Top 5: Best Siphon Coffee Makers - AKA Vacuum Pot
Siphon coffee making is not the oldest brewing method out there. It was actually invented in the 19th century. But the old way was too complicated for all but the most devoted coffee fan. Luckily, they have seen a recent resurgence thanks to some enterprising and clever companies who are committed to clean, bold coffee.
If you're looking for a new way to impress guests or want a centerpiece for your kitchen counter, consider the magical ways of the vacuum pot.
Top Rated Siphon Coffee Makers
|Siphon Coffee Maker||Heating Method||Price|
|Yama Glass Stovetop||Not Included - Stovetop|
|Bodum PEBO||Not Included - Stovetop|
|Gourmia Digital Siphon||Electric|
|Yama Glass Tabletop Ceramic||Butane Burner|
Why Choose a Vacuum Coffee Maker?
Because you have a mad scientist crush on Gale from Breaking Bad. Or because you like a little flair with your morning cup. Or just because you love a really great cup of coffee that no one else can make. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
What is it?
Unlike many of the brewing methods we cover here, the siphon setup looks foreign to even serious coffee drinkers. Unless you frequent the hipsterest of coffee shops, you might not have come across what looks like a science experiment with your favorite beans.
Even if you have seen a vacuum pot in action, you still might wonder what it's all about.
Basically, the vacuum coffee maker combines full immersion brewing with a constant heat source. It's like an upside down French Press, where gravity pulls water through the coffee instead of forcing it through..
So why use a vacuum pot?
In a typical setup, a sealed lower chamber heats water. The pressure of the water expansion forces the water (and air) up through a tube into the top chamber. Once all the water is in the upper chamber, you add coffee like you would with a French Press.
It brews for a few minutes, then the heat is shut off. The lower chamber is now a vacuum because all the water and air has been forced out. Since nature abhors a vacuum, it pulls the water (now coffee) back down through the filter as the air in the lower chamber cools.
This effect gently extracts the flavor of the coffee as the liquid flows down through the filter instead of being forced under pressure like with a plunger system.
Like in a French Press, a siphon coffee maker allows you to have all of your coffee grounds in contact with water through the entire brew time. This is the total immersion effect, and it's a lot like steeping tea.
The result is a clear, light brew that does wonders with roasts that have complex flavors. It produces a coffee experience that you can't really get in any other method, in part because of the constant heating.
Until the final step, when the heat is turned off and the coffee is pulled back into the lower chamber through the vacuum effect, the vacuum coffee maker applies constant, even heat to the water. This means no need to overheat your water. No worrying about under extraction because your water cools too quickly.
Instead, you get an even, consistent heat source that keeps you in control of the brew.
Siphon coffee makers just look cool.
Is that the main reason to buy a coffee maker? Probably not.
But if you're at all interested in having a conversation piece on your kitchen counter, or if you want to solidify your coffee street cred, then there's nothing wrong with a beautifully crafted vacuum pot that will get people talking.
How to Choose a Siphon Coffee Maker?
Since siphon brewing is a little more specialized, you're not going to run into dozens and dozens of options like you do with a drip maker or other brew systems. When you're trying to decide which vacuum pot is for you, keep the following in mind.
There are two basic kinds of siphon pot brewers: stovetop and standalone.
The first sits atop your current stove, whether it's gas or electric. The standalone versions typically have a stand and can be heated with a gas or alcohol burner (usually built-in or separate).
Stovetop versions are usually less expensive (since they don't have to incorporate the heating element). Standalone models usually have a little more style, and they aren't chained to the stovetop.
Most siphon brewers will fall into the 3-8 cups range. So you're not going to get a giant pot of coffee in the morning, but this brew method isn't really about industrial production anyway.
You're not going to throw any of these brew systems into your backseat and whip it out on a camping trip. And with all that precarious looking glass, they aren't the most kid-friendly device to have in the kitchen.
But not all brewers are made equal. Some have thicker, more durable glass. Some tend to hold up better after repeated use.
Ease of Use
For the most part, vacuum pots all operate in the same way. Some can be more finicky than others, though, so pay attention to details like hard to clean filters or wonky seals.
Let's be honest, if you didn't care at all about looks, you probably wouldn't even be considering a siphon coffee maker. Since you know that's the case, go ahead and pick one that fits your personality.
Granted, the more flair you want, the more you'll have to pay. But you already knew that.
