For many people, a vacuum coffee maker may sound an odd thing. But for some, it is one of the most interesting, fun, and efficient ways of brewing coffee. This method dates back to the 1830s and was most followed once. Now that there are drip coffee makers and espresso machines all around, people do not know what’s hidden in a siphon coffee maker.
So, if you are looking for the best siphon coffee maker or you just want to know how this thing works. Welcome Aboard! We have picked 8 of the best vacuum siphon coffee makers and also discussed things like how a siphon coffee maker works? how to use it? and how to choose the best one in the lot.
8 Best Siphon Coffee Makers 2020
- KitchenAid KCM0812OB Siphon Coffee Brewer
- Yama Glass 8-Cup Stovetop Siphon
- Nispira Belgian Belgium Luxury Siphon
- Yama Glass 5-Cup Coffee Siphon (Butane Burner)
- Bodum PEBO Vacuum Coffee Maker
- Hario Technica 5-Cup Siphon Coffee Maker
- Diguo Belgian Luxury Royal Siphon
- Kendal Glass Tabletop Siphon
You may like to read: Breville Espresso Maker BES870XL
So What is a Siphon Coffee Maker?
The reason it is called a siphon or vacuum coffee maker is that it works on the vacuum principle. For a very basic understanding, it comes with two chambers, one of which is for water and the other one is for coffee grounds. Water is heated and forced to push into the other chamber and then mixed with the coffee grounds. Once all the water is pushed and immersed with coffee grounds, no more heat is provided. Then all the coffee is pulled back from the coffee grounds chamber into the water chamber because a vacuum is created there and the wet coffee grounds stay back in their own chamber with the help of a filter.
Yeah, it may sound something complex now, but as you go on with this guide, you’ll get to know the working mechanism of it and also how to best use a siphon coffee maker.
Types of Siphon Coffee Maker
The mechanism of brewing is the same in all vacuum coffee makers, the only difference between them is the heat source. So based on how to heat the water in a siphon coffee brewer, it can be either of the two types i.e. standalone or stovetop.
A standalone siphon coffee maker comes with its own source of heat, most of the time it’s a burner. This burner can be of alcohol or gas. This is the real type, which means originally a burner was used for heating purposes. The other type which is known as stovetop is a newer type, and it started being used because it makes the process a tad easy. So a stovetop can be placed upon an electric or gas stove and that’s it. But you have to be careful with the stovetop type because the chambers of a siphon coffee maker are made of glass which can crack if it comes directly in contact with the stove. For this, using a heat diffuser is the best option, and it’s a standard procedure.
Talking about standalone siphon brewers, they can be further of two types. One is conventional, having two chambers on top of each other and you have to manually put out the flame when you think that the brewing is done. The other one is called blanching siphon coffee maker, in this type the two chambers are placed next to each other and there is spring mechanism which automatically puts out the flame of the burner when the water chamber is empty and immersion is done on the other chamber.
How it Works?
Now let’s dig deep and get to know how a vacuum coffee maker actually works.
Most siphon coffee makers you come across will have two chambers (mostly glass), initially, one of these needs to be filled with water and the other one has coffee grounds. Between these two chambers lies a filter as is present in any type of brewing method. This filter can be of paper, cloth, or steel. These two chambers are locked in such a way that the vacuum which is supposed to be created is not disturbed, most modern vacuum coffee brewers come with a magnetic lock.
OK, above mentioned were the things involved in the making of a siphon coffee maker. Now here is how it works, heat is provided to the water in the lower chamber and as the time goes on, all the water is pushed to the upper chamber leaving a vacuum (siphon) in the lower chamber. Simultaneously in the upper chamber, heated water and coffee grounds are immersed. As soon as the heat is stopped from the bottom, the vacuum created in the lower chamber pulls back all the coffee, leaving the coffee grounds in the upper chamber because of the filter. That’s it, the solution which lies in the lower chamber now is the coffee made using a siphon coffee maker which is one of the best methods for a rich coffee.
Why is a Siphon Coffee Maker Special?
Now that you know how it works and what principle it is based on, let’s get to know a little about why it is so special? And why bother going through such a coarse process in a world where you have super-automatic espresso machines and drip coffee makers. OK, here’s why a vacuum coffee maker is so special.
