The Best Siphon Coffee Makers

Best-Siphon-Coffee-Maker

When you first look at a siphon coffee maker, also known as a vacuum coffee maker, it looks like something from a science lab.

What does this brewing method involve, then?

Is it worth the hassle?

Siphon coffee makers first came to the fore back in the nineteenth century. They remained popular until the mid-twentieth century when they were superseded by the simplicity of the French press.

The coffee is brewed using 2 chambers where gravity and vapor pressure combine to make fantastically tasty coffee.

Usually, these chamber are located one on top of the other. Some older versions of the siphon coffee maker come with the chambers housed side-by-side in a balance arrangement.

While these coffee makers might look remarkably complex, they’re actually pretty easy to use…

Cloth filters should be soaked for at least 5 minutes before you start brewing. Pop this in and connect up your coffee maker.

Pop enough water for your coffee into the bottom bowl. This bowl is also known as the bulb.

Once this water has been pushed up to the top bowl or hopper at near-boiling point, add your coffee and allow it to steep.

As you remove everything from the heat, the coffee in the top gets sucked back down to the bottom and you’re done.

So far, so good?

This is a particularly dynamic method of making coffee and you’ll enjoy a hands-on experience. You’ll also get the chance to dial in almost every variable along the way. From water temperature to grind size to steeping time, personalize your coffee and make sure you get it the same way you like it every time.

We’ll jump straight in now with a selection of the strongest vacuum coffee makers on the market then we’ll walk you through how to buy one the easy way…


I. Top 7 Best Siphon Coffee Makers

1. Our #1 Pick: Yama Glass 8 Stovetop Coffee Siphon (Stovetop)

Yama-Glass-8-Cup-Stovetop-Coffee-Siphon

Our favorite overall siphon coffee maker comes from specialist Yama in this stovetop iteration of their classic vacuum model.

With the borosilicate glass carafe making enough coffee for 8, the Yama makes sense in large and busy households. Yama handcraft this glass as they’ve been doing for almost half a century so you’re buying into a rich tradition of master glass blowers.

Yama coffee makers are designed to stand up to some heavy punishment. They’ll even serve a turn in a commercial setting. Also, spare parts are readily available so you won’t be left needing to replace the whole thing just because a component let you down. This is infrequently the case with coffee machines.

The washable and resuable cloth filter comes included. This gives you remarkably efficient filtration while also cutting back any ongoing expenses.

One thing you should watch out for is overflowing. This is the case with all siphon coffee makers. You’re much better off staying involved with the process and not leaving the coffee at any stage during the brewing process.

If you’re looking for a flexible brewing method where you can control all variables, the Yama makes perfect sense. As long as you don’t mind putting in a little time and effort, you’ll be rewarded with outstanding coffee.

Things We Like

  • Generous 8-cup capacity enough for the whole family
  • Borosilicate glass built to last
  • Washable filter reduces ongoing running costs

Things We Dislike

  • Watch out for carafe boiling over and creating a real mess

2. Hario Technica Glass Siphon Coffee Maker (Alcohol Burner)

Hario-Technica-5-Cup-Glass-Syphon-Coffee-Maker

Lab glass specialists Hario outdo themselves with the classic Technica, a vacuum coffee maker at its finest.

Customizable, you can swap out the alcohol burner for a butane burner. The bundled alcohol burner is a little slow and it’s also lacking in terms of fine adjustability. You should bear this in mind and don’t have any illusion about racking up a pot of coffee in a hurry with this machine.

The thing is, if you’re committing to making coffee with a vacuum machine, time is unlikely to be your primary driver. As with all aspects of making a great coffee, time is key to the sweetest and smoothest finished cup.

Stainless steel complements the rugged borosilicate glass. The elegant aesthetic is a sterling example of Japanese simplicity injected with a healthy dose of tech.

Many siphon coffee makers are so tasky to clean it puts you off using them in the first place. The sweeping lines of the Technica means you can restore order in no time.

Despite coming in at the same sort of price range as the Yama, overall build quality here feels more solid.

For a real conversation piece on any countertop, you can’t beat the Hario Technica.

Things We Like

  • Completely customizable and flexible brewing method
  • Pared down design makes cleaning a cinch
  • Reusable filters so minimal running costs

Things We Dislike

  • Capacity could be improved

3. Bodum PEBO Siphon Coffee Maker (Stovetop)

Bodum-PEBO-Coffee-Maker,-Vacuum-Coffee-Maker,-Siphon-Coffee-Brewer

The Bodum PEBO is a design-led siphon coffee maker from an industry legend but what makes it so good?

You’ll get durable and heat-resistant glass carafes allowing you to take advantage of the vacuum brewing method but with surprising speed…

Many variables come into play with this brewing method but you can expect your coffee ready in anywhere from 5 to 11 minutes. At the upper end, that might seem like quite a ceremony but 5 minutes is roughly the same as you’d expect with a French press.

Depending on the size of your preferred cup, you can get anywhere from 4 to 8 coffees from your PEBO making it the perfect addition to busy households.

