The Art of Making Coffee |April 5, 2022

Does Siphon Brewed Coffee Live Up To The Hype?

We have explored many different ways to make coffee in the course of the last year. We have examined French Press, Moka Pot, Pour Over, Chemex and AeroPress. Today let’s add one more to the list albeit a bit on the rare and unique side. The Siphon Brewer also known as a Vacuum Brewer is not new, it has been around since the mid-1800s yet has only recently started to make a big comeback.

In specialty cafes across the world, the Siphon brewer creates both a great cup of coffee and provides an entertaining show. Do they make a superior cup of coffee? Well, let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages. First, though, how do they work?

Please watch this short video (How to Brew Vacuum Pot Coffee) to see how a Siphon Brewer works.

So, to review – You have your upper and lower beaker and a heat source. Water goes into the lower chamber to boil and moves upward into the top beaker where coffee is added, gently stirred, and allowed to extract. The heat is lowered, which forces the coffee to pull back down into the lower chamber through a mesh filter and you are ready to drink.

The Good

Siphon Brewers are universally considered to create intense aromatics in the cup. As the grounds are immersed in the water, you get French press style extraction yet a crisper cup as the vacuum pulls all of the moisture from the grounds through a mesh filter. (You can also add a cloth filter for an even cleaner cup.)

The Bad

Your siphon brew will require you to be there, watching carefully and following exact procedures. Hot glass, many removable and breakable parts, and considerable effort in cleaning will all add to the time required for using this method.

The Reality

As these brewers can be expensive and may be used rarely, I recommend that you try Siphon brewed coffee at a specialty café near you. Enjoy the show, enjoy the cup and let someone else deal with the hard part. If you find that it is soo good that you simply cannot live without it, then go ahead and invest the time and money in your own siphon brewer.

Here is one more great video to guide you in this intriguing extraction method.

Full disclosure…I do not own a siphon brewer.  I ordered a siphon brewed coffee at a cafe in San Diego recently and I thought it was a decent cup of coffee.  How much I could ascribe the flavors in the cup to the brew method, the actual beans and roast, and the care of the barista, I wasn’t sure.  Please do your own due diligence and let me know what you find!

About the Author
Matt Carter is a retired teacher (1989-2018), a part-time musician, farmer, and currently manages Greenwell Farms Tour and Retail Store Operations.

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