One of the most special things about a siphon coffee maker is the design of it. See, the beauty of it is not related to the taste and brewing results at all. But it is one nice addition to the kitchen countertop or even in the office. It looks more of an antique from the old ages and is aesthetically sound.
Not all coffee brewing methods bring coffee and water together for a longer time. In siphon brewing method, coffee grounds and water are in contact for a longer period of time under consistent heat. This is the reason for a rich taste, clear flavor, and best brew results. It gets you the cup of coffee that you would love the most.
Role of Vacuum / Siphon
Besides total immersion and consistent heat in this method, the vacuum also plays an important role. When all the water is immersed with coffee grounds in the top chamber and the heat is stopped, the vacuum pulls everything towards the bottom chamber. This suction brings with it anything and everything, no flavor, aroma, or any kind of solubles are left behind. The result is a rich, pure aroma and flavorful cup of coffee.
Read Detailed Review on: Bonavita BV 1900TS Coffee Maker
Siphon / Vacuum Coffee Maker Reviews
1. KitchenAid KCM0812OB Siphon Coffee Brewer
KitchenAid KCM0812OB is more of a modern siphon coffee maker. It is one of the best electric vacuum coffee makers, yes you heard it right, it is electric. For those who want to experience a siphon but yet want the process to be easy, this one is a fine option. It is fancy, built out of fine materials, and can brew up to 8 cups at a time. The brew unit which is the top chamber comes with a stand of its own, whenever you want to remove it from the setup. You get two filters for it, a steel and cloth one. The lower chamber has markings on it, where you can see how many cups of water you have added.
Below the water chamber is the electric base, which can be removed or attached by 360° rotation. The upper and lower chamber is further tightened by a magnetic lock which ensures the vacuum creation to be perfect. The glass used is of premium quality and the accents around it are stainless-steel. You can go for either silver or black color, both are available. Furthermore, it is one of the easiest to use siphon coffee makers and really reaches the full immersion and rich taste. The only downside to it is the price, it costs around $250. But if you do not have an issue with budget, then this is the best siphon coffee maker right now.
2. Yama Glass 8-Cup Stovetop Siphon
CONS: Heat diffuser required, No steel filter
Yama Glass 8 Cup is a stovetop siphon coffee maker, so you’ll need to use a heat diffuser for safety purposes. It falls among the budget-friendly options among vacuum coffee makers and has an 8 cup capacity. Design-wise, it is pretty basic and neat. All you get is two chambers and a filter between them. Both the chambers are made of hand-blown Borosilicate Glass which means they are durable and would not trap any odor. The lid you get with it also acts as a stand for the brew chamber, post brew.
Using it is very simple, once the water reaches the top chamber, you have to add coffee grounds into it and stir for a while to make sure all the grounds are wet. As for the filter, you get some cloth filters with it but those are difficult to wash, it would be better if you go for paper filters instead. Finally, as mentioned earlier, it is a budget-friendly option and has 8 cup capacity which makes it worthy.
3. Nispira Belgian Belgium Luxury Siphon
CONS: Expensive, Occasional Use
Nispira Belgian is one of the best balancing siphon coffee maker. As you can see, it is different from traditional siphon coffee makers which come with two chambers on top of each other. This one also has two chambers but they are placed next to each other. It can brew anywhere between 3-5 cups of coffee at a time. Such coffee makers are preferred by people who love the fancy design and want the aesthetics to be perfect. But there is no doubt about the brew quality as well, the cup of coffee you get here is just as amazing as any other vacuum coffee maker.
So, it comes with its own burner having a lid on it, when you open the lid and flame the burner, the water chamber tilts a bit and water starts flowing into the brew chamber. When the water chamber is empty, the lid closes by itself, which means the burner is no more flamed. This is where the vacuum starts pulling the coffee back towards the water chamber. And on the other side, the shower-head has a filter on it, leaving behind all the coffee grounds. OK, let’s face it, this type of coffee maker is not very easy to use, it is more preferable if you use it on special occasions for guests and it is expensive as well. So, you should only go for it if you have special reasons because it is not a day to day use coffee maker.
