The siphon coffee brewing method, also known as the vacuum coffee brewing method, is at once, both old-world and new world. Originally conceived in the 1830s, this means of processing coffee has seen a resurgence around its re-adoption by Blue Bottle Coffee in Oakland, California circa 2002. That said, this process marries the use of a Bunsen burner with two glass bulbs and is similar to the Moka Pot brewing method, but without the third, albeit safer, middle chamber. The lower chamber in the siphoning method houses the water that traverses to the top chamber by way of a narrow tube upon heating, which is where it comes in contact with the coffee grounds. In order to serve, extreme care should be exercised as the device needs to be disassembled and could prove still hot to the touch.
The ideal coffee for this process, oddly, is a tea-like, or fruity, coffee. In other words, micro-farm or micro-lot coffees are ideal as are single-origins and other ‘designer’ blends.
What You’ll Need To Make Coffee In A Siphon Coffee Maker
- Heating element (i.e., Bunsen burner)
- A decent siphon coffee maker
- A grinder capable of a nice drip grind
- Single-origin and micro-lot whole bean coffees
How To Use A Siphon Coffee Maker (Step by Step)
Let’s get brewing!
- Remove the lower chamber and fill with approximately 16-ounces of water, or what would yield approximately two cups of coffee
- Take the tube and upper chamber and place on top of the now filled lower chamber
- Take entire assembly and place above heating element
- Grind approximately 20 to 25 grams of coffee to a medium coarseness and place in upper chamber once the water in the lower chamber has come to a boil
- Allow the water to siphon or vacuum upward, submerging the grounds
- Remove from heat to allow for the brewing process to complete
- As the coffee concoction cools, evaporation will draw the water down to the lower level and yield a tea-like, though complete, cup of coffee
⸙ Barista Tip: focus on lighter roasts for this method even if the drinker prefers dark or espresso beans as the vacuuming allows for the citrus notes in many small-lot coffees to become more pronounced and, thus, enjoyable
⸙ Barista Tip: tips to brew better coffee with the siphon, syphon, or vacuum brewing method are many and can include cold brewing and nitro cold brewing; before attempting either of these, take care that the rig in question is capable of handling such increases in pressure or do consider using a whipping siphon instead so as to safely capture the natural cavitation in coffee grounds
Brewing Coffee In A Siphon – Conclusion
While the siphon or vacuuming brewing method dates back to the 1830s, the latest innovations have led some to discount this processing as a show-pony means of brewing a simple cup of coffee. The investment in this method is certainly considerable, but if handled delicately can be more than a party-trick and convert unbelievers into those willing to try a process that is still not fully embraced by the masses.