With its unusual hourglass shape, you can see that a siphon coffee maker is both beautiful and functional, but you may be wondering “Is Siphon Coffee Better?”
French press, drip coffee makers, pour-over coffee makers, espresso machines–there are so many different ways to create a tasty cup of piping hot coffee. The siphon coffee brewer is an unusual way to brew coffee that is just now starting to appear in specialty coffee retail shops in the United States.
A siphon coffee maker extracts the flavor from the coffee beans using full immersion and filters it using vacuum pressure resulting in a crisp, clean cup of coffee with complexity like no other.
How Does It Work?
Siphon coffee is one of the most impressive ways of making good coffee. If you like to put on a show for friends as you cook for them, this is definitely the kind of coffee maker in which you should invest. The barista almost ends up with a kind of “mad scientist” appeal as the coffee is made in the siphon coffee maker.
Siphon coffee makers consist of two parts–the upper chamber, where the coffee is brewed, and the lower chamber which handles heating the water and captures the final product of perfectly brewed and filtered coffee.
Some siphon coffee makers depend on an external heat source, like a butane burner, halogen heater, alcohol burner, or even the stovetop, but others have their own built-in electric heater in the base of the bottom chamber.
When brewing siphon coffee, water is placed in the bottom chamber and the water is brought to a boil. The top chamber is sealed onto the bottom one with an airtight seal once the water begins to boil.
The boiling water travels upward into the topmost chamber where the brewer adds freshly ground coffee and stirs the mixture for a few moments while removing the heat source from the bottom chamber. As the hot water cools in the top vessel, it travels downward through a cloth filter or a paper filter to the bottom vessel where it collects as tasty, ready-to-serve brewed coffee.
Siphon coffee makers work on a couple of scientific principles. The first principle called Charles' Law is that gas expands as it gets hotter. The steam in the bottom chamber of a siphon brewer expands creating vapor pressure that forces the coffee upward into the top chamber.
The second scientific principle present in a siphon coffee maker relates to vacuums. As the bottom vessel cools and the steam contracts, it creates a vacuum that sucks the brewed coffee downward through the filter and into the bottom vessel.
Equipment Needed To Make Siphon Coffee
Siphon coffee brewers do require specialized equipment, although much of it you may already have on hand.
The siphon brewer is going to be your biggest expense when you make the switch over to this style of coffee. You can order one from Amazon or another specialty coffee retailer. Hario makes top-rated vacuum brewers, as does Yama, Kitchen Aid, and Bodum.
Whatever you choose, be sure to read reviews and choose a quality device made of high-quality glass with a stainless steel burner (if required) and a sturdy, easy-to-use stand.
You probably already have a coffee grinder, but if you don't, you will need one for making siphon coffee. You will need to grind the coffee a little finer than for drip-style coffee.
Some siphon coffee makers can be used on the stovetop, while others use a separate burner. When placing your order, you should definitely read about whether you need to order a burner to brew the coffee.
Why Should You Choose Siphon Coffee?
If you can get a great cup of coffee at your local Starbucks coffee shop, why should you even bother with learning vacuum brewing? Generally, coffee experts feel that quality coffee should never come in contact with boiling water, and that improper temperature control can give the coffee a burnt or overcooked flavor.
A vacuum coffee maker gives the brewer the ability to strictly control the temperature of the water that comes in contact with the ground coffee, and therefore, in the same amount of brew time, you can make the best-tasting coffee.
The Final Word On Is Siphon Coffee Better
Due to the fact that the coffee never comes in contact with boiling water, many coffee drinkers say that the siphon coffee maker is among the best brew methods that exist. The coffee has a superior mouthfeel and the best coffee taste.
The fact that the ground coffee experiences full immersion means that the maximum flavor is extracted from the ground coffee beans, and many coffee drinkers agree that siphon brewing is one of the best coffee experiences available.
FAQ About Is Siphon Coffee Better
Is siphon coffee strong?
Siphon coffee probably won't be considered as strong as another method of brewing, but that is mostly because it is a very “clean” cup of coffee with no muddy residue from the grounds.
It definitely has a more complex, full-bodied flavor than other brewing methods, so if you're wanting something to sip and enjoy, siphon coffee is a great choice. Coffee made in a vacuum brewer is more of a “fine wine” experience where you appreciate the various notes of the brew.
Is siphon coffee better than French press coffee?
Like many things, the answer to this question is a matter of preference. Siphon coffee makers, like the French press coffee maker, use full immersion of the coffee grounds to extract as much flavor as possible from the beans.
However, because the vacuum brewer uses pressure extraction and filtration, the cup of coffee that you get from a siphon coffee maker is much purer and clearer than French press coffee without any coffee sediment in the cup.
What is the caffeine level like in siphon coffee?
Typically, a vacuum brewed cup of coffee has a similar level of caffeine as a cup brewed in a drip coffee maker. Of course, this can vary depending on how much coffee is added to the maker or what brand of coffee beans are used.