4. Yama Glass 5-Cup Coffee Siphon (Butane Burner)
This siphon coffee maker is the standalone type, which means it comes with its own burner but it is not filled by default. You’ll have to fill the burner and then you are good to go. So, similar to many other vacuum coffee makers, it has the same two chambers and a filter in between. The good thing about this one is that the vacuum seal is awesome, coffee is perfectly brewed and is rich in taste. Aesthetically, the stand of it is beautiful, it has a ceramic base and makes the overall process very easy.
The water chamber comes with its own elongated handle, so you can use it easily when pouring coffee into the cup. And the lid also acts as a stand for the brew unit when placed upside down. As the name indicates, it has a max capacity of 5 cups, so it is a nice option for a family. More, the material used is hand-blown glass which is the best-known durability and non-porous nature. Lastly, the price of it is a bit on the higher side, but compared to many siphon brewers, it looks nice on the counter.
5. Bodum PEBO Vacuum Coffee Maker
CONS: Carafe not useful
With an 8 cup capacity, Bodum PEBO stovetop becomes the best vacuum coffee maker for a family or even workplace. It is pretty basic without any stand or burner, all you get is a funnel (top chamber), a jug (bottom chamber), a filter with spring, and the lid of it. On the lower chamber, there are markings for 6 and 8 cups only, anything apart from that needs to be measured by you, yourself. Filter comes with a spring that you can stick to the narrow end of the funnel, this ensures no grounds come down.
The lower chamber of it is not something everyone would like, it is sort of a jug with a wide base and narrow head, so you can not keep your coffee in it for longer because it will get cold. So, if you are not utilizing all the coffee you have prepared, then you’ll have to pour it into some carafe or a thermos to keep it hot. The filter it uses is a permanent steel filter and it works great. Also, there is a rubber stopper around the neck of the upper chamber, this ensures that the vacuum created is not affected by any means. And the price of it is justifiable, you can get it for $60. But this price is without any accessories like a burner, scoop or stand, etc.
6. Hario Technica 5-Cup Siphon Coffee Maker
CONS: Difficult Assembly
This coffee brewer looks something straight out of the chemistry lab. The way it is designed and the parts are placed, makes it look as if some chemical reaction is about to take place in a lab. The stand of it has a U-shaped base, this is where the burner is placed. So yes, it is a standalone siphon coffee maker, on top of this stand is the handle where the water chamber is attached to it. The upper chamber is an elongated one, with a lid on it. And similar to many others, this lid can be used as a stand for the brew unit if placed upside down.
The process of vacuuming in it happens smoothly and quickly, as soon as the flame is put off, the suction starts, which indicates that the vacuum created is an effective one. It can brew around 5 cups at a time which makes it a good option for friends and family. The way it is designed and it works, its $80 price tag is totally OK, some may found it to be expensive but compared to its performance, it is not.
7. Diguo Belgian Luxury Royal Siphon
CONS: Occasional Use, Price
Most siphon coffee makers are conventional with one chamber over another, but this one is not. Similar to Nispira Belgian reviewed above, it is a balancing vacuum coffee maker. This is where the chambers are not placed on top of each other, rather next to each other. The rest of the mechanism is the same, a vacuum is created and then the water is pulled back once immersed with the coffee grounds.
The reason people go for this one is the way it looks. It looks something straight out of a royal palace, it is more of an occasional use coffee maker rather daily. The material used is premium stainless-steel making it durable and premium. The final coffee is rich, extracting all the flavor from the grounds. The filter of it is more suitable for a medium-coarse grind rather than a fine one. And it can brew up to 5 cups maximum at a time. Finally, as mentioned that it is a premium coffee maker so you should be ready for a high price, it costs around 130 bucks.
8. Kendal Glass Tabletop Siphon
CONS: Difficult Assembly
Last but not least, Kendal Tabletop is the best vacuum coffee maker on a budget. It performs good, has a nice design, and is still offered at a lower price. The thing which you may not like is the assembly of it. It is a combination of many things like the stand, burners, and then placing the chambers on top of one another. This makes it a difficult one to take care of. However, the results are second to none, the vacuum created is awesome and suction takes place nicely.
