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Before delving into the meat and potatoes of this article, having a good grasp of how siphon coffee makers work as well as the basic functions will serve as a great starting point. Siphon coffee makers are also known as vacuum coffee makers, so you may have heard terms like vacuum pots, vacuum brewers, and vacuum brewed coffee. Do not be surprised if you find that some of these terms are used interchangeably in this article.
Table of Contents
How Do Siphon Coffee Makers Work?
Siphon coffee makers brew or distill coffee via a process that is known as “total immersion.” This dramatic-sounding term refers to the process by which coffee grounds are in full contact with hot or boiled water throughout the entire brewing process.
Other coffee makers – such as French Press, Clever, AeroPress, etc. – also use immersion for brewing coffee. The best coffee makers out there come with the following parts:
- The Bottom Chamber: The bottom chamber is the place where the water to be used during the siphoning process is placed first. It is also the place where the final product – i.e., brewed coffee – ends up.
- The Top Chamber: The siphon tube is attached to the top chamber where the entire brewing procedure takes place.
- Sealing Material: The sealing material – usually a rubber gasket – used in most siphon coffee makers help in creating a fractional vacuum in the lower chamber
- A Filter: A filter that is made of cloth, paper, metal, or glass material
Vacuum brewers come with different heating sources for these devices will not be complete or function correctly without them. The best siphon coffee makers, however, make use of either an electric/gas stovetop or butane or alcohol burner as a heat source.
Old versions of vacuum brewers usually make use of a cloth wick alcohol burner. But this particular heat source can be extremely slow and take up too much time to heat the glass chamber and bring it to the desired temperature.
So, the best way to hasten things up is to use any small gas burner which can fit conveniently under the siphon coffee maker.
The main principle – i.e., of both contraction and contraction of water vapor or gas – that makes a vacuum pot work goes like this: a heat source is utilized by applying to the bottom chamber. The latter, in response to the heat applied to it, pushes or forces water up into the top chamber.
The top chamber contains the coffee grounds that need steeping. As the borosilicate glass of the top chamber starts to cool down, the heated water drains slowly back down to the bottom chamber. This may sound somewhat confusing, but it is not all that complicated once you get the hang of it, though it might take a few tries and experiments to get it right.
Why You Should Go for A Siphon Coffee Maker
So, why should you choose a siphon coffee maker over other types of coffee-making machines? One of the reasons is that this versatile appliance produces strong coffee in a smooth and fresh brewing system as well as with a lighter body.
It also allows users to control concentration, grind size, and even the temperature easily. These variables enhance user experience significantly. The additional convenience implies that beginners or first-time users can purchase the coffee appliance for brewing excellent coffee. Even though you may end up making a few errors due to unfamiliarity with the machine, you will learn and improve your coffee-brewing skill with time.
Here are some additional reasons why you should buy a high-quality siphon coffee maker:
Vacuum Coffee Maker Effect
Wondering why these are sometimes called vacuum coffee makers? When you apply heat to the bulb of the siphon coffee maker, a convection current develops within the device, thereby creating a vacuum. It is this vacuum that works at siphoning the coffee brew downwards into the bulb of the coffee maker through the filter.
One of the most significant advantages of the vacuum effect created when making use of a siphon coffee maker is that it compels the ground coffee to lose all its flavors more efficiently. This, in turn, produces a coffee brew that is even more aromatic and full-bodied, i.e., rich in flavors. This is one of the most remarkable features that make the vacuum brewer stand out among other varieties of coffee makers: the ability to brew coffee that tastes unique.
Total or Full Immersion
Total immersion has to do with the process in which ground coffee is in continuous contact with hot water right inside the siphon coffee maker during the brewing activity. This action ensures that the coffee flavors have a medium via which they can move away from the ground coffee with ease.
You will end up satisfied when you have an enjoyable, brewed coffee with super intense flavors. No other coffee maker draws out such deep flavors from ground coffee. Bottom line: it produces really great coffee!
