Bodum Pebo (AKA Santos) Vacuum Coffee Maker Review
Siphon brewers are a great way to start your day feeling like a mad scientist. However, instead of creating doomsday weapons or a robot army you’re brewing a nice cup of coffee. But, just as the mad scientist needs to pick the right lab coat and practice their evil laugh, you need to make sure that your siphon brewer meets your needs.
Read on to find out if the Bodum Pebo Vacuum Coffee Maker is a good fit for your coffee brewing lair.
SUMMARY: The Bodum (Santos) Pebo Siphon Coffee Maker
Its exceptionally effective vacuum/siphon brewing method extracts all precious oils of your favourite coffee.– Bodum
Siphon Brewing Guide
So you want to get the best siphon coffee maker, but how do you use it? Let us explain. While it is possible to muddle your way through this brewing method and get decent coffee, the best siphon brew requires a bit of attention to detail.
First, attach the filter to the brew chamber. The Pebo’s filter clips to the bottom of the tube extending from the brew chamber.
Once the filter is attached, fill the lower carafe with water. Starting with hot water is a particularly good idea if you are heating your siphon with a butane or alcohol burner, but even stovetop models like this siphon by Bodum can benefit from starting warm.
Plan on your siphon coffee taking 5-11 minutes to brew. Starting with hot water will push you towards the shorter end of that spectrum.
Ensure that the exterior of the carafe is completely dry. If the exterior is wet the vessel may crack or explode.
Next, set the brew chamber (the top beaker) on the lower carafe, but don’t seal the two together. Instead, allow the brew chamber to sit slightly askew. Once the water boils in the lower carafe, you can press the two pieces together. As the top begins to fill, reduce the heat.
If you are feeling scientific, you can verify that your water temperature levels out around 200°F/93°C. If you don’t have a thermometer on hand or don’t feel like going to the trouble to measure the exact water temperature, just make sure the water in the brew chamber is not boiling and you will be fine.(1)
While the SCA recommends 200°F/93°C, feel free to play around with the temperature, adjusting according to your tastes.
Add your fresh coffee grounds (ground slightly finer than you’d use for drip coffee) to the upper chamber and stir gently with a wooden or plastic spoon to allow the grounds to bloom.
Set a timer for 90 seconds and wait. Keep an eye on your siphon, if the water in the lower chamber boils immediately remove it from the heat, or it may crack or explode. (2)
If no water remains in the jug, it must be removed from the heat immediately and then replace since there is a risk that it will crack from the heat.
After 90 seconds has elapsed remove the siphon from your heat source and wait for the coffee to descend from the upper chamber into the lower chamber.
Just one more word of caution before you get to enjoy your cup of coffee… siphon coffee comes out much hotter than most drip coffee, so be sure not to scald your taste buds before you can enjoy the signature siphon flavour.
The Bodum Pebo Vacuum Coffee Maker Review
Previously known as the Bodum Santos, the Pebo vacuum coffee maker uses a classic design that boasts quality performance and a clean, minimalist aesthetic.
Ease of Use – 4/5
Siphon coffee makers are not the easiest machines to use, so please recognize that 4/5 means that for a siphon brewer, this model is easy to work with. As a stovetop vacuum coffee maker, you won’t have to worry about finicky alcohol burners or finding your butane cartridges. The handle is located well away from your heat source, keeping your hands safe and cool.
While some people don’t like that this siphon coffee maker uses a plastic filter, the plastic has some advantages over cloth and glass options. It is easy to attach, easy to wash, and durable over time. Glass filters, or Corey Rods, are far more delicate and cloth filters often require more effort to maintain. So if you can let go of the idea that a top-notch brewer shouldn’t include plastic, this is actually a great option.
Brew Capacity – 4/5
With a capacity of 1 litre and minimum brew capacity of 0.5 litre, this vacuum coffee maker is great for small households. If you are looking to entertain large groups, remember that Bodum’s ‘8-cup’ designation refers to dainty 125 ml cups and not the avoirdupois 8-ounce cup.
