By now, most coffee lovers have become familiar with the odd-looking device known as a "siphon coffee maker" (or more simply vacuum coffee maker).
It's this quirky device of glass tubes and burners reminiscent of devices used in sci-fi movies and your old high school science lab.
But what does this weird (and cool) looking device do other than make you look like a cross between a Portland hipster and a mad scientist?
Here's a rundown of the features, history, and what to look out for if you're in the market for one of these cool devices.
Top choice: Best value for money
This model is super easy to use compared to most other siphons and makes delicious, tasty coffee. The glass and steel construction makes it look very premium.
The 5 best siphon coffee makers of 2020
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You don't want to drag yourself to the café for your delicious morning cup? Home coffee brewers can easily immerse themselves in the wonderful world of vacuumed coffee without leaving their fluffy slippers and flannel nightgowns.
There's a wide range of caffeine options, and I'll walk you through some of the best siphon coffee makers out there so you can start brewing your own delicious concoctions (like the mad scientist that you are) in no time !
1: Hario Technica Coffee Siphon – The Japanese coffee maker
The Hario Technica system is a standalone siphon that uses an alcohol burner and reusable cloth filters. It has a handy 5-cup brewing capacity, is made from heat-resistant borosilicate glass and is imported from Japan. Hario is known for their high quality coffee machines and this one doesn't disappoint. Of all siphon systems, this is the showpiece we all picture in the back of our favorite coffee house. The open burner and glass carafe fit perfectly into any crazy science lab!
- Simple, elegant design.
- Made from heat resistant borosilicate glass so unlikely to break easily.
- Standalone system that's as fun as it is functional.
- The cloth filter can be difficult to clean.
- The included alcohol burner isn't as efficient as a butane gas burner, and you might end up wanting the latter.
2: The Bodum Pebo Vacuum Coffee Maker
The Bodum Pebo coffee maker is a finely crafted product from Scandinavia. Known for its clean, simple design, it's no wonder it's a favorite at popular coffee shops like Starbucks! The Bodum Pebo is a stovetop siphon system where the lower chamber is flat so it can be placed directly on top of the heat source. Consisting of two firmly connected glass bowls, it can brew a perfect cup of coffee in 5 to 11 minutes and has a brewing capacity of 4 to 8 cups at a time.
- Slim, minimalist design.
- Can be used on the stove.
- Has a brewing capacity of up to 8 cups.
- The glass compartments aren't as "unbreakable" as the Hario's borosilicate compartments.
- With use and time, the bodum can lose its tight seal, which can lead to drainage problems and a miserable mess.
3: The Gourmia Premium Siphon Coffee Maker
The siphon brewer for the modern age! The Gourmia Premium Siphon System is electronic, cordless and has a one-touch interface! More akin to the electronic drip pot you might be used to, this sleek and angular system can stand on your countertop and unlike those that require a burner or open flame, this system is self-contained.
- Electronic and wireless. No need for a burner or stove.
- One-touch interface with temperature control and "keep warm" mode.
- Beautifully designed. Has both the modern aesthetic to match your other kitchen appliances and the beautiful feel of the theatrical wonder as you watch your coffee brew itself.
- Cloth filters are difficult to clean and even more difficult to replace.
- The brewing capacity is only about 3 cups.
4: The new generation electric siphon coffee maker from Diguo
Another self-contained electric siphon! The new generation siphon from Diguo has a capacity of 3 cups.
It has an electric base with adjustable heat control and can make you a tasty cup in about 5 minutes.
Like the Gourmia, it has a sleek, modern look while still retaining that cool aspect. It can easily settle on your countertop alongside all your other kitchen gadgets and still be the hot new thing on the block.
- Electrical base. No burners or open flames.
- Adjustable heat control.
- Makes your brew in 5 minutes or less.
- Small brewing capacity.
- The upper glass cylinder is extremely sensitive.
5: The KitchenAid KCM08120B Siphon Coffee Maker
Even the vaunted KitchenAid brand is embracing the siphon coffee maker with their own electric version!
The KitchenAid KCM8120B Siphon Brewer features an automated, full-immersion siphon that is "delivered through precise temperature and vacuum technology."
It is made of high quality glass with stainless steel accents that add to its sophisticated and modern design.
It has an 8-cup brewing capacity, a magnetic locking seal that keeps the unit securely held together, and comes with both a steel filter and cloth filter pack.
- Comes with steel filter and cloth filter pack. electric.
- Big capacity
- Sleek design with durable glass and stainless steel accents.
- Magnetic closure seal.
- No open flames or burners required.
- At the more expensive end.
What is a vacuum coffee maker and why does it make great coffee?
A siphon or vacuum coffee maker is one"full immersion"brewing system. That means instead of boiling the coffee, it uses a constant heat source (the burner) to create an internal vacuum that moves the water from one chamber to the next.
One of the main advantages of a vacuum brewer is that the waternever reaches the boil, causing the coffee to lose some of its most subtle flavors. With a siphon, once the burner is adjusted, the temperature remains constant throughout the brewing cycle. This full "immersion" method is ideal because the coffee grounds are all continuously immersed in the water for the same length of time and with the same amount of heat.
