Siphon Coffee Maker Review: What is a Vacuum Coffee Maker
Siphon Coffee Maker
You may have seen it at your favorite coffee shop. It is an unusual and elegant kitchen apparatus that grabbed your attention as you watched it prepare your favorite brew. You asked the barista about the device, and he informed you that it was a siphon coffee maker. Once you receive your order and taste it, you are hooked.
Yes, that's what a siphon coffee maker will do to most. It's unique approach to extracting coffee will deliver a mouth dropping experience that will have you craving another sip until the pot is gone. Luckily for you, we have outlined our favorite machines so that you can have the same delicious cup of coffee at home.
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Siphon Coffee Maker Overview
Coffee, being a staple drink for Americans as well as other nationalities across the globe, seems to be as varied as the people who drink it. Not only does it come in a multitude of flavors, but the ways to prepare it are just as varied. Whether it is a traditional drip coffee maker, the popular new pod brewers, or a press, we all have our favorite methods.
However, even with the drink's ever-growing popularity, many are not familiar with the siphon coffee maker or how it works. Yet the siphon, or as it is also known, the vacuum coffee maker, is not a new technology. It has been around for nearly 200 years, and like all types of older kitchen apparatuses, it has gone through major changes.
What is Siphon Coffee
Like many inventions, the siphon brewing process was born out of a desire to improve an already available product. As coffee continued to grow in popularity in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, there was a great deal of experimentation to figure out a method to improve its taste. A typical coffee brewer or brewing method would often boil out flavors or leave the drink bitter. The challenge was to find a brewing process that would create ideal serving temperatures.
Records indicate that the first siphon coffee invention was made by Marie Fanny Amelne Massot in Lyons, France, and was later perfected in Germany in the 1830s. As its name suggests, the siphon coffee maker consists of moving water between two chambers through a vacuum or siphon. In this case, the method incorporated an upper and lower vessel. The method not only creates the best temperatures but full immersion of the coffee grounds.
Using A Coffee Siphon
What is unique about the coffee siphon or vacuum coffee maker is not just its taste but its eye-catching design. In 19th century Europe, utilitarianism was not the only item taken into consideration when designing new kitchen implements. How a product appeared was every bit as important. While producing a spectacular coffee cup, the vacuum coffee maker is every bit as impressive in how it looks. Its graceful vessels catch the attention of any coffee patron.
How To Use a Siphon Coffee Maker
Water is added to the lower vessel. Once the vessel or siphon coffee pot is filled, another vessel is fixed to the bottom one. It is connected by a tube that has a sealing device, ensuring a tight and leak-proof fit. A beaker, butane burner, or another heat source is then moved underneath the lower chamber to bring the water to a boil. When the water is brought to boiling, the top chamber is then sealed to the lower siphon coffee pot.
Due to the pressure difference, the boiling water is pushed into the upper vessel, where it will remain as long as the pressure difference from the heat is kept constant. Coffee grounds are then introduced into the top chamber, and after their immersion, the beaker heat is turned down, causing a change of pressure in the lower chamber. As the vapor pressure changes, a vacuum is created, forcing the water through the grounds and returning it to the vac pot where it is ready to be served.
Best Siphon Coffee Maker
We took on the challenge of looking for the best siphon coffee makers available. After taking into consideration all of the variables from ease of use, to quality of the brew, to price, we compiled our list of which siphon coffee makers were the best quality and value. Here are the best vacuum coffee makers on the market.
Our Top Rated Choice
Although the vacuum siphon coffee maker was invented in Europe, some of the finest examples come out of Japan today. Hario, a Japanese glass company that has been around since 1921, now makes one of the best vacuum coffee makers on the market, the Hario Technica Syphon Coffee Maker. It is made out of the highest quality heat resistant borosilicate glass, which ensures even temperature distribution while at the same time giving it a beautiful appearance.
The stand is elegant, and the filter and butane burner heat source cover are all made of shiny stainless steel. The top chamber is an elongated cylinder that allows the water to expand. At the same time, it keeps the water at the ideal temperature, just above boiling, to ensure your coffee is perfect every time. The seal is reliable, and adding grounds through is also headache-free. The siphon coffee pot is easy to detach and is simple to handle, allowing for easy serving.
Other Important Features
The cost of the Hario Technica Coffee Maker is $83.50. It is more expensive than some of the vacuum coffee makers on our list, but the design's quality is worth every penny. The open flame heater is a big plus, as it will bring your water to the ideal temperature faster than most electrics. If you preheat your water in the microwave before adding it to the siphon coffee pot, you can speed up the process even more. The Hario Technica is excellent for utilizing the Japanese siphon coffee method.
