October 12, 2018 2 min read
The siphon coffee maker, also called a vacuum coffee maker, is a manual brewing system that often gets described as unusual, strange, and even eccentric. The uninitiated even go so far as to call it complex, since its design is quite peculiar. Sure, brewing coffee with this device is a scientific process, but that doesn’t mean it’s hard to do!
The siphon coffee maker is a European invention, dating back to the early 1830s, when people were getting tired of the usually bad coffee of the time. An initial version came about thanks to a Berliner named Loeff. His invention then spread across the continent.
Like any popular invention, many of its versions can be traced back through time. One of the most striking models looks like the one we know today and was created by Mme Vassieux in 1841. Her invention included a decorative French balloon that can still be seen on some of these modern coffee makers.
The siphon coffee maker arrived in North America in the late 19th century, then started to be manufactured in the US at the beginning of the next century. This resulted in the popular Silex model that is extremely similar to what you can buy today.
The siphon coffee maker brews excellent coffee. It produces a well-rounded flavour, slightly sweet and acidic, but very tasty. What’s great about it is that you can use any coffee blend with this brewing system; it’s so well balanced that it highlights the qualities of whichever blend you use. It’s time to bust out those quality beans you picked up during your travels and brew them up!
The siphon coffee maker creates pressure with the vacuum effect. It combines total immersion (like a French press) and infusion (like a pour over).
The heat of the flame builds pressure that brings water from the bottom to the top. The blend is placed in the top part and infuses for 60 to 90 seconds. Pressure gets the coffee brewing, and once it’s ready, the flame is removed, and the vacuum effect causes the coffee to flow into the glass sphere where the water was initially.
Pour the water into the glass sphere with a kettle.
Place the upper part on the glass sphere and put the lid on.
Light the burner under the sphere.
Boiling water will evaporate into the upper part. Once all the water has moved up, pour about 34 g of medium-fine ground coffee (the same as you would use for a moka pot) into the water.
Mix the coffee gently, but enough that it’s completely submerged.
Let stand for about 90 seconds, leaving the burner on to keep the water in the top.
Turn off the burner. The coffee will start flowing into the sphere as it cools.
Remove the cover from the top.