The simple stovetop design of this unit makes it a cinch to use even if you’ve never even considered a siphon coffee maker before.

To clear up any confusion, this line was previously known as Santos but is now referred to as the PEBO.

The same model also comes bundled with a burner and an accessory set. Roll with what makes most sense for you and start enjoying gourmet coffee the vacuum way.

Things We Like

  • Get a cup of coffee in as little as 5 minutes
  • Totally sealed unit keeps all the flavor and aroma safely locked in
  • Brews with more consistency than much of the competition

Things We Dislike

  • Relatively flimsy handle which is a disappointment

4. Yama Glass 5-Cup Tabletop Siphon with Ceramic Base (Butane Burner)

Yama-Glass-YAMCNT5-Tabletop-w/Ceramic-Base

Next up is a coffee maker ideal for anyone with deep pockets who wants something more elaborate than a French press or a single-serve machine.

The first thing that will grab you is the etched glass that manages to look both rustic and futuristic at the same time. Borosilicate and built to last, you’ll also get ceramic in the mix for a premium build throughout. The non-porous nature of the material means all the oils and flavor of the coffee stays safely trapped inside as it brews.

Alcohol burners might do the trick but they’re pretty sluggish. Yama bundles a butane burner here so you’ll get plenty of heat straight out the blocks. You should not that the burner doesn’t come topped out so make provision if you want to get going directly out the box.

You’ll get 5 large cups of coffee from this fantastic siphon.

As with all pricier coffee machines, you should analyze how much use you’ll get out of it and how much money you might save by avoiding the coffee shop. While this vacuum coffee maker is a little pricier than most of the direct competition, it still represents sound overall value.

Things We Like

  • Handcrafted with borosilicate glass and ceramic
  • Butane burner gives you rapid and even heat
  • Reusable filters to slash running costs

Things We Dislike

  • Certainly not cheap

5. KitchenAid Siphon Coffee Brewer (Electric)

KitchenAid-KCM0812OB-Siphon-Coffee-Brewer

If you like the idea of the siphon brewing method but you don’t fancy taking it on manually, this KitchenAid electric model is a must.

The full-immersion approach gives you a wonderfully extracted coffee but isn’t it all a little fiddly and time-consuming? Well, with the process automated, not really.

Magnets streamline the way this unit slots together. Stainless steel in the connecting tubing also adds some valuable strength. Where many siphon coffee makers are fragile and flimsy, the KitchenAid is anything but.

There’s a mesh filter and cloth filter included. This gives you a finish and taste roughly comparable with a French press but without the concomitant grit.

The main drawback with this vacuum coffee maker is the way the water temperature is pushed beyond boiling leading to sub-par extraction. This is to some extent mitigated by a truncated brew time but it’s still less than ideal if you’re a purist.

Other minor gripes include very limited ability to customize things and a complete absence of temperature control.

Coffee coming from this siphon machine has a bright but dry finish and you’ll get a full body and a lip-smacking depth.

With everything you need thrown in down to a cleaning brush and measuring scoop, this is siphon coffee done the easy way by a brand you can trust.

Things We Like

  • Completely automated process
  • Brew up to 8 cups of coffee so perfect for large gatherings
  • Build quality is exceptional

Things We Dislike

  • Water gets too hot

6. Nispira Belgian Luxury Balance Siphon Coffee Maker (Alcohol Burner)

Nispira-Belgian-Belgium-Luxury-Royal-Family-Balance-Syphon-Siphon-Coffee-Maker-Gold-Color

Another elaborate siphon coffee maker that coming with a slow but effective alcohol burner, this model makes a real statement. Unlike the usual arrangement of carafes sat one on top of the other, this balance version has them sat side by side on a baseboard.

In the same fashion as a more traditional siphon maker, the vacuum created works to serve up a fantastic and smooth coffee with relatively little hassle.

Not only is this coffee maker easy to use, it’s a cinch to clean, too. That, for us, is one of the real deal-breakers with any type of coffee making equipment so it’s great to see that on lock.

Be prepared to take some time over brewing, though. If you stick with the alcohol burner provided and you use cold water, you could be in for a 30-minute wait for your Joe. You’re certainly not going to get the immediacy or the convenience of a single-serve coffee machine but you will enjoy complete flexibility over every step of the brewing process.

You could consider swapping out the burner for something rather brisker and more efficient.

Things We Like

  • Exceptionally striking and intricate design without compromising function
  • Fully heat resistant glass sat on a wooden baseboard
  • Works particularly well in a traditional kitchen

Things We Dislike

  • Slightly delicate so handle with care

7. Kendal Glass Siphon (Alcohol Burner)

Kendal-Glass-Tabletop-Siphon-(Syphon)-Coffee-Maker-5-Cups

Last up in our quest for the best siphon coffee maker is this neat model from Kendal Glass.

This is a user-friendly siphon machine perfectly suited for beginners. Despite first appearances, brewing coffee with this machine couldn’t be easier and cleaning is a cakewalk, too.

