Many of us have become accustomed to choosing our coffee technology based on convenience and ease of use and maintenance. For everyday coffee-making, convenience usually wins. There are times, however, when it’s worth taking a little extra time to enjoy the sheer joy of the coffee-making process. This is where vacuum coffee makers, also sometimes known as siphon coffee makers or syphon coffee makers, come into their own.
The vacuum, or siphon method, of making coffee has more than a touch of the theatrical about it. It’s a gloriously ritual approach, with hints of science labs and experiments. Most of the devices available are visually extremely pleasing with small physical footprints, allowing users to enjoy the experience of making coffee. It takes a little longer than using, say, a single-serve coffee maker, but the final result is worth it.
The Best Siphon Coffee Makers of 2023Table could not be displayed.
Our Pick Of The Best Five Vacuum Coffee Makers
Our Winner: Hario Technica
You probably know we just love looking into coffee makers and all the other lovely gadgets available out there to help us, and you, make the best possible coffee. Using a vacuum coffee maker apparatus is such a joy, in so many ways, that we had a hard time choosing our favorite of these five: but we did come to a decision.
For those of you who need to read and run, or who just want to get to the nitty-gritty that much sooner, our overall favorite of the five we looked at was the Hario Technica. We were particularly impressed in terms of overall value. It looks lovely, the borosilicate glass is extremely heat-resistant, and it has a capacity of 5 small but perfectly formed cups of coffee. It’s very affordable and has a small physical footprint.
Bodum PEBO Coffee Maker Review
We always like to try out several gadgets of the same type before we decide on our overall favorite, and they all have their good points. The Bodum PEBO Coffee Maker is no exception. One of the joys of making coffee using this method is watching the coffee appear in the upper chamber, seemingly against the force of gravity, before suction pulls it back to reappear in the bottom chamber. It usually takes around ten minutes for your coffee to brew.
The machine consists of two glass chambers and a connecting tube, which combine to form a vacuum. This vacuum coffee maker has a capacity of 8 cups or around 34 fluid ounces. The brewing temperature and time are both calibrated precisely so you can be certain every cup of coffee will be just perfect.
This vacuum coffee maker ships with a scoop to allow you to measure the coffee accurately. Once the water and coffee have been added to the device and the unit sealed, the whole mechanism needs to be placed over a heat source, with a trivet or diffuser in between. One of the great features of this machine is the stay-cool handle on the carafe, so you can pour your coffee as soon as it’s ready.
Once assembled, this machine is just over 11.5 inches high. Total dimensions are 12.5 by 10.3 by 7.8 inches. It’s super light, weighing just 1.55 pounds (2.73 with shipping), and you do need to take care when handling the glass.
Pros And Cons Of The Bodum PEBO
✔ Super-effective vacuum brewing method
✔ The aroma and the oils stay sealed in until you’re ready to drink
✔ Brewing temperature and time are both calibrated to perfection
✔ You can brew up to 8 cups of coffee at once
✔ The filter is reusable many times
✔ Spare parts are readily available
✗ The cup sizes are on the small side
✗ You need a lot of trial and error to get the brewing temperature right
✗ You can’t add spices like cinnamon to your coffee – the machine will clog
Hario Technica Review
This model is our overall value favorite. Since all of the vacuum coffee makers we tried out were largely made of glass, you do need to be slightly more gentle with the components than you would be with, say, plastic, but we love the borosilicate glass that makes up this coffee maker. It’s extremely heat resistant and can brew 5 small cups at a time, around 17 to 20 ounces in total. The 3 cup mark is around 12 fluid ounces.
Not all of the Hario Technica machine is made out of glass. The upper bowl stand, alcohol lamp holder and spoon are polypropylene, and the stand is silicone rubber, a zinc alloy, iron, and stainless steel. It stands a little over 15 inches, with the total footprint 15 by 4.25 depth by 6.5 inches wide.
The item weighs 1.54 pounds, or 3 when shipping materials are taken into account. The package includes a cloth filter, measuring spoon and an alcohol burner. Learning to use an alcohol burner can take time and some coffee vacuum maker enthusiasts prefer to purchase a separate butane burner. It can take practice to get the water temperature right – around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
The cloth filter only allows the tiniest coffee particles through, for maximum aroma and taste and minimum bitterness. Rinse the filter regularly with water and a dash of very mild dish soap. Occasionally add it to one of the gentle laundry cycles in your washing machine. The components are dishwasher-safe although our personal preference involves hand-washing, using a slender bottle brush and the softest dish detergent.