- Beautiful design and easy to use
- Best heat resistant glass on the market
- Upper vessel design keeps temperatures even and constant
- More expensive than many other brands
- Five cup siphon coffee pot is smaller than advertised
The Bodum Pebo Coffee Maker may not be as elaborate or elegant as other designs, but it makes an outstanding cup of coffee. The Bodum Siphon Coffee Maker was designed with ease of use in mind. The top chamber comes in a unique bulb shape with a wide top. The larger opening at the top makes it easier to add and stir your grounds. The seal between the upper and bottom chamber is tight and does not leak grounds into the siphon coffee pot.
The Bodum Pebo comes with an open flame heat source that can quickly bring your water to boiling. The knob on the heater is large and easy to adjust, allowing you to change temperatures safely. It comes with a stainless steel stand that is simple to position and very sturdy. The siphon coffee pot is large and can hold enough brew for eight cups of coffee. The handle on the siphon coffee pot is ergonomic and easy to grip. The top also prevents spilling while keeping heat from escaping.
Other Important Features
The Bodum PEBO Coffee Maker sells for $73.99. It is compact and light. It also does not take up much counter space and can also be stored easily. Of the vacuum coffee makers on the market, it is one of the simplest to use. The simple design also allows for easy cleaning. The brewing time can be calibrated, ensuring consistency. Once you find your favorite mixtures, you will get the same coffee quality time after time.
- Very stable design
- Easy to clean and store
- Not as eye-catching as other models
- Thinner glass can crack.
If you are looking to wow your guest or feel the need to have a piece of artwork adorning your kitchen counter while it makes your brew, the Diguo Belgian Syphon Coffee Maker is one of your best bets. Spectacular is the best adjective to describe how this vacuum coffee maker looks. Unlike many siphon coffee makers, the Diguo has its dual vessels side by side, rather than an upper chamber and lower chamber.
The design serves two purposes; it adds to the beautiful display while at the same time, making it easier to use. The rose-colored stainless steel distributes heat very evenly and then is transferred through a graceful tube fitted with a coffee grounds holder at the end, filling the pot with a delicious brew. The stand is as elegant as the rest of the apparatus and has a handle at the top for easy movement.
Other Important Features
Top grade materials were used throughout this product's construction. The seal is made of medical-grade silicone. The brewing flask is Borosilicate Brewing Flask glass that allows even heat distribution and resists cracking. The siphon coffee pot holds 17 ounces, which will serve three to five people. The base is made of wood that adds elegance as well as weight and sturdiness to the apparatus.
- Stunningly beautiful
- Easy to fill the water container
- It has a hot water valve for tea
- Pricier than other siphon coffee makers
- There is extra care required to clean
The attractive offering from Japan offers an elegant design that is also functional. Like the Hario, it features a cylinder-shaped upper chamber that nicely adjoins the bottom chamber siphon coffee pot. For those who dislike a handle design that protrudes horizontally from the siphon coffee pot, the Yama Glass Siphon Vacuum Coffee Maker has a beautiful black handle that makes serving quick and easy.
The upper chamber is wide at the top, allowing the user to add their coffee grounds with little fuss. The larger circumference also permits easier stirring. The stand is moveable and compact and has adequate room for adjusting the temperature. It also features hand-blown borosilicate glass specifically crafted to be nonporous, which helps keep temperatures consistent. The lid also can be used as the siphon coffee pot stand, increasing convenience.
Other Important Features
The Yama Glass Siphon Vacuum Coffee Maker retails for a reasonable $75. It has a five-cup capacity, making it perfect for three to four people. The stand is stainless steel, and it comes with reusable cloth coffee filters. The seal is tight-fitting and reliable and prevents coffee grounds from entering the siphon coffee pot and is perfectly fitted to the cloth filter. The glass resists absorbing odors, preventing any contamination from previous brewing.
- Excellent price point
- Environmentally friendly
- Compact and easy to clean
- The wick can wear out quickly
- Many plastic components
For those who are looking for simplicity, the KitchenAid KCM0812OB Siphon Coffee Brewer is the most straightforward vacuum coffee maker on the market. The extremely compact device is made to get siphon coffee taste without the overwhelming flare of some siphon coffee makers on the market. It features two standard vessels, including a siphon coffee pot that looks and handles like a traditional model.
The unit is made of stainless steel and consists of a magnetic base that holds the siphon coffee pot securely. The seal also creates stability. The model is very compact, allowing it to be displayed without taking much counter space or stored easily. The additional separate handle on the top vessel is ergonomically designed and allows for easy assembly and disassembly. It also comes with its own cleaning brushes.
