Siphon Coffee Brewing (Vacuum Pot) Method – The Definitive Guide

Simon Calvin
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Who’s to thank?

Who invented this method of coffee brewing?

Siphon coffee is a method of brewing that has its origins in France. It’s called “Siphon coffee” because it uses a vacuum to bring the water to a boil without ever making contact with the coffee. It’s a highly specialized method of coffee brewing and wasn’t known of outside of France for many years. The method got a big boost in popularity through the efforts of Mr. Coffee.

The first Mr. Coffee coffee maker was released in 1972. It became one of the most successful products ever, selling over 50 million units in its first 5 years on the market. The scepter of caffeine power allowed the Mr. Coffee brand to expand and extend its product offers in numerous directions.

That same year, when the Mr. Coffee product lineup launched, it brought along the Siphon Coffee Brewer as the number one selling product on the whole product line. The Siphon Coffee Brewer became Mr. Coffee’s flagship product. In this sense, the Mr. Coffee 1.5 Liter model, which is an enhanced and fully automatic version of the original Siphon Coffee Brewer, marked a turning point in coffee brewing history.

Vacuum Brewing 101

If I mention vacuum pot coffee brewing to you, you will probably think of a big-batch coffee making method that your old coffee making apparatus, the drip coffee maker, is built to handle. However, that is not the case.

In this digital world, the vacuum pot coffee maker still exists and is very much an accomplished brewer.

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A Method True to its Name

There are actually a few methods of siphon coffee brewing, and they can loosely be grouped together as vacuum pot brewing methods. The basic idea of vacuum pot coffee brewing is to create a lower pressure environment in the siphon brew chamber, which causes the brewed coffee to flow through and out from the bottom chamber, while the unused water is held at a higher pressure, so that it siphons it out from the top chamber.

The most common of these siphon coffee brewing methods is true to its name. With siphon coffee brewing, a true vacuum is created. This involves placing a tube with a lower pressure environment at the bottom of the brew chamber. The heat source is then used to heat the water and, unlike other methods which heat from the bottom, the water here is heated from the top.

Step by Step Instructions to Make Your Own Vacuum-Brewed Coffee

The Siphon Coffee Brewing Method, also known as the vacuum pot or just siphon, is an impressive coffee brewing method that enables you to craft a fine cup of coffee using simple, easy-to-find kitchen equipment.

As long as you can boil water and know how to brew coffee (and have access to a source of vacuum-brewed coffee), this method is probably among the easiest coffee brewing methods you could try. That being said, I would not introduce this method to a beginner just yet; most of the intricacies of this method are more suited for someone who has already tried his or her hand at drip and espresso.

I recommend beginners who want to give vacuum pot brewing a try start with the French press method first.

However, if you’re relatively new at home brewing coffee and you want something different from the tried-and-true methods, you may want to give vacuum-brewed coffee a try.

We always keep detailed video brewing instructions at the end of each of our detailed Coffee Brewing Guides, so if you’d rather watch a video, take a look there (keep in mind that some of our brewing guides are for relatively advanced brewing methods and not everyone may want to try those). If you’re looking to try a vacuum-brewed coffee, I’d recommend watching our vacuum brewing demo as a starting point.

Video: How to Brew Coffee in a Siphon Coffee Maker

Coffee siphon brewing is considered by many to be the ultimate coffee brewing method. In addition to being the only way to brew one cup of coffee at a time, it also makes a cup of coffee with superior taste. The taste is so unique, The New York Times has one of the coffee siphons as one of the 50 favorite things they’ve reviewed in the past 50 years.

In this article, we’ll talk about how you can brew coffee with a siphon coffee maker. A siphon coffee maker is a totally unique device. It has two independent chambers, one for brewing and one for brewing. When the two chambers are attached, the brewing process begins.

In a siphon coffee maker, there is no paper filter and no metal filter. The extraction process that you get from it is even greater than a French press. However, it brews one cup of coffee at a time, unlike a French press.

If you already have a French press coffee maker, you probably already know how convenient it is to own one. Brewing coffee with a French press doesn’t require a lot of work, and it also doesn’t require you to spend a lot of money.

Adjust with your Technique

The most important part of Siphon Coffee Brewing is to treat the coffee nicely throughout the process.

If you are not very familiar with siphon coffee brewing, we recommend you learn how to use the vacuum pot and the non-electric stove burner methods first. Simply follow the instructions I gave for each of them. Don't worry if you can't do a perfect vacuum yet. Just give your best effort and learn as you go.

If you plan to use a non-electric stove burner to heat your water, you should start the fire right before you set up the siphon.

If you are an experienced brewer, you will be able to get a nice cup of coffee in less than 5 minutes with this method.

Now that you have all the tools ready (beaker, strainer, and beaker stand), it is time to start making the coffee.

These are the most important factors to consider when preparing coffee for siphon coffee brewing.

Be sure to use fresh water. Since you will be heating the water, your coffee will get hazier.

The freshness of your coffee matters too. It will have a stronger impact on your coffee if you use high quality coffee.

It's best to use an open box of coffee. Older one may not be fresh enough.

Picking your Pot

First you should decide how much coffee you want to brew. For a single cup you will need a 1-cup pot, for 3-4 cups a 2-cup pot would be best, for 5-6 cups a 3-cup pot and so on.

You also need to decide what type of coffee maker you want. Some coffee makers are just as good as the next, but others are better equipped to make the coffee taste better.

A glass pot is probably the best to use as it’s easy to monitor the progression of the brew. It’s also easy to clean. However, glass makes it more difficult to keep all water in the vacuum pot, which is why there are aluminum pots. The aluminum makes sure the water boils quicker.

However, once the pot is full, it’s just as easy to overboil the water and mess up the taste of the final product. So maybe a glass one is the best to use after all.

Extra-fine grind is the best. As a general rule, the finer your grind, the more conserved the flavor of the coffee is. If you can use a grinder that allows you to adjust the fineness, choose the finest setting.

Cleaning your Vacuum Brewer

In order to make sure your brewer is always at its best, the siphon, filter, and chemex cone should be cleaned after each use to ensure the brew remains untainted and free of sediment.

The beauty of the siphon is that it’s essentially all-in-one. While the protruding spout is easily removed, the rubber tubing that attaches to the fragile, glass siphon does not come off. For this reason, you will not clean the entire brewer with each brew.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean your siphon brewer:

Detach the rubber tubing from the glass body

Ideally, you should start the brewing process before cleaning up. You’ll have enough time to make it through the steps below without your coffee cooling off too much. Alternatively, you can reheat it.

Tip: Use an old baby bottle or straw to extend the tubing and make cleaning the inside of the nozzle easier.

Fill the bottom half of the glass body with hot water

The siphon brewer is comprised of two nested glass cylinders. You want to make sure you are pouring hot water into the bottom half.