Build Quality – 4/5
Bodum is known for their glass. If your kitchen already includes other Bodum products like their classic French press, you can vouch for the glass quality first-hand. Like in the Yama Glass Siphon Coffee Brewer, the borosilicate glass in the Pebo is no exception.
The two chambers are built beautifully for a smooth and tight fit that will keep your brewing process leak-free and precise. As we mentioned, the only real outstanding complaint has to do with the plastic rather than glass or cloth filter.
If you are the type of person who is adamant that your coffee never touches plastic, then you’ll want to look into replacing the plastic filter with stainless steel or glass filter rods. However, we suggest that you give the plastic filter a try.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 5/5
Constructed nearly entirely out of borosilicate glass, this siphon coffee maker is as easy to clean as they come. The glass parts are all dishwasher safe and the plastic filter easily beats out cloth and even stainless steel filters which tend to retain bits of old grounds.
Value for Money – 4.5/5
There isn’t much that the Bodum (Santos) Pebo Vacuum Coffee Maker doesn’t do as well or better than its competitors. Given Bodum’s vast brand recognition, you may be expecting quite a steep price point compared to competing siphon brewers, but we are happy to report that it is actually priced quite reasonably. The value of this brewer is even greater given that customers have access to Bodum’s well-reputed customer service.
Alternatives to the Bodum (Santos) Pebo
The Pebo is a wonderful siphon brewer but depending on what your goals are it might not be the right siphon coffee maker for you.
The Hario Technica – If you are looking for a tool for a bit of home theatre, a countertop coffee siphon may be a better choice. The Hario Technica Siphon Coffee Maker is a good option that comes with an alcohol burner and a stand for the siphon. Though the Hario vacuum coffee maker comes at a higher price than the model by Bodum, it is still within the “reasonable” range.
The KitchenAid Electric Siphon – Once you try siphon coffee it can be hard to go back to traditional drip coffee. However, siphon coffee makers require a lot more attention to operate. The Bodum Vacuum Coffee Maker requires your close supervision, but there are other options that automate the process. The electric KitchenAid Coffee Siphon operates with the flip of a switch, handling all of the timing and temperature control for you. The automatic vacuum brewing allows you to focus on your coffee grounds, rather than watching to keep the water from boiling or the glass from cracking. Read our KitchenAid Siphon Coffee Brewer review.
The NISPIRA Balance Siphon – If you are particularly drawn to the vintage glamour of siphon brewers, the Pebo may be just a bit too minimalist for your taste. For a more dramatic look, we suggest you take a look at NISPIRA Balance Siphon. While this model works in basically the same way as the Pebo, it takes a very different approach to the aesthetic of the process. Keep in mind that this glamour comes at a price, so be sure the aesthetic is worth it.
Bodum is known for their elegant glassware and this vacuum coffee maker is no exception. The Bodum (Santos) Pebo is elegant in both form and use. The included plastic filter might disappoint the purists looking for an all-glass brewer, but it works well and can go the distance.
The Pebo coffee vacuum siphon is the exact same brewer as the Bodum Santos, just renamed. On the company website, the Pebo is described as the “former Santos.” (3)
Yes, Bodum sells spare parts for their siphon coffee maker. Several items including the rubber gasket, the carafe, and the brew chamber are available on the company website. While they do not sell replacement filters, the unit is compatible with third party filters. Be aware that the carafe of the brew chamber replacements cost more than half the cost of a brand-new unit.
Bodum recommends that you use a heat diffuser when using their vacuum coffee maker over gas ranges. (4) Borosilicate glass is extremely durable and resistant to thermal shock, but ultimately a heat diffuser is inexpensive insurance against the base cracking.
- Coffee Standards. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://sca.coffee/research/coffee-standards
- Jones, J. (2015, October 9). Syphon: The History & Brewing Guide. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2015/10/vacpot-syphon-the-history-brewing-guide/
- PEBO®. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bodum.com/gb/en/1208-01-pebo