Pros And Cons Of The Hario Technica
✔ The way it looks, like a really fun chemistry set
✔ The mix of materials: borosilicate heat-resistant glass, stainless steel and other metals
✔ No plastic touches the coffee or the water
✔ The handle is made of rubber
✔ Reusable filter cloth
✗ The packaging is on the flimsy side for a product with so much glass
✗ The amount of coffee you can brew at one time is quite low
Diguo Industrial Coffee Maker Review
Whether you refer to this gorgeous-looking coffee maker as Belgium or Belgian, siphon or syphon (or indeed vacuum), you’ll be bowled over by its sheer opulent beauty. It wouldn’t look out of place in a palace from the One Thousand and One Nights. We’ve already said that the Hario Technica is our best value choice, but we have to confess that we thought this one was the top performer. Even when it’s not brewing coffee, it’s just lovely to look at and a great conversation starter.
The Diguo Luxury Royal Family coffee maker comes in stunning Egyptian black and gold, it’s very easy to use, wash and keep clean, and the cloth filter can be reused for dozens, even hundreds of cups. The machine has a capacity of 17 fluid ounces or around 3 to 5 espresso cups.
This coffee maker consists of a siphon pipette and filter head, and the components are BPA-free. The brewing flask itself is made of borosilicate glass, and the rubber seals are made of medical-grade silicone.
This model ships with 2 cloth filters, coffee scoop and water measuring cup. You also get a cloth bag and tie string for the siphon. We’d suggest using medium-fine coffee grounds for the best-tasting results, and if you’re wondering about quantities, then around 1.4 ounces of coffee will give you a smooth, non-bitter beverage. The item weighs 5.88 pounds and measures 17.1 by 13.9 by 5.9 inches.
If you enjoy making a ritual out of making coffee with a touch of the theatrical, or if you’re looking for something that’s just a little bit “steampunk”, this gloriously vintage coffee maker will be a perfect addition to your home. The burner is alcohol, and we would suggest making sure you use smokeless alcohol. This was the most pricey of the devices we put to the test, but still affordable.
Pros And Cons Of The Diguo Luxury Royal Family
✔ It’s a truly beautiful device
✔ The cloth filter allows only the tiniest coffee particles through
✔ The quality of the materials used
✔ It ships with both a measuring spoon and a measuring cup for water
✔ The box contains 2 filters
✗ You need to handle the glass with delicacy and care
✗ It’s not suitable if you’re in a hurry to get your coffee
Factory Store Queen Sense Review
While the Hario was our overall top pick, and the Diguo our top performer, the Queen Sense is our best budget option. If you’re not quite sure whether coffee made via the vacuum or siphon/syphon method is for you, this is a great economical option to let you give it a try. The machine measures 13.8 by 11.9 by 7.5 inches and weighs just under 5 pounds, or 4.85 to be precise.
This machine has a capacity of around 18 fluid ounces, so you’re likely to get five to six small cups of coffee out of one brewing. This machine has a very convenient cordless design. It has a one-touch electronic temperature control as well as a “keep warm” mode.
It comes with a one year warranty and the package contains the heating element, bottom and top containers and cloth filter. You also get a lid that doubles as a stand and a long-handled spoon. This vacuum coffee maker has beautiful clean lines, with a minimalistic look to it. You still get the fun factor, and the coffee produced is smooth and delicious, even without cream and sugar.
One of the quirks of this machine is that we found it took quite a lot of practice to remove the top from the bottom as the vacuum seal really is tight. You do need to handle the glass with kid gloves, as it were. It’s also a good idea to have an oven glove or pot-holder to hand as the main pot has a glass handle.
Pros And Cons Of The Factory Store Queen Sense
✔ It’s very affordable
✔ The guarantee is great
✔ The coffee flavor is smooth, mellow and intense
✔ It has a very small physical footprint
✔ It’s so much fun to watch the coffee appearing
✗ The shipping is not very sturdy
✗ The accessories that ship with the item are a little harsh for the device
✗ The handle is made of glass
Yama Glass Review
The Yama company is particularly well-known for the quality of its glass, taking pride in its team of traditionally skilled glassblowers: components are made by hand. The borosilicate glass is non-porous and doesn’t absorb any odors or chemicals. As a result, the coffee is exceptionally smooth, rich and clean tasting.
The lovely Yama Glass 5 siphon coffee maker has a 5 cup capacity, measures 14 by 4 by 4 inches, and weighs 2.18 pounds, which increases to 3.5 with shipping. It ships with an alcohol burner. The frame is made of plastic and the mounting arm is made of metal. The stand could be a little sturdier, but you’ve probably already got the idea that being gentle with siphon technology pays dividends.
If you’re wondering exactly how the vacuum coffee system works, it’s all to do with physics. It’s the process of heating and cooling the lower container that changes the vapor pressure of the water. This results in the water being pushed up initially into the upper flask before falling back into the lower of the two vessels.
This coffee maker is compact enough to be used as a tabletop item. Like all of the machines we looked at this time, it uses a vacuum to produce coffee, as if by magic. There is something of the alchemist about the vacuum coffee maker method.