Consistent or Balanced Heat All the way
Temperature is the most crucial factor when it comes to making use of a siphon coffee maker to brew coffee. The temperature has to be consistent throughout the entire brewing process. For this reason, therefore, the coffee maker needs to be one that is equipped with a top-quality and highly effective burner.
It makes no difference if the siphon coffee maker is a standalone model or a stovetop, as long as it can deliver the consistent temperature that is required to brew excellent cups of coffee. Additionally, most siphon coffee makers allow users to control the temperature to suit their preference.
At first glance, one would be tempted to think that the design of a siphon coffee maker has little to do with the taste of the brewed coffee it spews. However, it makes a lot of sense to still go for a model that has an aesthetic design.
An appealing coffee maker in the kitchen is a sight for sore eyes any day, any time. The outlook of your kitchen will be enhanced and will always bring a smile to anyone – especially coffee lovers – who enter your kitchen. What is more, it shows anyone who cares to know that you don’t joke about your coffee.
It Promotes Sensory Experience
There is nothing that awakens the senses – while piquing visual interest – than watching science and art at work. Siphon coffee makers are a pleasant sight to behold than drip coffee makers. You can watch every part of the coffee-brewing process from start to finish.
Vacuum pots can be used at home conveniently which effectively brings down the learning barrier for the average coffee drinker. You don’t need any experience or expertise to operate a siphon coffee maker. All you need to do is add both coffee and water to the appliance before flipping a switch.
It is Controllable and Highly Flexible
The siphon coffee maker is controllable, meaning that users can adjust the strength of the coffee by altering the amount of coffee that must be stirred in. Users can also brew as few or as many cups of excellent coffee as they want, depending significantly on the size of the vacuum brewer. And of course, having total control over the water temperature of the appliance is a plus as well.
Disadvantages of Siphon Coffee Makers
Siphon coffee makers are somewhat difficult to store, though putting them on display at all times should not be all that difficult. But then, many users of this appliance hardly have enough room to spare in their kitchens as it can take a sizeable portion of the work surfaces.
Storing your siphon coffee maker in a cupboard could be cumbersome since there is no 100 percent guarantee that the delicate parts of the appliance will not be broken.
Siphon coffee makers are difficult to clean, and this is partly because of the overelaborate shape as well as the different parts of the kitchen appliance.
The vacuum pot is not an appliance for starters or beginners who have never used one before. And this is because it does not come with any training wheels like the Aeropress or Clever, French Press, etc. does.
So, if you are just starting with home coffee making, it is recommended that you learn how to brew perfect cups of coffee using more straightforward brewing methods or appliances before you jump on this particular appliance.
Siphon coffee makers are pricey and cost much more than many other coffee-brewing machines.
It Takes a Lot of Time
It takes ages, up to 10 ten minutes, to get a siphon coffee maker to run or operate to brew coffee. So, if you are in a hurry, this is not the best machine to use, unless you have at least 15 minutes or more to spare.
The Gourmia siphon coffee maker is a bit quicker compared to other varieties. This is because this particular appliance operates using electricity. So, all you need to do is to plug the machine to the wall outlet, thereby speeding up the heating process extensively.
Siphon Coffee Maker: Standalone vs. Stovetop Designs
Siphon coffee makers come in two distinct designs: standalone and stovetop. Coffee brewed from a standalone vacuum pot is the same as from a stovetop siphon. The primary difference is in the location and the techniques used in brewing coffee.
Standalone siphon coffee makers are equipped with stands which raise the lower bulb of the appliance, thereby making room from one type of heat source or another. The only source of heat may be a butane or alcohol burner.
This allows users to brew coffee other places than just the stove, e.g., on a dinner table, kitchen countertop, etc. thereby boosting the aesthetic appeal of the appliance.
Stovetop siphon coffee makers can only be used on a stovetop. However, this adds little to no flair to the coffee-brewing experience while severely limiting where you can brew your favorite non-alcoholic beverage.
But then, making use of a stove allows users to have appropriate control over the level of heat that is applied.
