The Syphon coffee brewer, also known as a vacuum coffee maker, vac pot, or siphon coffee maker, was invented in the 1830s by Loeff of Berlin. The first patent was placed by Marie Fanny Amelne Massot of Lyons, France, in 1840. Over the years, the syphon brewer has evolved with patents being placed and acquired. Corning Glass Works of New York manufactured a vacuum brewer called the "Silex". Today, this unique brewer fabrication is dominated by two Japanese glass companies: Hario and Yama.
“What do you mean, Doc? All the best stuff is made in Japan.”
The Syphon is a total immersion brewer like the French Press and the AeroPress, but with a twist: it is a science experiment gone awry; simplicity of physics. And it is a very cool looking brewer, to say the least; it is meant for display, which is why this is another brewer that has a permanent home on our coffee shelf, and in our coffee lab.
While there are different brewing methods using the Syphon, this is our preferred method at Abide Culture Coffee Roasters:
Syphon brewer [5 cup]
whole bean coffee [40-45g]
*a burr grinder allows the grind to be more consistent.
Measure out 40-45g of coffee and grind it medium: about 900µm.
There are two different filters that can be used: a reusable metal filter or a reusable fabric filter [if using the fabric filter, let it soak in warm water for 5 minutes]. Each filter is attached to a metal 'spring' and pull chain. Place the filter—head side up—in the upper glass chamber, or hopper, with the tail of the chain protruding out the bottom of the channel (the stem). Pull the chain gently down and attach the hook onto the bottom of the stem. This will hold the filter in place.
NOTE: we prefer using the metal filter.
Make sure the lower glass chamber (ie: the bowl, bulb, or globe), is attached securely onto the handle of the brewer. Pour water into the globe up to the 600g mark. If you spill any water on the outside of the globe, wipe it off. The excess water can cause the globe to break.
NOTE: using already heated water will help brewing time.
Place the hopper into the globe at an angle.
There are two heat sources you can use: an alcohol burner or a butane burner. We prefer the butane burner because of the ability to increase and decrease the flame: this allows better control of the flame and minute adjustments. Light the burner and keep a nice, hot, flame upon the bottom of the globe. Once the water begins to boil, slide the hopper into an upright position so it fits into the globe. Don't force it.
A vacuum has been created because of escaping air and will "pull" the water from the globe to the hopper.
NOTE: there will be some water remnants at the bottom of the globe; this is normal.
Once the water has been pulled into the hopper, using the bamboo stir, create a whirlpool effect by stirring the water a few rotations. This will help the coffee immersion. Place the ground coffee into the whirlpool and stir a couple times allowing the coffee to submerge.
Adjust the flame and lower the heat.
Wait one minute and thirty seconds.
Remove the heat completely.
OPTION: you can stir one more time on this step if you so desire.
The liquid coffee will "draw" back down to the globe. This step takes another 90 seconds.
Pull the hopper from the top of the globe and place the stem of the hopper into the inverted lid. There is a handy-dandy stand for the hot hopper.
CAUTION: the hopper will be extremely HOT.
Pour. Sip. Enjoy.