Siphon brewing isn't exactly new. It's been around since the mid-1800s, and for a time during the early 1900s, it was a popular method of brewing coffee. Brewing in a coffee siphon is a complete sensory experience. It involves sight, sound, aroma, touch and taste. Whether you're looking for a showy way to end a meal or impress coffee-loving friends, brewing up a siphon pot is the way to go. They may look like something out of a mad scientist's laboratory, but they're surprisingly easy to understand and use.
Anatomy and Use of a Siphon Coffee Brewer
Siphon coffee brewers have five essential parts -- a bottom container that doubles as a serving carafe, a top container with a siphon tube, a seal, a filter and a heat source. Most siphons also have a stand of some sort because the bottom carafe is rounded. To use a siphon brewer, you fill the bottom half with water. Fit the siphon into the carafe and add ground coffee. Set the brewer over a heat source and drop the filter into place. As the water heats, it will travel up the siphon tube and spill over into the top of the brewer, mixing with the ground coffee. Once the water has moved into the top and the coffee has stepped for the desired amount of time, remove the brewer from the heat source. When the carafe cools, the pressure inside the bottom bowl drops and the brewed coffee whooshes back into the bottom bowl, which now becomes a serving carafe.
Alcohol vs. Butane vs. Halogen
All siphon brewers operate on the same basic principles, so choosing among the different styles and manufacturers has more to do with aesthetics and quality than technical differences. One thing that does make a difference with a tabletop siphon is your choice of heat source. There are three types of burners generally available: butane
, alcohol and halogen
. These are the pros and cons of each.
Be a Mad Scientist in One Easy Step
For those who really want to get the most out of a siphon brewer, we've put together our Mad Scientist kit
-- everything you need to start brewing like a mad scientist in one easy package.