First and foremost, the siphon coffee maker is a visually stunning and mentally serene way to brew your coffee.
Secondly, almost no one uses a siphon coffee maker as their main device.
Both things are easy to understand. The process of using a siphon coffee maker is beautiful, bubbly, and warm. It's a totally unique, almost-ancient feeling way of making your favorite coffee, and the resulting cup is usually rich and full-bodied (and piping hot). The trade-off is that the preparation process is involved and the clean up is less than convenient. Still, there are many that fall in love with it, and it can be a fantastic way to break up any brewing monotony you have in your life and add in a fresh dose of appreciation for this remarkable beverage.
In our recipe below, we are using the Hario Syphon Coffee Maker, but the recipe applies to any model you have.
A QUICK SIPHON BREWING PRIMER
A siphon brewer has two chambers, an upper chamber and a lower. Siphon brewing uses heat to create vacuum pressure that effectively pulls water from the lower to the upper chamber. Once the water is in the upper chamber, ground coffee is added and brews using the full immersion method (like a French Press coffee maker). Once you hit your brew time, you remove heat, the liquid falls back to the lower chamber, and an included filter keeps ground coffee from entering your final brew.
It's a little bit like a two chambered French Press with a flame at the bottom and its own heat source.
How does coffee from a siphon coffee maker taste?
Brews from the siphon are usually full-bodied and rich, especially if you use a metal filter.
What are heat sources for a siphon coffee maker?
The three most common heat sources are a butane burner, a halogen lamp, and a candle. The butane burner is probably the most accessible of the three, and the candle is the least recommended due to the lack of heat control and very long warm up times.
Let's get brewing! And watch our Short at the bottom of the page
How to Brew Coffee with a Siphon Coffee Maker
Cook / Brew Time
This brew method results in the rich notes and heavy body that you would expect from a full immersion method. Here, we use an admittedly fancy halogen lamp to heat the water, but you can use whatever heat source you like.
PRO TIP: If you have access to a microwave or a hot water kettle, it can speed your process along to heat the water close to boiling before placing into the bottom chamber.
Siphon coffee maker (We like the Hario Next)
560mL fresh, filtered water
35 grams of coffee, ground medium to medium-coarse (1:16 ratio)
Something to stir with. Softer materials are better so you don’t ding the glass of the upper chamber
Paper filter attachment (results in cleaner tasting coffee)
Lock the filter assembly into the bottom of the top chamber and pre-wet the paper filter
Pour 560mL of water into bottom chamber and turn the burner on to high (if using Halogen or butane)
Wait for the water to rise to the top chamber then pour in your 35 grams coffee, all at once
Stir for a few seconds then let sit until 30 seconds
At 30 seconds, break the resulting crust and stir very gently
For the next 2 minutes, monitor the heat to maintain a gentle agitation in the chamber. You don’t want it bubbling too much (results in a bitter brew) or too little (might start to sink before you’re ready)
At 2:30, turn the heat down to zero or remove from heat source
Stir one last time and the brew should fall to the bottom chamber. Total brew time should be about 3 minutes.
Remove the top chamber, swirl, and serve