Alternative Brewing Techniques - Coffee Syphon vs. Pour-over

July 02, 2011

Remember when all you needed to know about brewing coffee was how many cups your percolator held? And the latest gadget was a timer so you could set the brewing to start before your alarm went off? Those were indeed simpler days, but on the other hand, coffee has become much more enjoyable now that we can taste more nuances and experience it brewed different ways. If you’re still a little unsure about the newest coffee brewing methods, Vishnupriya Bhandaram from India has written a simple explanation of the siphon, French press and pour-over. Since the French press is fairly well-known, this discussion will focus on the siphon and pour-over. The siphon is one of the newest pots on the coffee scene. It hasn’t the familiarity of the French press. It’s also a little more mysterious in its inner workings. Comparing the siphon to a science experiment, Bhandaram explains that it works by creating a vacuum. The Japanese came up with the idea that if you heat up water in the lower compartment, the vapor will condense and brew the coffee beans, which are then filtered by the vacuum created. Even with the explanation, it’s okay to think that it’s still pretty magical, and fascinating to watch. It belongs in every home if only for its beauty and the way it manages to turn out delicious coffee, which is aromatic, lighter in texture and naturally bittersweet, according to the article. The pour-over is the latest rage and becoming popular in upscale coffee shops. Much simpler than the siphon, the author says you just pour hot water through the grounds-filled filter, right into a cup. Sounds simple but the crucial part is mastering the pouring technique, the water temperature and the grind size. The resulting extract is black and viscous with rich flavor. The right kettle and filter cone is important and can help give the preparer more control. There you go – two simple ways to make coffee with totally different results. The equipment is reasonably priced so we can all experiment with the new methods and find your favorite. Happy Brewing!



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