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

It’s like a vacuum cleaner, but for making coffee. Sound strange?

Check it out:

The vacuum brew coffeemaker, also known as a siphon coffee brewer, is an alternative way to make your must-have morning coffee.

Far more fashionable and flashy than it may sound at first, vacuum brewing has withstood the test of time and taste, a notable win given the highly competitive coffee industry.

With a little finesse, impress guests or simply treat your own taste buds with this high-quality home-brew method.

Who’s to thank?

The first working vacuum brewers date back to the mid 1800s. While many believe that Marie fanny Amelne Massot of Lyons, France, is to thank for the original model, a similar device appeared in Scotland not much later.

Historians still debate who is to credit for the invention.

As for the first mass-market version, Gaggia took the prize back in the mid 1940s. Gaggia’s success would prove limiting.

During the 1950s and 60s, quick-and-easy became the fad.

No matter how delicious the coffee, siphon coffee brewers lost their appeal.

The systems practically disappeared in the shadow of the drip coffee machine, which could quickly brew entire pots of coffee with just the touch of a button.

But wait:

Today, specialty coffee is back on the market, and with it, the reemergence of homebrew systems that preserve the flavor and notes of each brew.

Siphon coffee brewing can now be seen and enjoyed at coffee shops and, increasingly, homes and apartments.

Vacuum Brewing 101

There are four basic parts to a contemporary vacuum brewer, also called a vacuum pot or syphon/siphon:

  • Bottom container
  • Top container
  • Syphon tube
  • Filter

The bottom and top containers connect to one another via the syphon tube. The filter does double duty, allowing liquid and gas to pass through while keeping coffee grounds out of your cup.

You’ll also need:

A Method True to its Name

Unsurprisingly, vacuum brew coffee relies on suction to make coffee.

Here’s how this full-immersion method works:

Water is added to the bottom container. The bottom container is heated, and the heated water creates vapor.

With nowhere to go but up, the vapor makes its way through the filter to the top container. Here, coffee grounds are added to the water.

After the heat is removed, the water-coffee mixture that is now on the top container falls back through the bottom container. In the process, it passes through the filter.

The filter purifies the coffee, keeping the grinds out of your coffee mug.

Ready to start brewing?

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

To get started, assemble your syphon and then follow these six basic steps:

Step 1: Add water to the bottom container and put the heater underneath. Turn heat on high.

Step 2: After the water boils, insert the funnel that is attached to the top container.

step 2 vacuum brewing

Step 3: Vapour will begin to rise out of the bottom container, through the funnel, into the top. Use your handy thermometer to watch for 200 degrees Fahrenheit. When it reaches this temperature, add your ground coffee.

step 3 brewing

Step 4: Stir.

step 4 brewing

Step 5: After a minute or just under, remove the heat.

Step 6: Cool and enjoy!

Did you see it happen?

After your remove the heat in step number five, the magic suctioning occurs.

Without heat, the bottom container sucks back all the water, which is now coffee. The filter, nestled between the two containers, keeps grounds from travelling along for the ride.

Video: How to Brew Coffee in a Siphon Coffee Maker​

Here is a video tutorial in case you love videos 🙂

Adjust with your Technique

Vacuum-brewed coffee can be ready in just six steps, in only about six minutes.

Too good to be true?

It is, and it isn’t.

Here are four tips to keep in mind to improve your vacuum brewing technique:

  • Use 3 tablespoons of coarsely-ground coffee per 2-cup syphon.
  • Rinse the top container before using, but be careful to completely dry to avoid cracking.
  • Wait until the gas and bubble leave the grounds before removing the heat. This usually ranges from 45 seconds to one minute. Hint: Look for a clear line between the grounds and the water.
  • After you remove the heat, give the grounds one last stir as they begin the downward suction through the funnel.

Picking your Pot

Now that curiosity has won you over, it’s time to invest in your own vacuum coffee brewer.

Vacuum coffee brewers come in many different sizes, from three-cup models to eight or more.

You also have different filter options:

  • Cloth
  • Metal with mesh
  • Metal without mesh
  • Paper
  • Glass

…and more!

Want to keep it simple?

Look for a pot that comes with filters included to get a feel for the recommended option.

Narrow down the options by starting with one of these five highly-reviewed siphon coffee makers:

Yama Glass 8 Cup Stovetop
  • Capacity: 40-ounce / 8-cup
  • Material: Heat resistant borosilicate glass
  • Burner: Not included
View on Amazon →
HARIO Technica
  • Capacity: 3 cup/360 ml
  • Material: Heat resistant borosilicate glass
  • Burner: Included
View on Amazon →
Bodum Pebo
  • Capacity: 8-cup/ 34 ounces
  • Material: Heat resistant borosilicate glass
  • Burner: Not included
View on Amazon →
Yama Glass Tabletop
  • Capacity: 5-cup/ 20 ounces
  • Material: Heat resistant borosilicate glass
  • Burner: Included
View on Amazon →
KitchenAid KCM0812OB
  • Capacity: 8-cup
  • Glass construction with stainless steel accents
  • Burner: Included
View on Amazon →

Cleaning your Vacuum Brewer

Cleaning vacuum pots can be a little tricky, but it’s well worth it if you want great tasting coffee the next time you brew.

Some models come with a curved steel rod brush, ideal for cleaning narrower models. Many specialty stores will have similar brushes on hand. Regardless their original purposes, they work well for this method of cleaning.

Be careful as you scrub and rinse the various pieces. The glass top and bottom containers can easily break.

Finally:

For cloth filters, the most common choice, rinse thoroughly and store in water. Place in your refrigerator.

These steps will help you get the most out of your cloth filter’s lifespan.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions.


Dennies is the founder and editor-in-chief of Dripped Coffee. He is a trained barista who knows coffee like the back of his hand. When he's not brewing coffee, you can find him fishing or swimming.

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