As with all siphon coffee makers featuring an alcohol burner, the process is slow. If you’re looking for lots of coffee in a hurry, this is not the brewing method for you. As long as you’ve got the time to spend brewing up and dialing in every element of your coffee, the results are rewarding.

Capacity is average at 5 cups so you might want to rethink if you’ve got a large family all crying out for their caffeine fix first thing.

If you’ve been looking for an affordable entry-point into the world of siphon coffee makers, look no further than the Kendal Glass.

Things We Like

  • Outstanding price/performance ratio
  • Burner is extremely easy to refill
  • Durable and highly heat-resistant glass

Things We Dislike

  • Wick is awkward to light

OK…

With our reviews put to bed, we’ll round out with some handy hints you should keep in mind when you’re looking to buy the best vacuum coffee maker.


II. Things To Consider When Purchasing A Siphon Coffee Maker

Things-To-Consider-When-Purchasing-A-Siphon-Coffee-Maker

With the total immersion generated by a siphon coffee maker, the water remains in contact with all the grounds throughout the whole brewing process. This leads to a light and crisp brew packed with flavor.

What should you look out for when you’re on the buying trail, then?

Luckily, despite the seeming complexity of these machines, there’s actually very little you need to worry about and they’re deceptively simple to use.

  • Materials
  • Capacity
  • Standalone or Stovetop?
  • Filter
  • Burner

Materials

Glass, ideally borosilicate glass, works well for the hopper and the bulb. Make sure the glass you’re looking at is highly heat-resistant and able to stand up to a little rough and tumble.

Look for stainless steel for the stand.

Make sure that any plastic used throughout is free of BPA and all other contaminants.

When you’ve got a coffee maker made predominantly from glass and stainless, you’ll not only get longevity but also easy cleaning along the way. Get the materials right and that’s half the battle won.

Capacity

All siphon coffee makers will clearly state how many cups they’ll make and of what size.

This is something you should absolutely not overlook and you should not get wrong.

Think closely about how many people in your household drink coffee. Think, too, about how often you all want coffee at the same time. Don’t sell yourself short here and end up with a capacity too minimal for your requirements. Making coffee using this brewing method is time-consuming enough anyway. The last thing you need is to require 2 brews in the morning.

Standalone or Stovetop?

There’s no definitive answer to whether you’ll get the best results from a standalone or stovetop model.

Standalone models come with a burner onboard along with a stand.

Stovetop siphon coffee makers are designed to sit on top of your stove with a diffuser between the device and the stove to prevent the bottom chamber from cracking under direct heat.

Filter

Most siphon coffee makers come with cloth filters which work wonderfully to catch all the ground but tend to be awkward to clean.

Stainless steel filters eliminate a lot of the hassle and mess on the cleaning front.

With washable filters, you won’t need to worry about running costs beyond the coffee itself.

Burner

If you’re opting for a standalone siphon coffee maker, you’ll need to think about a burner.

These come in 3 main variants:

  • Alcohol
  • Gas
  • Butane

Alcohol burners are cheapest but take a little getting used to and cause a great deal of soot to be deposited on the bottom chamber.

Gas and butane burners are quicker and more reliable but tend to be pricier.

So…

Assuming you’ve doubled down on these elements and found the most suitable machine for your needs, how do you actually go about using it?


III. How To Use a Siphon Coffee Maker

What You Need

  • Medium to finely ground coffee
  • Hot water
  • Scale
  • Siphon coffee maker
  • Carafe

What To Do

  1. Pre-soak the cloth filter in warm water for up to 5 minutes
  2. Measure out the grounds until you get the exact strength and extraction you prefer. This stage might take some time to get dialed until at which point you should be able to easily and consistently replicate things
  3. Pop the filter in the top chamber
  4. Pull down the chain so you fix the top chamber to the bottom chamber
  5. Boil up some water to your preferred temperature and pour it into the bottom chamber
  6. Turn on your heat source or burner. You can now enjoy the spectator sport of water being pushed on up from the lower chamber thanks to the vacuum and pressure combined
  7. As the water starts to rise into the upper chamber, add your coffee grounds and then quickly stir them using a plastic spoon
  8. Allow your grounds to steep for 1 minute or more depending on precise instructions and personal preference. Swish the grounds
  9. Turn off the heat source or remove from the heat in the case of a stovetop model. Liquid remaining in the upper chamber will now gradually drain down below
  10. Remove the upper chamber completely, clean the device promptly and enjoy your coffee at its finest with far less intrusion than you might have feared

IV. Conclusion

Well, by now you should have a clear idea about whether or not the siphon brewing method is something you might consider. If you feel it’s too much hassle for too little reward, stick to the French press or other simple methods. If, on the other hand, you don’t mind investing a little time into brewing up the perfect cup of Joe, you’re in luck with a siphon coffee maker.

As long as you take a little time to think about your specific needs, there’s no reason not to pick a user-friendly siphon coffee maker for far less than you might imagine.

Despite looking pretty complicated, these vacuum coffee makers are surprisingly easy to use and maintain.

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