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.

The device itself is heated using a butane burner, or even an electric heating element in some models.


Originating in the 1940s, the vacuum coffee maker, also referred to as a siphon coffee maker, boasts an appearance reminiscent of something straight out of a science laboratory.

This similarity is not mere coincidence, as these coffee makers share fundamental principles with scientific apparatus.

Siphon coffee makers showcase diverse shapes and designs, yet they share a common core concept.

Their prices and aesthetic appeal can vary considerably, offering options to suit different preferences and budgets.

Among these models, the balancing siphon coffee makers stand out.

These devices incorporate weights that play a clever role in extinguishing the flame once all the water has moved from the lower chamber.

This particular type of siphon coffee maker employs a full immersion brewing style, where water and coffee grounds intermingle harmoniously before undergoing the filtration process.

Essentially, these coffee makers consist of two main parts:

  • The carafe or bottom chamber, responsible for holding a precise quantity of water.
  • The upper reservoir, which houses a filter made from materials like cloth, metal, or paper.

A tube extends from the upper reservoir into the carafe. The functioning of the device involves heating it, which is achieved either through a butane burner or, in certain models, an electric heating element.

In essence, the vacuum or siphon coffee maker offers a unique and visually captivating method of preparing coffee, marrying science and artistry in a single brewing process.


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.