

This recipe will show you how to make siphon coffee.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Coffee extraction time 2 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1


  • Siphon coffee maker
  • Coffee Grinder
  • Spoon
  • Kettle
  • Timer
  • Scale


  • 20 grams Freshly ground coffee medium grind size
  • 320 grams filtered water


  • Boil the water in a kettle.
  • Attach the filter to the top chamber, make sure the filter is firmly attached.
  • Measure 320 grams of boiling water and fill it to the lower chamber.
  • Place a heat source below the lower chamber. Insert the glass tube on the top container into the hole in the bottom container. Let it sit to the side and leave a gap.
  • Grind coffee beans into meidum grind size.
  • When you see lots of bubbles, the water is boiled. Attach the top part securely and ensure there is a good seal between the two units.
  • Let the water rise to the top container via the tube.
  • Pour the ground coffee into the water. Start the timer. Stir it with a spoon to get everything saturated.
  • At 90 seconds, remove the heat source. Let the coffee filter down to the lower container.
  • Take out the top container, hold the handle of the siphon coffee maker and serve.


  • It takes too long to heat the water in the siphon brewer with an alcohol burner. Boil the water in a kettle first can speed up the process. 
  • When you attach the filter, make sure you attach the hook to the end of the tube. 
  • Medium grind for pour-over is a good start for siphon coffee. You can grind a bit finer or coarser accordingly. 
  • If you are using a coarser grind or more coffee, you can adjust the brewing time between 90 and 120 seconds. 
  • When you take out the top container after brewing, be careful and don’t burn your hands. It’s extremely hot. 
Keyword siphon coffee, vacuum coffee
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Chris Clark

Chris Clark is the co-founder and chief content editor of With a passion for all things java, Chris has been a coffee blogger for the past 3 years and shares his expertise in coffee brewing with the readers. He's a hands-on expert, loves testing coffee equipment, and has written most of the in-depth reviews featured on the site. When he's not whipping up delicious drinks or experimenting with the latest coffee gadgets, Chris is exploring the local cafe.