Heat Sources: Alcohol, Halogen, Butane, Electric
When intense heat is applied to the lower bulb of a siphon coffee maker, the water boils, thereby rising to the upper chamber of the appliance and brews the coffee. Any source of heat can work with a vacuum pot. But the most effective and common devices are outlined below:
These are inexpensive burners which require users to pour some denatured alcohol into a tiny chamber, and then light a wick using a lighter. It is a hands-on appliance which creates a steady flame that is sufficient for brewing a few cups of quality coffee.
This heat source is a high-tech, super-fancy device that uses light rays to heat and boils water for brewing coffee. It is, however, pretty expensive; therefore, if you have deep pockets, it is a good one to go for.
Butane is a flammable gas that is used as fuel. Users can shoot the pressurized gas into a tiny hole situated at the bottom of the device. It is quick, clean, and there is little chance of alcohol spilling all over your kitchen countertop.
The device comes with a lever igniter which users can use to ignite the gas, and they are user-friendly. Users can also control the strength or intensity of the flame by regulating the release speed of the gas. It is also relatively pricey.
Many new siphon coffee makers are equipped with electric heaters that are somewhat akin to the heaters that come with water kettles. The electric heater is designed specifically for siphon brewing, making it easy to work time after time.
Although it works consistently, it may reduce your level of control or adjustment of the heat level. But then, heat control is not likely to be a big deal when using a vacuum brewer that comes with an electric heater.
Best Siphon Coffee Makers
The high-quality siphon coffee makers whose features will be highlighted in the next few paragraphs should give you an idea of what you need in your kitchen – and your life – as some of them are pocket-friendly. These are the best siphon coffee makers in the market today, and they are arranged in no particular order:
Hario Technica 5-Cup Siphon Coffee Maker
This Japanese-made Hario Technica 5-Cup Siphon Coffee Maker is a standalone tabletop device with a remarkable build, yet relatively affordable. This great, sturdy all-around siphon coffee maker produces high-quality brews. It comes in three versions: the 2-cup, 3-cup, and 5-cup versions. A complete set of this device includes:
- Burner cover
- Alcohol cover with holder
- Upper and lower bowl
- Measuring spoon
The Hario Technica 5-Cup Siphon Coffee Maker can brew up to 5 cups of coffee for every 570 ml of water. Although the capacity may appear somewhat average, no one doubts the quality of the coffee brew it produces.
It is highly durable, and they are built with a mixture of thick, heatproof borosilicate glass, aluminum, and brass. There is no doubt that this exceptional vacuum brewer will serve you for many years to come.
The Hario Technica 5-Cup Siphon Coffee Maker is also incredibly easy to clean, and the metal parts do not corrode no matter how long you use it. Users can also enjoy the excellent visibility of the entire coffee brewing process it offers and a delight as you watch the magic happening right before your eyes.
The stove is also user-friendly, and once you apply butane gas (some versions come with alcohol burners) to it, you are well on your way to brewing that perfect cup of morning coffee. You will not encounter any issues when it comes to refilling as it can be done within a few seconds.
What is more, you can visit the official website of the manufacturer of this great and innovative product to request and purchase a replacement in case the glass of this coffee maker breaks.
- Highly durable Japanese product
- Easy to clean
- The stand is made of aluminum and is exceptionally sturdy.
- High-quality design equipped with heatproof, high resilient borosilicate glass
- Does not take up too much space on the kitchen countertop
- Great for a gift
- Can make up to 5 cups of quality coffee
- Replaceable burner
- Not user-friendly, especially for beginners
- Maintenance of cloth filter can be hectic and inconvenient to clean
Yama Glass 8-Cup Stovetop Siphon Coffee Maker
Only a few coffee lovers can afford to splurge on expensive siphon coffee makers. And so for people who have low budgets, the Yama Glass 8-Cup Stovetop Siphon Coffee Maker is one of the best options for them.
The Yama Glass 8-Cup Stovetop Siphon Coffee Maker comes with a 40oz capacity pot and has proven to be an excellent entry coffee maker. It may not look fancy, but it inexpensive and exceptionally versatile.
