All You Need To Know About Syphon Coffee Makers
What is a Syphon Coffee Maker?
The syphon brewer dates back to the mid-1800s, when many European inventors began tinkering with brewing coffee in a vacuum. Their method fell by the wayside as stove-top coffee percolators, and drip machines gained popularity in North America. But the syphon (some manufacturers use the alternative spelling, siphon) has seen a resurgence in curiosity and popularity primarily due to the third wave of specialty coffee lovers.
The syphon is a total immersion brewing method, similar to the French Press and AeroPress, where the coffee grounds are immersed in water. The entire brewing process is sealed off so no aroma can escape. The syphon is different from other methods because the vacuum brewer is continuously heated at the perfect temperature to extract the oils and flavour from the ground coffee.
Is it Science or Magic? How Does a Syphon Coffee Maker Work?
Here's the science part: The syphon has two glass chambers; ground coffee placed in a cloth filter goes in the top chamber, and the water goes in the lower bowl. An alcohol burner heats the water, causing vapour pressure to draw it into the top chamber where it brews the coffee. Once brewed, the vacuum created in the lower chamber draws the coffee down.
Some say syphon brewers are pretty magical because you can watch the entire brewing process. San Francisco's Blue Bottle Café is famous for its siphon bar setup, including a top-of-the-line $20,000 model from Japan. Baristas at Blue Bottle call it the most theatrical of all brewing methods!
Is a Syphon Designed for a Beginner or an Experienced Coffee Fan?
Even if you're new to brewing specialty coffee, setting up and brewing with the syphon is relatively easy because there aren't many complicated parts. We tend to find that coffee fans brewing espresso and pour-over coffee are always on the lookout for trying something different; adding a syphon to the home coffee station gives them a unique and eye-catching alternative brewing method.
We carry Hario and Java Gear Syphons at Espressotec, and each brand has a three or five cup size.
Recommended Roast, Grind and Brew Time
All of our Syphon brewers are pretty versatile and can handle either a light or dark roast. We recommend a medium-course grind to extract the best from your coffee beans using a syphon.
What Does the Coffee Taste Like?
With the syphon brewer, the water heats up to a few degrees shy of boiling, and that's a good thing because boiling water used in other brewing methods may kill the flavour in a good coffee. A syphon can trap the coffee aromas inside the glass chamber, producing a clean and vibrant tasting coffee.
If you're intrigued by this novel coffee brewing method, we would be happy to give you a demonstration. For more, check out the history of the syphon.