The Best Siphon Coffee Makers, Revealed (AKA Vacuum Coffee Brewer)
As a full-time coffee geek I get unashamedly excited over unique brew methods, but none get me quite as excited as the Siphon brew coffee maker (also known as a vacuum coffee maker).
Today, I am going to try and calm my coffee-boner so I can tell you about the best siphon coffee makers of 2021.
HARIO Technica Coffee Siphon
Simple yet efficient design that makes it easy to create mind blowing filter coffee (and it’s affordable). It comes in 3-cup and 5-cup sizes and it’s a favourite among coffee enthusiasts.
What Is A Vacuum Coffee Maker?
There is a short and a long answer to this question:
The short answer - a vacuum coffee maker is that thingy you’ve seen in a handful of hyper-hipster coffee shops and never known what it does.
The long answer – a vacuum coffee maker is a full immersion brew system that uses a constant heat source to create a vacuum in one chamber by forcing water up into another chamber, where the coffee grounds are steeped, and then allows the brew to drain back down into the bottom chamber.
Although this process may sound confusing, I promise it’s not. To get a good visual of how it all works watch this video for a demonstration.
Besides a nickname (siphon) that would fit well on the X-Men super mutant team, vacuum coffee makers have four unique features that set them apart from other brew systems:
The first is that vacuum coffee makers brew with a dramatic-sounding process called total immersion.
Total immersion is rather simple, and all it means is that all the coffee grounds and all the water will be in contact throughout the whole brewing process.
This brew method should sound familiar to you, as both the French press and the AeroPress use this method for brewing. Essentially, total immersion is the same as steeping, and usually results in a clearer and lighter flavoured brew. Unfortunately, this method isn’t as good at extracting the flavour out of your grounds as a drip method – think of cleaning a dirty sponge with running water vs. soaking it for a while – which leads me to…
The feature from which this mad scientist’s experiment gets its name is also its most defining.
After your coffee grounds have soaked for a while, becoming more loose and relaxed than your hairy uncle at the community bathhouse , the vacuum created in the bottom chamber pulls all that caffeine-saturated liquid back down through the filter. By forcing the water back down through the grounds, this method is also effective in extracting any remaining solubles your coffee grounds still cling to.
Unlike a French press, a vacuum coffee maker gives you the best of both worlds: total immersion to let your grounds soak, and a hot water whirlpool to extract any last bits of coffee goodness, leaving you with a cup of coffee unmatched in flavour and aroma.
Another unique feature of a vacuum brewer is that it provides consistent heat throughout the entire brew process. Unlike other brew methods, which require you to pour preheated water over your grounds, a vacuum brewer is continuously heated. Since temperature is one of the most important parts of brew quality, having a consistent heat source allows for greater control over your brew.
Brewing in a coffee siphon is a complete sensory experience. It involves sight, sound, aroma, touch and taste.
I won’t pretend that I’m not shallow, because to a certain degree I am. I’ll admit that I sometimes choose coffee beans based on their label design and, yes, I like vacuum coffee makers because they look damn cool. Having a vacuum coffee maker sitting on your kitchen counter (or in your trophy case – I would) will immediately catch any guest’s interest as they wonder what sort of awesome science experiments it’s used for.
Well Then, How Do I Choose a Siphon Pot Coffee Brewer?
Aside from the features listed above, there are a few other things to consider when in the market for a vacuum coffee maker. lets go over some of these considerations:
Stovetop vs. Standalone
In terms of brew quality there isn’t much difference between a stovetop or a standalone vacuum brewer.
Choosing between the two is often a matter of aesthetics. Standalone brewers tend to have more stylish flair; however, stovetop brewers are more affordable.
The basic difference is that a stovetop (like the name implies) is designed so that it can sit on top of a gas or electric stove. A standalone vacuum brewer has its own fancy stand, and either a built-in or separate gas or alcohol burner that rests neatly below the bottom chamber.
Like most other brew systems, many vacuum coffee makers brew in different size batches, and typically they range between 3-8 cups per brew. How caffeinated you prefer your mornings (or how big your family is) will determine which size is the best fit for you.
How Fancy Are You?
Given the price range of these brewers, I can safely assume that anyone considering purchasing one has a soft spot for style. Whatever your sense of style, there are vacuum brewers for the Elton John in all of us. But just a fair warning, the more Elton you are, the larger the price tag you should expect. If you’re after something more simple (and boring) maybe a regular coffee maker.
5 of the Best Siphon Coffee Makers of 2021
Now that you know what to look for and what you’re looking at, let’s take a look at the best options out there. In no particular order (i.e – they are all great options).
|HARIO Technica Coffee Siphon|
|Bodum Santos Stovetop Glass Vacuum|
|Diguo Belgium Coffee Syphon|
|DasMarine Tabletop Syphon|
For a unique take on a vacuum brewing system, take a look at this digital option from Gourmia. If you don’t want to bother fiddling with an alcohol burner or managing the temperature on your stovetop, this electric syphon brewer is a great option.
The Gourmia Digital Syphon stands out for it’s sleek design and ease of use. Think of it as the polar opposite of the Belgian Balance model above. It would look right at home in a spare, modern kitchen, with its crystal coffee pot and smooth, black glass base.
Thanks to both automatic and manual control functions, this brewer is super easy to use. Unlike most syphon brewers, you can use an automatic program to just “set it and forget it.” Or if you’re the kind of coffee lover who likes to engage with the brewing process, the manual setting lets you do just that.
The main user complaint about this system is that it is difficult to clean, though that is common to most syphon brewers when compared to other coffee-making systems.