The simple design of the Yama Glass 8-Cup Stovetop Siphon Coffee Maker makes it easy to operate, though users have encountered a bit of an issue with the inconsistency of the seal which results in improper drainage. The borosilicate glass used in making this kitchen appliance is resistant to heat but still more fragile than other coffee makers out there. Part of this ensemble is also made of durable plastic.
The Yama Glass 8-Cup Stovetop Siphon Coffee Maker may not score very high marks when compared with some of the premium-grade coffee makers out there or even on this list, but what makes it stand out among others is its capacity to produce 8 cups of steaming coffee per brew. Not many vacuum pots can do that, and for this reason, the Yama Glass 8-Cup Stovetop Siphon Coffee Maker is a cut above all other coffee-making appliances in its class.
As a stovetop pot, this affordable coffee maker works with stoves as well as gas and may come with wire diffusers for those who love using electric coil burners. Induction stove users may not be so lucky with this particular model of the vacuum brewer.
Although the larger brewer is sufficient and compact enough for the majority of kitchens out there, you may have to switch to the smaller 22-ounce siphon, especially if you do not brew full pots of coffee.
- Incredibly affordable, i.e., offers great value for money
- Impressive high capacity of 8 cups per brew
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Simple, compact design
- Dishwasher safe
- Not as durable as other coffee brewers
- Intolerant to high heat
- Unusable with glass rod filters which is what most coffee drinkers prefer
- Inconsistent seal
Diguo Belgian Balance Siphon Coffee Maker
The Diguo Belgian Siphon Coffee Maker is an aesthetically pleasing kitchen appliance which makes it an instant hit with many coffee lovers who set their eyes on it. It is constructed using high-grade 304 stainless steel material which is not only sturdy but also long-lasting as well along with elegant wood, and highly resilient, heatproof borosilicate glass.
The handles, as well as the stand, are made of durable wood material. The stylish design of the entire ensemble looks like something that will welcome you to a wealthy Egyptian’s or Arabian’s palatial mansion.
The only downside that puts a smear on this otherwise remarkable vacuum brewer is its low capacity, i.e., 5 cups per 500 ml. Additionally, it is not a user-friendly device and may give beginners a tough time when it comes to operating it.
Nevertheless, if what you are looking for is an authentic experience when making use of a siphon coffee maker, then the Diguo Belgian is the best option for you at this juncture.
Belgian Balance Siphon Pros
- Great value for your money
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Long-lasting and highly durable
- Genuine Egyptian-style siphon coffee maker
- Looks much more expensive than it is
- Uses alcohol which is remarkably easy to fill
- Constructed of high-grade stainless steel and heat-resistant borosilicate glass along with elegant wood
- Low capacity of 5 cups per 500 ml
- Not user-friendly. Designed for use by both intermediates and experts
Nispira Belgian Luxury Royal Siphon Coffee Maker
This gold-plated showstopper of a siphon coffee maker comes looking like something out of the 19th century. The Nispira Belgian Luxury Royal Siphon Coffee Maker is designed for people who want their coffee guests to remain perpetually in awe of this stunning beauty.
If you also want to impress your clients, this is the best vacuum brewer that will do the job of tilting things in your favor.
The Nispira Belgian Luxury Royal Siphon Coffee Maker is unquestionably one of the best, aesthetically attractive kitchen appliances in the market today. It is constructed with a combination of stainless steel, glass, and wood. All these materials provide exceptional functionalities while enhancing the beauty of this extraordinary piece.
The materials used in the construction this high-grade vacuum brewer make it easy to clean. This particular make uses an alcohol burner – to replicate the traditional, 19th-century feel – and can take up to fifteen minutes to brew a delicious cup of coffee.
The majority of modern-day vacuum pots are of the stovetop variety. But there was a time when alcohol was practically the official fuel used to power burners for brewing coffee. Each brew from this machine has a capacity for between 3-5 cups which is one of the caveats of this coffee-making product.
