Siphon coffee makers

First made in the 1940’s, the vacuum, or siphon, coffee maker looks like it came straight from a chemistry set, and they pretty much are.

Siphon coffee makers come in several shapes and forms, but they are all fundamentally the same thing, and can range greatly in price, and aesthetic.

Some models, known as balancing siphon coffee makers, use weights to automatically snuff the flame once all of the water has left the bottom chamber. These devices are known as a full immersion style brewer, as the water and coffee grounds mingle in unison before being filtered.

There is a carafe / bottom chamber that gets filled with the proper amount of water, which is then attached to an upper reservoir, which contains a cloth, metal, or paper filter, with a tube that sticks down into the carafe. The device itself is heated using a butane burner, or even an electric heating element in some models.


How to make coffee using a siphon coffee maker.

  • Add around 2.5 cups of quality room temperature water into the bottom reservoir, attach the filter to the top reservoir, and then secure the top to the bottom.
  • Once everything is secure, turn the burner on the high setting, and let the water boil.
  • Eventually, you will start to see water flowing up into the top chamber, from the pressure buildup in the bottom chamber caused by the applied heat.
  • When the top chamber is about half way full, go ahead and add the 2.5 to 3 tablespoons of coffee ground on a normal drip or pour over setting.
  • After adding the coffee, give it a good stir to evenly incorporate the coffee grounds with the water.
  • Turn the burner on the lowest setting it can go, to allow for some pressure to still be in the bottom to prevent the coffee from going down.
  • Then, allow for 4 minutes to pass, and then completely turn off the burner. After the temperature of the lower chamber starts to decrease, the coffee will be pulled down using vacuum pressure, and filtered through the filter that sits in the top chamber.
  • Once there are nothing but bubbles going into the bottom chamber, it is safe to detach the top, and place it aside.

At this point, the coffee is done, and can be poured into a nice preheated glass or mug where it can be sweetened, and cream added to taste. Coffee made with a siphon pot is known to be extremely clear, as the cloth filter does an amazing job at catching even the smallest coffee ground bits.

Vacuum pots can usually be found in higher end cafes, and even smaller local cafes that aim to please even some of the most obscure coffee aficionados by offering such a unique brewing method.