Other Important Features
The KitchenAid Siphon Coffee Brewer comes with a reusable stainless steel filter, a coffee scoop, and a cloth filter pack. It has a dual purpose lid that will serve as an extra stand for convenient serving. It is an electric siphon coffee maker, meaning it eliminates the need for fuel or wick replacement. The vacuum brewing pot holds up to eight cups of coffee. The siphon coffee pot lid fits securely and is designed to prevent spills while preserving heat, ensuring coffee quality when serving.
- Very easy to use and little effort to clean
- One of the most stable stands on the market
- Completely automated
- One of the most expensive siphon vacuum coffee makers on the market
- Not as decorative as other siphon coffee makers
Siphon Coffee Taste
The purpose of creating the siphon brewing method was to find a way of producing coffee that was free of bitterness and more rich and complex in flavor. Previous methods, and even some current ones, bring water to a boil, which flattens taste and adds bitterness. The focus was on creating a method to bring hot water to a maximum temperature that is just shy of boiling to release all of the coffee grounds' flavors. It is one of the best ways to make coffee.
Siphon coffee adds a richness in both aroma and flavor better than most brew methods. The coffee contains a more complete flavor profile. The siphon coffee maker accomplishes this by providing ideal hot water temperature, total immersion of the grounds, and even extraction. In addition, brews can be mixed much easier to reach the desired taste of each user. The brewing temperature is also excellent in releasing beneficial oils from the coffee grounds.
Is Siphon Coffee Good?
For most of the 20th century, the goal was to create more efficient ways to produce coffee. Yet, while the methods increased speed, there was little attention paid to the taste. Whether it was freeze-dried, the percolator method, or drip coffee makers, or another type of coffee machine, expediency was the order of the day. However, when consumers started to demand better-tasting coffee, older methods were brought back into vogue.
Siphon coffee makers, because of their ability to extract the bitterness out of coffee and produce a more complex and flavorful blend, have led to their resurgence in popularity. So while patrons at the gourmet coffee shop may have to wait longer, the quality of siphon coffee is so good that they are willing to do so. The fact that most independent gourmet coffee shops offer siphon brewed coffee is a testament to its quality.
Siphon Coffee vs. Vacuum Coffee
Though both these terms are used, they are essentially describing the same method. Both describe an apparatus containing two separate chambers in order to bring water to a near boil instead of a rolling boil. It is a system designed to produce the ideal temperature for brewing. There are only two recognized methods in this category of brewing, the American and the Japanese version.
The American and Japanese methods of siphon or vacuum pot brewing are nearly identical. There are differences in when you add the grounds, how much you mix them, and when you turn down the heat. The most significant difference is when you attach the upper vessel. The difference in attachment times will determine the length of time the water is in contact with the coffee grounds. The Japanese method produces a slightly stronger cup.
Siphon Coffee Caffeine
A typical drip coffee maker will range from 60 to 100 milligrams of caffeine. Part of the difference in range is how long the coffee is in contact with the grounds; logically, water that soaks coffee grounds longer will extract more caffeine. Another factor in determining caffeine amounts is water temperature. The hotter the water, the more caffeine extracted.
Siphon coffee makers will vary in their caffeine output. The reason is that users will use different amounts of coffee grounds and will leave them in the water in the brewing upper vessel for varying amounts of time. While the water is hot, it does not reach boiling, so caffeine levels in siphon coffee brew method will remain in line with those produced in drip coffee makers.
Best Coffee Maker
The siphon coffee maker certainly outperforms most machines and can even be seen on our top coffee makers guide. With such a rich and clean taste, you may wonder why anyone would ever use another type of coffee machine again. Besides needing to be more involved in the actual process, we feel that the quality of the coffee produced by a vacuum coffee maker is unmatched.
For the coffee connoisseur, the siphon coffee maker is a must. Yet, before you make a purchase, it is critical to consider the various aspects of a siphon coffee. Make sure it is made of quality materials. High-quality glass, stainless steel burners, and sturdy stands are necessities. Take your counter space into consideration. Examine the ergonomics of the many products on the market. See how easy they are to use and whether they meet your needs.
Also, it is vital that you look at the design. While most kitchen products on the market are all about function, the look of a siphon coffee maker is every bit as important. They are not just brewing devices but kitchen centerpieces. A siphon coffee maker should be just as fun to use as it is to drink the coffee it produces. Make sure you consider all these factors, then you will be ready to make your selection and make the best cup of coffee you have ever tasted.