Best Vacuum Coffee Makers
Hario Technica 5-Cup Siphon Coffee Maker
The Hario Technica is a standalone vacuum pot that provides a quality build at an affordable price. Many baristas favor the Hario for its practical and efficient design.
The seal between chambers is good quality and allows for proper draining. And while the design isn't elaborate, it still looks amazing on the counter. With alcohol burner blazing, this could easily fit into a steampunk decor.
Speaking of the alcohol burner, you might consider replacing it. While it works in a pinch, it's really too slow for normal use. Luckily, it is not attached, so you can substitute a butane burner with no problems, which is probably what your local coffee shop has done if they offer siphon brewing.
Not everyone will like the cloth filters because they can be a little inconvenient. But they are reusable and easy to toss in the laundry.
Overall, this vacuum pot is a great value and one of the higher quality systems you can find. And you can find it in a 3-cup size if you just brew for one.
Yama Glass 8-Cup Stovetop Siphon Coffee Maker
With a large, 40 oz capacity, the Yama Glass vacuum pot is an great entry-level coffee maker to introduce to the siphon system. It isn't the fanciest or most durable pot in the breakdown, but it is versatile and inexpensive.
It's simple design provides no fuss operation. Although, the seal can sometimes be inconsistent, which will lead to improper draining. The glass is heat-resistant, but it's more fragile than other higher quality brewers.
As a stovetop pot, it works with both gas and stoves and even includes a wire diffuser for electric coil burners. For those of you with induction stoves, though, you might be out of luck with this one.
The larger brewer is compact enough for most kitchens, but you might consider the smaller 22 oz siphon if you don't brew full pots.
As with the Hario, the cloth filter is a bit inconvenient, but it isn't a deal breaker.
If you want to find out what all the fuss is about siphon coffee without spending a ton, the Yama Glass brewer is an excellent option.
Bodum PEBO Siphon Coffee Brewer
While the Scandinavian brewer company is well known for its quality French Presses, they also make a dependable, no-frills siphon brewer. The minimal design is compact and functional, and it will still wow guests with its vacuum action.
This is another stovetop unit, so you will need a heat source, and you might want to get a diffuser if you don't want to put the glass directly onto an electric coil.
The unit as a whole is fairly durable, but the handle can feel a bit flimsy, especially if you brew a full pot. So be careful when pouring.
Also, the filter uses plastic, which many purists like to keep away from the brewing process. You can avoid that by searching for a Corey glass rod filter, but your results may vary.
Gourmia Electric Siphon Coffee Machine
Unlike most standalone units (which use alcohol or gas burners), the Gourmia brings vacuum coffee into the 21st century with its digital, artisanal coffee machine. The electric unit provides something close to the convenience of a drip machine with the magic of a siphon brewer.
The digital setup allows you to use an automatic setting to brew according to the preset program, which is a brew time of about 60 seconds. Or you can adjust it in manual mode for a longer or shorter brew. Unfortunately, you have to push a button to begin this process once the water is in the top chamber, so it isn't quite one-touch.
A typical brew takes just 5-7 minutes, so you'll have fast, convenient coffee that still has a great, clean flavor. And with its stylish carafe and overall design, this eletric vacuum pot looks amazing as it brews.
If you like modern technology and vintage technique, the Gourmia is the perfect marriage of the two.
Yama Glass Tabletop Ceramic 20 oz Syphon Coffee Maker w/ Butane Burner
There's a lot to like about Yama Glass's standalone siphon coffee maker. And on the surface, it should be a winner.
After all, it has a sturdy, stylish ceramic base and a nice looking three-column stand. It comes with a butane burner for fast heating. And the unit cannot be used off the stand for stovetop brewing.
Unfortunately, this brewer also has some flaws. The seal doesn't always work consistently, so you might have some problems with drainage between chambers. Also, the glass parts feel pretty thin and fragile. And it brews just 20 oz at a time, which will satisfy only the lightest coffee drinkers.
In the world of coffee, you've got your artists and your scientists. But a vacuum coffee brewer brings the best of both worlds together.
Whether you're in search of the absolute coolest looking way to make coffee or you just want a full-flavored, clean cup, a siphon coffee system could be the way to go. Unlike some brewers, they are easy to use but still leave plenty of room for bringing artisanal quality.
And they don't have to break the bank. No matter which brewer you choose, you can impress your geeky friends and your flavor connoisseurs. Just be sure to get a brewer that meets you needs. (And be careful with all that glass.)