One of the main benefits of a vacuum brewer is that the water never boils, causing the coffee to lose some of its most subtle flavors
The design consists of two glass chambers, one filled with water and the second with coffee grounds. Heating of the lower chamber with the burnercauses an increase in vapor pressure.
Steam forces the water to rise to the upper chamber where the coffee grounds await. The water, which is now mixed with the coffee grounds, is drawn back down into the lower chamber thanks to gravity through a filter (The "vacuum" effect) and leaves behind delicious, perfectly brewed coffee when it's ready. It's delicious and it's science!
Siphon vs Moka Pot?
While a moka pot is a pretty cool gadget and uses pressure like a siphon, the moka pot still uses boiling water to make its brew. Where a Moka has the ability to produce astrong espresso, the methods used in a siphon produce a remarkably clean coffee with just as much intensity. It really is all in vacuum vs. boiling! You can clearly taste the difference.
a brief history of the siphon coffee maker
While it may seem like a newfangled hipster fad, siphon coffee makers — sometimes spelled "syphon" — have actually been around for a while. The concept dates back to the mid-18th century when the earliest known patent for a siphon-style coffee maker was filed in Berlin in the 1830s.
People agreed back thenbrewing coffee diminished the tasteand various types of vacuum and steam pressure machines were put into use.
The first commercially successful siphon brewer was designed and sold by the Frenchwoman Madame Vassieux, who popularized this new method of brewing coffee in the late 19th century.
The method was more elegant and theatrical; Asatisfying spectacle for entertaining gueststhat was much more appropriate for the time. And why shouldn't we enjoy the same?
Dig deeper: Other features to look for
You already know a lot about this great Gravity coffee maker. But here are a few interesting points.
wonderwhat functionslook in a siphon? When looking for the best siphon coffee maker, here are a few interesting points to consider when making your choice:
Electric Siphon Coffee Maker vs. Stovetop
Choosing between a standalone electric siphon or a hob is really a matter of taste and aesthetics. In terms of brew quality, there isn't much of a difference.
Thestovetop, as the name suggests, is designed to sit on top of your stove and use its flame as a burner. These tend to be a bit simpler and less expensive than their flashier standalone counterparts. The standalone, on the other hand, has its own stand and built-in burner (either gas or alcohol) located just below the lower chamber that holds the water. These tend to have a bit more flair in their design, but otherwise work the same way.
Capacity & Design
As with any coffee machine, the required amount of brew depends on your own needs. Vacuum coffee machines brew in a variety of batch sizes, typically between 3 and 8 cups per brew.
Who can deny the odd appeal of a siphon coffee maker? They're exquisite, tastefully satisfying, and make a mind-blowing cup of coffee!
The change of pressure and force of gravity then vacuums the coffee downwards through the filter to the bottom flask. This method produces a superior taste that avoids boiling the coffee, which is why syphon coffee makers are widely celebrated for brewing some of the best, purest coffee.What is the most expensive syphon coffee maker? ›
The Royal Paris Royal Coffee Maker is a luxurious handcrafted 24-karat gold or silver, crystal and semi-precious stone balancing syphon brewer. Eight are built by hand every month, at a price of $10,000-$18,000.What alcohol do you use in a siphon coffee maker? ›
Denatured alcohol is considered to be the best alcohol for a siphon burner.What is difference between siphon and syphon? ›
Siphon and syphon are both English terms. Siphon is predominantly used in 🇺🇸 American (US) English ( en-US ) while syphon is predominantly used in 🇬🇧 British English (used in UK/AU/NZ) ( en-GB ). In the United States, there is a preference for "siphon" over "syphon" (79 to 21).Does the length of siphon matter? ›
Length will also affect flow rates. The variation in flow rate due to siphon length increases as the flow increases. So the difference in flow rate between a 3.6 metre siphon and a 4.0 metre siphon ranges from as little as 1.6% for a 1.25 inch siphon at 100mm head up to 10.9% for a 75mm siphon operating at 400mm head.Does an expensive coffee maker make a difference? ›
Most cheaper coffee makers barely get that hot, and over time burn out. A larger brew head showers the ground coffee more evenly. This leads to better extraction which results in better flavor.What is the difference between Moka and siphon? ›
Moka Pot vs Siphon Coffee Maker: Key Differences
The coffee grounds are located in different places. In a Moka pot, they're in the middle and are stationary as the water gets forced through them. In a siphon coffee maker, they're placed in the top chamber before being sucked down into the bottom chamber.
The best way to make sure your coffee is non-toxic is to choose a drip coffee maker with a glass carafe and a paper filter. French press coffee makers can also be safe if they have a glass carafe.What kind of coffee maker does Jennifer Aniston use? ›
Aniston's kitchen lineup features the incredibly popular Cuisinart PerfecTemp coffee maker in gold.What is the most versatile coffee maker? ›
CR's take: The Ninja Specialty CM401 is one of the most versatile coffee makers we've tested. This terrific all-in-one machine is capable of brewing hot and iced coffee, lattes, macchiatos, and other specialty brews.