Pros And Cons Of The Yama Glass 5
✔ The borosilicate glass is hand blown
✔ It’s a sleek and minimalistic design
✔ The lid has a double life, as a siphon once your brew is ready
✔ The shipping is sturdy
✔ The components are dishwasher-safe
✗ You can’t leave it unattended while it’s brewing
✗ Depending on the type of burner you use it can be hard to remove the soot
✗ You will need to hand-wash with a bottle brush to get the flasks really clean
What Are the Advantages Of A Vacuum Coffee Maker?
Also known as siphon coffee makers, vacuum coffee makers are not for the faint-hearted or those in a hurry. That’s not to say it takes forever to produce a glorious cup of Joe with this method, but you need at least seven to ten minutes to prepare a cup of coffee. The payoff, however, is undoubtedly worth it. This offers a non-electric coffee maker approach. You just need a source of heat: butane or smokeless alcohol are the two most common fuels.
One of the major advantages is that it helps you start your day, or your holiday, or your festive occasion, with a mindful approach. This method harks back to a more elegant age. It’s possibly as close as coffee-making comes to theater, and it’s a great conversation piece. Most of all, the major advantage of making coffee via this method is that you get the aroma and flavor, but not that bitter scorched taste that can sometimes spoil brewed coffee.
Things To Look For In A Non-electric Coffee Maker
So just how do you choose the best vacuum coffee maker for your needs? Look for the very best heat-resistant borosilicate glass when you’re trying out these products, and look for machines where no plastic comes into direct contact with the coffee or water. Check the quality of the seal, and how straightforward it is to extract the carafe when you’re ready to pour.
You might also want to check out “keep warm” functions and how easy it is to monitor the brewing temperature. And depending on your approach to home décor, you might want to take into account what type of device will fit best: a flamboyant genie’s lamp or a minimalist structure that wouldn’t look out of place in a Japanese-style apartment.
What’s The Best Way To Use A Siphon Coffee Maker?
As with all devices, every manufacturer makes slightly different machines, and every coffee maker has its quirks. Making coffee with a vacuum coffee maker is a little like having a miniature and very specialized chemistry laboratory in your own home. Some aspects of using vacuum coffee makers, however, remain consistent no matter what model you’re using.
To begin with, use coffee beans that are as fresh and fragrant as possible, and as recently ground as you can get them. If you own a grinder, you can get the fineness of the beans just right. We found that medium to finely ground coffee worked best. The fresher the water you use, the better the result will be.
Add coffee grounds to the brewing flask and cold water to the vacuum flask. Before you connect the upper and lower vessels, make sure the filter is securely attached to the tube. Connect the upper and lower vessels via the tube, ensuring a tight seal between the two. Depending on the mechanism, push down the balance lever (check your instruction manual if you’re not sure). The vacuum flask should rise up.
Light the burner or make sure your heat source is turned on, then wait and watch the magic happen. Once the coffee has brewed and is in the flask, release the vacuum, serve your drink, and simply enjoy. Those who habitually add cream, sugar and other additives might like to give a neat black coffee a try for a change – they’re likely to be pleasantly surprised.
Precautions To Take
By their nature, most if not all vacuum coffee makers include a lot of glass. In our world of plastic and silicone, it’s easy to forget that glass needs a little more tender loving care than many other substances. Many vacuum coffee makers have components that are dishwasher safe, but when it comes to cleaning these machines, we like to stick with the hands-on approach, and a sink of warm water and soft detergent.
All of the models we looked at ship with an alcohol burner of some description, but there is something of a learning curve involved in getting your water to just the right brewing temperature for coffee with this method. There are alternatives, however – remember those Bunsen burners from High School Chemistry class?
If you decide you’re going to continue using vacuum or siphon coffee makers for your coffee, we’d recommend thinking about purchasing a butane gas burner. For safety, you do also need a trivet or diffuser between your vacuum coffee maker and the heat source.
What Is The Best Vacuum Coffee Maker?
Our Winner: Hario Technica
If you have enough time to make coffee using this method, then a vacuum coffee maker will make a great addition to your coffee preparation corner. They’re attractive, make great talking points, and produce gloriously smooth and mellow coffee. Due to the relatively fragile nature of the glass components, we wouldn’t suggest taking these coffee makers on vacation: they’re happiest staying in one place to be admired and used.
Vacuum coffee makers allow you to use your favorite coffee blends and the freshest of water. They provide a central point of interest and when they’re not in use they make unique and attractive ornaments. They’re relatively low maintenance and don’t require any special chemicals to keep them clean. Above all, they make coffee even more fun and have even been known to encourage the lost art of conversation – what more could anyone want?Table could not be displayed.
Hi my name is Larry, a coffee aficionado from the US. I have already visited Colombia, Sumatra, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ethiopia and Jamaica in my pursuit of finding the best-tasting coffee beans. I currently write from Bali and enjoy the relaxed life that you can only find in Canggu. Welcome to my coffee world!
Last update on 2023-06-02 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.