This implies that the Nispira Belgian Luxury Royal Siphon Coffee Maker is only suitable for users who don’t look forward to brewing a lot of coffee. It is the perfect machine for one or two people.
Although the Nispira Belgian Luxury Royal Siphon Coffee Maker comes with three cloth filters, they are not something that you really need. Besides, even if you end up using and exhausting them, you can switch over to using paper filters if there are no replacements at hand.
The Nispira Belgian Luxury Royal Siphon Coffee Maker does one thing exceptionally well: make good coffee with admirable flair. It is the best choice for those who want to impress their friends greatly but not be to press for the time whenever they brew their coffees.
- Classy look and particularly designed to impress
- Traditional look
- Made of durable stainless steel and other corrosion-resistant materials
- Produces smooth and highly refined coffee
- Intuitive to use
- Packaged well for quick shipping
- Easy to clean
- It takes considerable time to brew coffee with this otherwise stunning siphon coffee maker
- Exhausted cloth filters are not easy to replace
- Low capacity of not more than 5 cups per 500 ml of water
- The packaging looks extremely cheap compared to its content
Bodum PEBO Siphon Coffee Maker
The Scandinavian brewer company, Bodum is one of the highly recognizable household names when it comes to kitchen appliances, especially their high-quality French presses. The Bodum PEBO Siphon Coffee Maker is a welcome addition to the slew of kitchen products from this Scandinavian company.
Formerly known as Santos, the PEBO Siphon Coffee Maker has a minimal design – which appeals greatly to beginners – and cuts away all the bells and whistles that other vacuum brewers come with and presents only the bare, functional essentials.
This user-friendly, functional, and compact stovetop PEBO Siphon Coffee Maker comes with two thick, heatproof borosilicate glass chambers which allow users to keep a close eye on the entire coffee-brewing process. It is bound to ‘wow’ you and your guests, despite its simple design, nonetheless.
The product also comes with a plastic filter. To use this vacuum brewer effectively, therefore, you need to place a carafe or decanter on your kitchen stovetop. Of course, any gas or electric stovetop will be suitable as long as there is a device called a “heat diffuser” between them.
Moreover, many purists don’t like the idea of a plastic filter and subsequently stay away from the brewing process from start to finish. You can avoid this seeming irregularity by searching for and purchasing a Corey glass rod filter. However, the results you will eventually come across may vary.
The PEBO Siphon Coffee Maker also has an impressively high capacity of 8 cups per 1,000 ml of water, making it the best option to use at a dinner party that you are hosting, that is if you have no trouble overcoming the learning curve.
Each brew from this product takes approximately five to eleven minutes, and each serving is about 0.5 liter to 1 liter, i.e., 4-8 cups.
If you are not brewing lots of coffee regularly, you can make use of the smaller coffee siphon. Although the entire unit is somewhat durable, the handle may be too delicate, especially when you brew a full pot of coffee. This is why you need a decanter to assist you in pouring the hot beverage for your guests and friends.
If you need to get some spare parts – such as filters, gaskets, glass jugs, etc. – you can get them easily by visiting the company website.
- High-quality product from a reliable company
- Heat-resistant glass carafe
- High capacity of at least 8 cups per 1,000 ml in less time
- Minimal design
- Easy to clean
- The excellent seal provides consistent and top-quality brews
- Easy to separate the hopper from the bulb
- No sediments of grit left over
- Handle too flimsy and may melt unexpectedly
- The filter is made of plastic
- The product does not come with a heat diffuser included in the package
- Rubber seal ruptures easily
- Coffee produced from the product is somewhat milder than others produced by other coffee makers
Kendal Glass Tabletop Siphon Coffee Maker
The Kendal Glass Tabletop Siphon Coffee Maker is constructed beautifully and an incredibly affordable choice for those who don’t want to break the bank to get a top-notch coffee maker that uses the siphon method of brewing coffee.
