Coffee Brewing Series 6- Siphon
Updated: Jul 18, 2019
LOVE THE WAY YOUR COFFEE TANTALIZES ALL YOUR SENSES WITH YOUR SIPHON COFFEE MAKER
The main advantage of the vacuum system is the coffee it produces, which is clean, crisp and smooth compared to other brewing systems.
HISTORY OF SIPHON
The earliest known patent for a siphon coffee brewer was filed by Loeff of Berlin in the 1830s. In 1840, a French woman who designed and patented the first commercially successful vacuum brewer named Marie Fanny Amelne Massot of Lyons, France. She is known as Mme. Vassieux, the name she used on her patent applications. Mme. Vassieux’ coffee brewer featured two glass “balloons” held by a frame. It was an ornate delight for the eyes, capped with a metal crown and featuring a spigot for serving from the bottom vessel.
The design makes it clear that the coffee maker was meant for display in a dining room or drawing room, not for making coffee in the kitchen. And for those who love little tidbits of history, there’s also a strong possibility that Mme. Vassieux was a courtesan who held court in one of the salons beloved by the French nobility and men of wealth. She had the leisure to develop her design, and the connections to have it manufactured in fairly large numbers. It is large enough that some of them are still in existence.
At about the same time as Mme. Vassieux patented her siphon brewer, a Scottish inventor named Napier was also creating a version of the vacuum pot. Napier never patented his brewer, but it was quite popular for some years, and was presented an award by The Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1856 for “exhibiting the Napier Coffee Pot and for his gratuitous entertainment of their guests with coffee” at the first meeting of the institution in Glasgow. The Naperian differed significantly from the double balloon brewer, but it operated on the same principle, which is explained in the instructions which accompanied the brewer.
Why Choose A Siphon Pot?
Do you want to drink the best cup of coffee you can each morning? If you listen to the collection of underground and specialty coffee baristas out there today, you will surely hear mention of the siphon coffee maker. Watching and listening to the brew will surely fascinate you time and time again. Watching the water rise from the bottom pot, seeing the coffee brew before your eyes, and then watching as the delicious clean brew is dispensed back into the bottom pot will leave you smiling and happy to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee every time.
This coffee maker is great in the sense that it allows you control over almost every variable of your coffee brew. Temperature, steep time, agitation, grind size, and concentration are all in your direct control and easy to see.
If you have decided that a siphon pot might be up your alley then continue reading this blog.
We will cover how to use a siphon brewer and what equipment you need to make your own!
Siphon Coffee Maker
How a Siphon Pot Works?
The design of a siphon pot is fairly simple, but at first glance it is tough to decipher how it works. Let's start with the design: two bulbs sit atop one another held by a stem. The top bulb has a large opening on top with a stem that feeds into a smaller opening on the lower second bulb. Coffee grounds are placed in the top bulb and water is placed in the lower bulb. The stem has a seal which creates a vacuum within the lower bulb holding the water, hence the name vacuum pot. At the bottom of the top bulb a filter is placed. This filter allows the water to rise though it and then subsequently releasing the brewed coffee back down into the bottom bulb.
Brewing with the siphon pot is easy in concept, but can be difficult in practice. You are in control of all the variables of your brew which is great for the experienced brewer. To brew with the siphon pot you simply place the pot on a heat source (more on heat source options later in the article) and as the water heats, it rises through the stem into the coffee grounds in the top bulb. The water and coffee are then agitated and steeped. Once the mixture is ready for draining you remove the coffee maker from the heat source and place on a cool (read non-heated) surface. The pressure change will allow the coffee to drain back down the stem into the bottom bulb. Once the coffee is brewed, you simply set the top bulb to the side and serve the coffee from the bottom bulb.
How to Use a Siphon Coffee Maker?
As we mentioned above, there are quite a few variables that go into the perfect brew when using a vacuum pot. Here we will cover the basics as well as some little tips and tricks to help you gain the most control of your end product. To get started you will need the following.
What You Need:
High Quality Coffee Beans
Siphon Coffee Maker
Heat Source or Burner
Getting it all right before you start makes your job of brewing just that much easier. Here are the steps we recommend you take before brewing:
Set up your equipment. Assemble the filter and place it in the top bulb. Have the bottom bulb ready in its stand or at the ready.
Determine how much coffee you wish to brew and the ratio of water to coffee grounds. For reference, the siphon pot normally leaves a little water behind as it heats. This means you can be left with a diluted brew if your ratio isn’t right. For a stronger brew we recommend 4 oz of water to 8 oz of ground coffee or for a weaker brew, about 6 oz of water per 8 oz of coffee.
Preheat the water. Bring your water to a boil or nearly there and then set off heat. This makes the brewing process happen quicker which makes your steep time more accurate.
Grind your coffee. If your coffee is ground too fine, it is easy to clog the filter during the extraction process. Make sure you are using a coarse grind. Something similar to what you would use in a French press is perfect, do your own experimenting and you will find the best grind for you.
You now have everything ready for brewing. Let's move on to the action.
Pour hot water into the bottom glass chamber or bulb. Sink the disc shaped filter and its attached chain by lowering it through the opening of the top chamber or hopper, securing the chain to the bottom of the funnel with a clip.
Insert the top chamber into the bottom chamber, ensuring that the bulb is dry (moisture can cause cracking). Light the burner below it and turn the flame up high.
While you’re waiting for the water to boil, measure out your ground coffee. When the water approaches boiling point, water vapor forces it into the top chamber.
Turn down the flame of the burner. While there’s still a bit of water in the bottom chamber, add the coffee grounds to the top chamber.
Stir the coffee grounds into the water until they’re completely saturated, then brew for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Extinguish the flame of the burner.
Gravity pulls the coffee and water mixture through the filter, creating a vacuum, and the bulb fills with filtered coffee.
Once the water all returns to the bottom bulb, pull the top bulb and stem out and set aside.
Serve and enjoy your delicious coffee!