If you’re like us, the first time you saw a siphon coffee maker, you had no idea what to think of it, but then you tried the coffee and knew you needed one in your life. And why not? These brewers have withstood the test of time.
While everything else has only gotten quicker, the siphon brewer remains something that takes time and care to get the best out of it. It’s that time and care that make your coffee cup feel special.
So, let’s see if we can’t find the right one for you and get you started on your journey to coffee bliss.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Siphon Coffee Maker
Quick Summary: The Best Siphon Coffee Makers
|Yama Glass 8-cup Stovetop Coffee Brewer||Check on Amazon →|
|Bodum PEBO/ePEBO||Check on Amazon →|
|Hario Glass Technica Syphon Coffee Maker||Check on Amazon →|
|Kendal Glass TableTop Siphon||Check on Amazon →|
|iCoffee Coffee Siphon||Check on Amazon →|
That’s why we’ve taken time out to review 5 of the best siphon coffee makers that the marketplace currently has to offer. But before we get to the reviews, let’s explain a little more about siphon (or vacuum) coffee makers … just so that you know what you’re taking on.
If you’re not looking to take part in the new trends, try out these simple – but still effective – drip brewers!
So What is Siphon Coffee?
This science project-looking thing is just that, a science project. It was invented in the 1800s as a way to teach students the principles of the Aeolipile.
For the most part, the original design has remained the same. Siphon coffee brewers use two chambers to brew coffee. The top chamber had a metal crown at one point, but they got rid of it for whatever reason.
The bottom chamber holds the water and comes into contact with a heat source. As pressure builds, the heated water is forced into the upper chamber where the coffee is brewed. This full immersion brewing process gives siphon coffee its richness and flavorful final cup.
Once the brewing is complete, the coffee is pulled back down to the bottom chamber through a filter, usually cloth, and you’re left with a sediment-free cup of coffee with the faintest tasting notes coming to the forefront.
What Makes Siphon Coffee so Special?
Well, a few things; temperature control, vacuum, full immersion, and a cloth filter. Each of these will give you a great cup of coffee, but you get something special when you put them together.
The temperature during brewing is one of – if not the most – important things and is the hardest to get right. The constant heat needed to keep the vacuum in place also helps the water to break down and extract more flavor from the coffee than other brewers.
But it’s a tightrope you must walk to get it just right. The water can over-extract or burn the coffee grounds if it gets too hot.
If it cools too much, the vacuum won’t have the force needed to keep the water in the top chamber, leading you to an underdeveloped and sour final cup.
Here’s where the science comes in. The water vapors begin to expand as the water is heated. Once there’s no more room for the water vapors to expand, they begin to force themselves up toward the top chamber.
This gives siphon coffee makers that “wow factor.” They are dinner and a show, or in this case, coffee and a show.
Full immersion brewers are celebrated for giving you a full-flavored, crisp cup of coffee. Siphon coffee is no different.
The increased time the water is in contact with the coffee allows more of the water-soluble solids to be extracted.
Like most brewers, you can find metal, paper, cloth, and even plastic filters for siphon coffee brewers. Most of the brewers we are talking about today come with a cloth filter.
Cloth filters have a tight weave and are great at filtering out any sediment while allowing some of the natural oils from the coffee to make it through. They require a bit more effort to keep your coffee tasting fresh and clean. You must keep them in water in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. You might also need to soak them in coffee detergent if the oils from the coffee start to build up.
They are the way to go if you don’t mind the extra effort to care for them. They leave you with a cup of coffee completely sediment-free and crisp.
Stovetop vs. Standalone
This might not seem like a monumental decision since both will give you a great cup of coffee, but there are a few things to consider before buying one.
Standalone siphon coffee makers come with a stand and a separate heating element that sits below the bottom chamber. These brewers include the added expense of burner fuel. While that might not seem like much right off the bat, it can add up over time.
A stovetop brewer is designed to sit on top of a burner on your stove. While these brewers don’t incur the added fuel cost, you’ll want to grab a diffuser with one.
Diffusers help to distribute the heat evenly across the brewer. This helps you control the temperature better and eliminates any hot spots that can potentially damage your brewer.
Trust me. I have a retro stove with heavy, thick grates that make temperature control much more difficult.
Our Favorite Siphon Coffee Brewers
Now that we have a better understanding of what we’re looking at, let’s take a look at some of our favorite siphon coffee brewers. We broke down this list into our picks for stovetop and standalone brewers to make things a little easier.