This product is built with resilient heat-resistant glass that will not shatter or crack, irrespective of the amount of heat that is applied. It also has plastic for handles, but the plastic used is high-grade and extraordinarily sturdy.
The Kendal Glass Tabletop Siphon Coffee Maker makes use of alcohol for the burner, so refilling it is no problem at all. The burner itself is a reliable one that supplies consistent heat to the bulb for an optimal brewing experience.
This product is also extremely lightweight despite its pronounced durability. The only downside noted about this astonishing product is that it cannot brew more than 5 cups of coffee. So, it is the best option for you if you will not be brewing coffee for more than two individuals.
But besides this caveat, the Kendal Glass Tabletop Siphon Coffee Maker is a topnotch product.
- Great value for money without sacrificing quality in any way.
- Constructed of resilient, heat-resistant glass
- Uses a burner for thorough brewing
- The burner is easy to refill with alcohol
- Significantly maximizes a full barrel of alcohol which can brew up to ten pots of steaming delicious coffee
- Slow to brew a cup of coffee
- Requires pre-boiling of water before use
- The wick is difficult to light up since it measures ¾ inch only
- Needs extra care when in use as some parts in the upper chamber may break easily
KitchenAid KCM0812OB Siphon Coffee Maker
The KitchenAid KCM0812OB Siphon Coffee Maker is one of the most durable products out there and the best option for coffee lovers who need an appliance that is much simpler than a stovetop coffee-making machine.
The functionality and looks of this product make it outstanding, and one of the few vacuum pots that are powered by electricity. Electric-powered siphon coffee makers are easier to operate and therefore less taxing compared to others, though they are relatively rare.
All you need to do is plug it in the nearest electric socket, press a button, and watch as the appliance starts brewing like a regular coffee maker. The only difference is that KitchenAid follows all the processes that other vacuum brewers follow to produce high-quality coffee.
The unit is also well built in terms of durability and is constructed of materials such as stainless steel, heatproof glass, etc. The product will last an incredibly long time, and it is easy to maintain and clean as well.
- Unit is powered by electricity, thereby automating the process of brewing coffee
- Comes with a sturdy base that prevents the unit from turning over if it is accidentally hit
- Easy to maintain and clean
- The magnetic seal helps in securing the carafes in place
- Long-lasting and highly durable
- The unit comes with reusable stainless-steel filter along with cloth filter packs
- It is costly
- It is heavy and somewhat bulky, thereby requiring lots of countertop space
- Coffee does not stay hot for too long in the unit
Gourmia Electric Siphon Coffee Machine
The Gourmia Electric Siphon Coffee Machine is a sophisticated, digital standalone vacuum coffee maker that is powered by electricity. This 21st-century product is equipped with an electric unit that provides nearly the same convenience that drip machines offer, all with the magic of a siphon brewer.
The unit is not only visually appealing but also makes delicious coffee. The base of the product serves as the control panel and offers the option of manual or automatic brewing. The heat source is also concealed, though you may have to push a button to activate the entire process as soon as there is water in the top chamber of the unit.
Brewing coffee with this product takes at least five to seven minutes, meaning you have a fast unit in your hands that will produce coffee with a clean and great flavor. The Gourmia Electric Siphon Coffee Machine is the epitome of modern technology mixed with vintage techniques without missing a beat.
- The heat source is concealed
- Quick brew time
- All materials used in constructing the product are SGS certified
- The electric unit provides the convenience of automated brewing
- A choice between manual and automatic brewing
- Parts can be disassembled easily for quick clean-ups
- The top chamber may become extremely hot
- Small carafe brews not more than 15 oz
- Requires lots of experimentation to get perfect results
- It is not automatic since it is not one-touch. Requires user to keep pushing a button to keep the unit working
Siphon coffee makers are all about user-friendliness as well as the ability to brew great coffee. Any of the best vacuum brewers discussed in this article can get you what you need or want, depending on your preferences.
So, review the unique features of any of these siphon coffee makers carefully to find the one that fits your budget, meets your needs, and tickles your fancy! Stay Caffeinated!