My Approach to Siphon Coffee Maker

I find myself a little obsessed over the siphon coffee maker as I slowly rediscovering how to make good coffee with it. I did go into discussion about this particular type of coffee brewer in my last post. Basically, what make me abandoned this coffee maker for so long is because of the clean up work that is involved after making the coffee. Be prepare to spend about 5 minutes for the proper clean up of this equiptment after using it. With that said, you are rewarded very good for your effort with this coffee maker. I was reminded by the resulting cup of coffee today of why I fell in love with this coffee maker!

I think that a siphon coffee maker is very much comparable to a manual lever espresso machine, that is it require extra attention to details and time during the brewing process but when done right, the result could be phenomenal. I find the resulting cup of coffee from a siphon coffee maker to be analogous to that of a shot from a lever espresso machine: soft mouthfeel, restrained acidity, pleasant and no overpowering notes, in another word, very very good! The coffee that I made today in the siphon coffee maker was a nice medium roasted Tarzanian Peaberry and the yama siphon coffee maker render it extremely well, I would say much better than aeropress!

I would like to go into a few fine details about the process of making coffee with this Yama siphon pot to complement the instruction that was provide in my first post. Something that is really important is regarding the capacity of the Siphon brewer. My particular unit is for making a maximum of 40 oz of coffee! While it is great for instances when you have companies over, in most case, is a a negative aspect. Similar to a drip coffee maker, the siphon is best at making close to full capacity. So if anyone are interested with siphon coffee, do yourself a favor and go for lower capacity unit. (I really want to get the 15 oz table top version but really need to find a way to rationalize that purchase :-)

However, with that said, I still do not make anywhere close to a full pot with this siphon unit; instead,  I have settle at making about 330ml of water (that is approximately 11oz of water), which bring me to another fine point regarding the siphon coffee making that is the dose of coffeee to use with a particular quantity of water. For the aeropress or the french press, I have settled with using the formula of 60 grams of coffee beans to one litter of water (for most coffee anyway). However, if I was to do the same thing with the siphon, the resultant brew is a little too weak and the mouthfeel and flavor would suffer. So, for me, I have find it is a good idea with the siphon to "updose" a little bit!

Another fine point that I have found with regard to the siphon (but I find that I'm apply this to aeropress and french press brewing as well) is aggitation during the brewing process. What I have followed before was that after adding the coffee to the hot water in the upper bowl, I would stir rather vigourously to make sure all of the coffee particles are well saturated. The before the "draw-down", I would also stir rather vigourously so at the end, I would end up with a neat cone of coffee right above the filter. However, I find that I have bitter taste in the resulting cup of coffee and  I believe it is a result of my stirring. So now,  I have settle with just gently "folding" the coffee particles so that it is visiably saturated and leave it alone. I have also done away with the stirring before the "draw-down" part. As a result, my coffee are now no longer have bitter notes!

Another thing with the yama is about the cloth filter if you decide to use it. I still use the cloth filter and boy, I can tell you that it is a pain to deal with! However, it is essential that to clean the filter well or your coffee will taste horrible (imagine, old coffee oil from previous brew will be lingering in your cup, yuk!). This is the protocol that I follow to clean the cloth filter: after brewing, clean off the spent ground, rinse carefully under the tap water, put in a little container or cup and fill with water, put in refrigerator, before brewing a new batch, put the cloth filter into a ceramic cup, fill with water and microwave it for 4 minutes. Essentially, after this boiling step, all of the old oil is gone from the filter!

I'm planning to do a video of the Siphon process, so stay tune! In the meanwhile, I must make myself another pot of Siphon coffee!

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