If you are googling vacuum brewers right now because you’re trying to learn more about the funky contraption behind the bar at the coffee shop, chances are the Hario Technica is what you saw (1). This brewer seems to pop up all over the place – in obscure coffee houses, trendy corner cafes, and many YouTube videos – and for good reason.
Thanks to Japanese propensity for simple and efficient design, the Hario Technica is a user favourite. The quality of this brewer vastly overshadows less expensive knock-offs, so you won’t run into any of the issues that seem to plague these brewers, like fragility, inadequate seal, and poor draining.
The Technica is a standalone brewer, which is sure to impress upon first sight. It comes in a 2-cup, 3-cup, or 5-cup size, and includes its own (unattached) alcohol burner. If you are looking for a classic vacuum coffee maker, this should be at the top of your list.
Read our full review of the Hario Technica.
If you’ve ever walked into a Starbucks (don’t lie), you’re probably familiar with the Bodum brand. Starbucks loves advertising Bodum French presses all over their windows. This Scandinavian company is known for its clean and minimal design without sacrificing utility. The Bodum Pebo (formerly Bodum Santos) stovetop syphon is no exception to this discipline.
This vacuum brewer is the largest on this list, with an 8-cup capacity, perfect if you like to serve a crowd. Despite this, it is also the least expensive, a testament to Bodum’s spare design rather than to any lack of quality. It’s still made from high-end borosilicate glass, albeit with plastic accents.
The major cost savings comes because it lacks a heat source. This brewer is designed to be used on your stovetop.
Amazingly, the Bodum stovetop brewer does not use a cover for its top chamber, which usually isn’t a problem, unless you put in too much water.
Read our review of the Bodum Pebo.
If you are looking for something to impress, or to match your new top hat, then the Diguo Belgian Family Balance vacuum brewer is the way to go. Nothing says class and refinement like a throwback to the early days of coffee brewing.
Essentially, the Diguo is a remake of one of the first vacuum coffee makers. And while it reeks of impractical snobbish elegance, the machine actually functions just as well as most other modern vacuum coffee makers.
Of course, this gadget is the most expensive on the list, but I’m sure that comes as no surprise given its decadent design and rose-gold finish. Unlike other vacuum coffee makers, which stack one chamber on top of another, the chambers for the balance syphon are positioned next to each other. However, despite this unique design, brewing uses the same basic principles.
Unfortunately, the Diguo Syphon is not nearly as easy to tweak as other vacuum brewers, and replacement parts can be very difficult to find. It’s undeniably more for show, but it still makes darn great syphon brew!
If the DasMarine Tabletop Syphon coffee maker looks familiar, that’s because it’s an utter knock-off of the 5-cup version Hario Technica.
The advantage to this is that the design itself is very trustworthy, having been well proven by the longstanding Japanese brand. It comes in at about half the price of the Hario, and there’s a reason for this: the materials aren’t quite up to par. The glass is of lower quality, the accents are plastic, and the seals are more prone to failure with steady use.
So why would we recommend this brewer? If you’re interested in vacuum brewing and would like to add a syphon brewer to your coffee arsenal, this is a great choice. You’ll save money and still get to experience a delicious vacuum brew. On the other hand, if you plan to make vacuum coffee on a daily basis, you’re better off spending more money for something with better longevity.
THE VERDICT: What’s The Best Siphon Coffee Maker?
Although the competition was tough, I do have a clear winner: The Hario Technica.
This vacuum coffee maker is the brewer of choice for so many coffee shops because compared to its counterparts, it provides the highest and most consistent quality.
It embodies the unique design iconic to vacuum brewers without sacrificing any functionality. Additionally, that Hario Technica is well-built from superior materials, which means it does not suffer from the same sealing issues of other vacuum brewers.
Have you used any of the vacuum brewers from this list? I’m assuming you also like pour over coffee too, so check our our favourite pour over brewers here.
Siphon coffee tastes clean and full of coffee flavours, partly due to the siphon coffee maker’s glass structure. The coffee gets its rich flavour from the immersion and pressure aspects of the brewing process. The end result is cleaner than say French Press coffee due to the finer, more traditional filter. Keep in mind that the coffee grind size has a significant impact on the flavour of the coffee as well. A medium coarse coffee is best recommended for the siphon coffee maker.
Making siphon can be complicated. That’s why we recommend the KitchenAid Siphon Coffee Brewer for beginners. But if you’re up for the challenge, here’s how to do it. First, soak the filter for a minimum of five minutes in warm water and then drop it to the bottom of the coffee maker’s top filter component. Next, fill the globe pressure pot with water. Insert the top filter piece with the filter into the bottom pressure pot and then place the entire coffee maker over the heat source.
Let the water heat and measure out the appropriate coffee amount in the meantime. As the water begins to boil, vapour pressure will push the water into the top portion of the coffee maker. Now that the water has moved into the top portion, add the coffee to the water and make sure it’s submerged.
The coffee needs to sit for about a minute until you take the coffee maker off of the heat source and stir rapidly about 12 rotations to create a brisk vortex. Gravity will pull the coffee back down through the funnel into the globe pressure pot. Once it has finished filtering, remove the top portion of the coffee maker and serve. Enjoy!
The New Cory Rod is a Cory Rod optimized in size and shape for brewing coffee rather than tea. The New Cory Rod is more slender and longer in design. These filters replace the standard manufacturer’s filter in your siphon/vacuum coffee maker to improve the quality of the brew and make for an easier clean-up. Please note that these glass filters are no longer made, so finding one may be a bit of a challenge.
- Hario Syphon Technica 5 cup, Retrieved from https://harioaustralia.com.au/hario-syphon-technica-5-cup