Yama Stove-top 8cup Brewer
If the thought of worrying about a separate burner seems like a little bit too much, then the Yama Stove-top is the brewer for you.
This brewer comes in five and eight-cup sizes, so you’ll always have the right amount to share with a friend or have that second cup for a little more pick-me-up.
While this is a great brewer, remember that the glass can be on the thinner side, and the seal between the two chambers can wear over time, causing draining issues.
Bodum PEBO/ePEBO Coffee Maker
Bodum gives you another great option for stovetop brewing. If stovetop brewing isn’t for you, you also have the option of grabbing their electric version. Both boast an eight-cup capacity, so making enough for everyone to share shouldn’t be a problem.
The Bodum brewer is one of the few on our list that comes with a plastic filter rather than cloth. This is great if you find that you like coarser ground coffee. The plastic filter makes your clean-up a little easier since you don’t have to worry about taking care of a cloth filter.
But if you like your coffee finer, you’ll want to look elsewhere. The finer grind does tend to clog the plastic filter.
Hario Glass Technica Syphon Coffee Maker
Hario has a reputation for making high-quality products that, like the siphon coffee maker, stand the test of time. The Hario Glass Technica is no different.
The sturdy design feels solid in your hands, reassuring you that you’re getting quality for your money.
But there is always room for improvement, and this brewer is no different. The included alcohol burner isn’t bad, but it is on the weaker side and has trouble bringing room-temp water to a boil.
If you end up grabbing the Hario Technica Syphon coffee maker, consider adding a butane burner to your order.
Kendal Glass Tabletop Siphon
The Kendal Glass Tabletop Siphon coffee maker is a good place to start if you want a brewer that won’t break the bank. I know, I know. It isn’t a name brand, but that shouldn’t turn you away.
You still get a great five-cup brewer with a cloth filter that will give you that signature siphon cup of coffee. Just make sure you’re careful when handling the brewer, as the glass can be on the thinner side.
iCoffee “5-cup” Siphon Tabletop Brewer (Honorable Mention)
Let’s face it, siphon coffee makers can be expensive, but that shouldn’t stop you from cosplaying as Dr. Doofenshmirtz and getting a great cup of coffee.
This is the cheapest brewer on our list, and it comes with some drawbacks. While the construction is solid, you’re getting the smallest brewer on this list. The listing says it’s a five-cup brewer, but you’re getting the smaller three-cup version.
It’s not the worst thing in the world if you’re only making coffee for yourself, but it’s something to keep in mind before you buy.
What Coffee is Best for Siphon?
Now that you’ve found yourself a new brewer, let’s get some coffee beans to go along with it. We are looking for something that will take advantage of what your new siphon brewer does best, making a cup of coffee with unmatched clarity and flavor.
For me, that can only mean one thing; a light-roasted single origin with floral and sweeter-tasting notes. These coffee beans will have a chance to sing in the siphon coffee maker. Stop by my article on the Best Beans for Siphon Coffee if you’re looking for recommendations.
Best Grind for Siphon Coffee
We usually recommend a medium-fine grind or something that looks like beach sand. The surface area of the coffee allows the water to extract just the right amount of flavor from the coffee.
But don’t be afraid to experiment a little. After all, siphon coffee makers started as an experiment. Think the coffee is too strong? Go a little coarser. If your coffee is too weak for your taste, a finer grind is what you’re looking for.
How do I use this thing?
Getting the most out of your siphon coffee maker takes time and care. Here are a few steps to get you started.
- If you’re using a cloth filter, make sure to soak it in hot water for about five minutes.
- Preheat your water. This is going to make your brew time a little quicker.
- Grab your grinder and get those beans ground to a medium-fine consistency.
- Pour your pre-heated water into the bottom chamber and place it over your heat source.
- While the water is heating, carefully attach your warmed filter to the bottom of the top chamber by pulling the chain and attaching the hook to the tube.
- Once the water is boiling, gently seat the top chamber on top of the bottom, ensuring that the seal is completely seated.
- When the water has filled the top chamber, reduce the heat. Ensure that it isn’t boiling and the vacuum keeps the water in the top chamber.
- Add your coffee and let it bloom for 30 seconds. Then let it brew for around a minute.
- Remove the heat, give it a few stirs, and let the coffee filter.
That’s all he wrote
This should be everything you need to get started down the road to the perfect cup of siphon coffee. So find one that fits your needs, throw it in your cart, and never look back.
Siphon coffee makers are one of my favorite ways to brew coffee, and I’m excited to see that love and passion passed on.