Vinegar is an effective natural solution for cleaning a coffee maker. This solution removes calcium deposits and coffee bean oil residue from the interior of the device as well as add acidity to the hot water to disinfect. Turn the coffee maker to the brew cycle and allow the cycle to brew halfway.What is the best coffee to water ratio for siphon? ›
Every brew method has an ideal coffee to water ratio to get the best-tasting coffee. For siphon brewing, a 1:15 coffee to water ratio is recommended. This means 1 part coffee to 15 parts water.Can I run white vinegar through my coffee maker? ›
Monthly Coffee Maker Cleaning With Vinegar
To deep clean your auto-drip coffee maker, add up to 4 cups of undiluted vinegar to the reservoir. Let stand 30 minutes. Run the vinegar through a brewing cycle. Follow with two to three cycles of fresh water until the vinegar smell is gone.
While if both ends of a siphon are at atmospheric pressure, liquid flows from high to low, if the bottom end of a siphon is pressurized, liquid can flow from low to high.What is the maximum siphon height? ›
The maximum lift a siphon can provide is 20 feet for most applications at sea level. If required, siphons may be secured with stakes or ropes (larger pipe diameters require more robust restraints). In most slope scenarios, 22.5-degree elbows should be used, however, 45-degree elbows may be used as needed.Can you syphon uphill? ›
Water in a siphon can flow uphill too, as can a puddle of water if it's moving up a dry paper towel dipped in it. Even more curiously, Antarctica has a river that flows uphill underneath one of its ice sheets.How do I increase my siphon flow? ›
You can prime the siphon in two ways. Increase the water pump rate or increase the pressure resistance in the drain pipe. The water pump has an adjustable valve. Rotate towards + to increase the flow rate.What size siphon do I need? ›
Most syphons range in size from 7.5" to 10.5". The way to measure most syphons is to start at the bottom of the bell housing and measure up to the lip of the cap on top of the syphon.Which is the best soda Syphon? ›
- Best Overall: Twenty39 Qarbo Sparkling Water Maker and Fruit Infuser. ...
- Best for Cocktail Lovers: iSi Soda Siphon. ...
- Best Design: Aarke Premium Carbonator III. ...
- Best With Glass Bottles: SodaStream AquaFizz Sparkling Water Maker. ...
- Best Pro Set-Up: Elkay Two-Head Water System.
Two categories exist for syphon design: stationary and rotary. Stationary syphons are fixed, and do not rotate with the dryer while rotary syphons rotate with the dryer.
Most syphons range in size from 7.5" to 10.5". The way to measure most syphons is to start at the bottom of the bell housing and measure up to the lip of the cap on top of the syphon.What is the difference between a soda siphon and a soda machine? ›
Soda siphons attach to the mouth of a bottle and carbonate whatever liquid is in the bottle. It does this through a small, disposable 8mg CO2 cartridge inserted into the siphon. Soda Maker Machines have much larger, refillable CO2 cartridge built into a counter-top appliance that can fill an exchangeable bottle.Is there a soda maker without CO2? ›
Unlike a SodaStream or one its competitors, the Spärkel doesn't require a CO2 cartridge, instead using a small single-use “sachet” that includes a combination of citric acid and sodium bicarbonate that combines with water to create CO2. The CO2 is cycled through the water chamber to infuse flavors and carbonate.Which is the best SodaStream to buy? ›
- Best Overall: SodaStream Sparkling Water Maker at Amazon. ...
- Best Splurge: Aarke Carbonator III Sparkling & Seltzer Water Maker at Amazon. ...
- Most Versatile: Drinkmate Sparkling Water and Soda Maker at Amazon. ...
- Best Classic: iSi Classic Soda Maker at Amazon. ...
- Best Design:
You can stop the siphon by stopping the flow of water, or you can break the siphon by stopping the flow of water in a way that the flow cannot easily resume.Will a siphon ever stop? ›
Either way, once the siphon begins to work, it'll continue to drain the water from the pool until the water is gone or the end of the hose is lifted above the water level to stop the siphon.What is the difference between pigtail and coil siphon? ›
The two most common types of siphons are: Pigtail siphons, which are meant for vertical piping configurations. Coil siphons, which are meant for vertical or horizontal applications and have a slight dip in the loop design to provide for the trapped water in a horizontal position.Can a syphon work uphill? ›
Water in a siphon can flow uphill too, as can a puddle of water if it's moving up a dry paper towel dipped in it. Even more curiously, Antarctica has a river that flows uphill underneath one of its ice sheets.Which is better siphon or washdown? ›
Siphonic has a greater tendency to clog due to the smaller trapway. Since wash down does not need this suction, it has a larger trapway but leaves less water on the bowl after flushing compared to the half full of the siphonic version. Splashing sometimes occurs when solid waste hits the water for wash down versions.How do you siphon long distance? ›
Position the first garden hose.
Then, place the opposite end of the same hose into a container that is the destination for the siphoned water. This is a great method to use if you need to siphon water over a longer distance or if you need to move a large amount of water.