It can brew up to 5 cups at a time and the material used is heat resistant. The burner of it is easy to use, comes with its own stainless-steel lid for putting the fire off. And similar to many others, the lid of it can be used as a stand when placed upside down. More, you also get a scoop and stirrer with it. Finally, as mentioned earlier it is a budget-friendly option, in case you are tight on budget.
Siphon Coffee Maker Buying Guide
Same as any other coffee makers, a siphon coffee maker also has some considerations, you should know certain things beforehand so that the one you buy is perfect for you in all ways.
Make of the Coffee Maker
One of the most important things is to know what the vacuum coffee maker is made of. Initially, it used to be steel or brass, this was the best material at that time and the looks were fancy too. But with time, as the technology got better, those coffee makers were shifted to glass from steel or brass.
Now, those made of stainless steel or brass are still perfect, they look fancy and the brewing is good. But they are expensive, this type is now considered more of a luxury. On the other hand, glass siphon coffee makers are budget-friendly and they are easy to use. The glass used for making these is heat-resistant borosilicate glass, this makes them take the heat easily and work a long period of time. In simple words, they are not indestructible and will not easily crack or break down.
Types of Siphon Coffee Maker
As mentioned in the start that a vacuum coffee maker can be one of two types based on how it is heated. One is standalone and the other is stovetop. Those with their own heating source like a burner are standalone, this is the original type but the burner can be some sort of an issue at times. Things like refilling the burner or controlling the heat of it, are questionable. As an advice, it is better to stay away from alcohol burners which are cheap no doubt, but controlling the temperature of them is difficult and they also leave black marks at the area where they are in contact with your siphon brewer. For best results, you should stick to either gas or electric halogen burners, they are perfect.
The other one, stovetop, is a modern variant. It makes things easy, you can place it on top of an electric or gas stove but the direct contact of it can harm the glass, which is why you will need to use a heat diffuser. Additionally, there is another type, the balancing siphon coffee maker, it is not widely used nowadays but is much better than the conventional one in many ways. However, it is expensive and is only suitable for occasional use.
Filter in a Siphon
Since you know by now that there is a filter in place between the two chambers of a vacuum pot coffee maker. This filter, in earlier days, used to be a permanent one like cloth or steel. But now you get the liberty of going for a temporary paper filter. Cloth filters are the original thing for this brew method, but cleaning that cloth is a mess. In contrast to this, the steel filter is a better option if you decide to stick with a permanent filter. And of course, a temporary paper filter is the best option among all.
Similar to any other coffee maker, the capacity of these coffee makers vary from model to model. So far, the siphon coffee makers which we’ve come across, go as low as 3 cups and as high as 8 cups. So you must keep this in mind, do not go for a bigger one for no reason, just stick to what you will be needing.
The fact is that siphon coffee makers are not cheap like drip or other types. You’ll have to put in some bucks into it. The lowest you can get is around $50 or hardly $45, but these are a bit on the lower side of quality. If you want to get a good one, whose results are best and can brew a large amount at a time, then you must spend anything above $70.
How to Make Coffee using Siphon Coffee Maker?
Using a vacuum coffee maker involves a small number of steps, but you have to do each and everything carefully for perfect results. Here’s how to prepare coffee using a siphon brewer.
First of all, you have to know the ratio of coffee grounds and water. This is what you get from practicing, make sure to use a scale for weighing the grounds every time, and eventually, you’ll get to know the right ratio.
The coffee should be a medium-coarse grind, neither too fine nor too coarse. This ensures a better immersion and rich taste in this method. OK, so now you have to add water to the lower chamber and then add coffee grounds to the top chamber, but make sure to add a filter in there first. Now start heating the water, it could be a burner or a stove, based on what type you have selected.
The water will now start going to the top chamber via a tube, this is when the brewing starts. At this point make sure to keep the temperature at a level so that the water does not boil, rather hot and immersing with the grounds. After a minute, remove the burner or take the siphon brewer off of the stove. The water will now slowly start dropping back into the bottom chamber, wait till all water is back in the lower chamber. Afterward, remove the top chamber and clean it because it will have wet coffee grounds inside and now pour the coffee from the lower chamber to a cup or carafe and in some cases, the lower chamber itself acts as a carafe. That’s it, now you can enjoy a great cup of coffee made using the siphon brewing method.