Siphon coffee is traditionally a brewing method done mostly by hand, requiring precise temperature, attention, and skill. The results are well worth the effort—with some experts proclaiming it’s the best you can brew—but it hasn’t been a practical way for the average busy household to make coffee until now.
KitchenAid recently released a siphon coffee maker that removes a lot of the guesswork out of the process, making it a realistic—somewhat theatrical—option for home use.
An underground movement among coffee drinkers has brought siphon brewing back into the spotlight. In fact, a San Francisco cafe recently made news for purchasing a $20,000 siphon coffee maker and serving only coffee brewed this way.
I’ve been intrigued by it for years, having written about an antique siphon coffee maker at Four Seasons Hotel Florence a few years ago, but haven’t tried to make it until now.
If you cherish a cup of perfection in the morning, this brewing method might be for you.
How a Siphon Coffee Maker Works
A siphon coffee maker has two chambers. The bottom one is filled with water. As the water is heated (usually by a burner or open flame), vapor pressure forces the water to rise into the top chamber where it mixes with coffee grounds.
Next, the heat is turned off and the loss of vapor pressure causes water to drop back into the lower chamber through a filter placed at the bottom of the upper chamber. This drop is due to gravity and a vacuum effect (which is why siphon coffee is also referred to as vacuum brewing).
The end result is fabulous coffee awaiting your cup in the bottom chamber.
Why Siphon Coffee Is Better
1. It Produces the Best Tasting Coffee
The bottom line is that believers in the method state that it tastes better. Boiling water is often accused of killing the coffee flavor and even though it may look like water is boiling in a siphon coffee maker, it’s not. It is literally just a few degrees shy of boiling.
2. It’s a Very Sensory Experience
Watching the process piques visual interest and awakens your senses more than a drip coffee maker does because you can see art and science in action.
3. Users Can Control Variables
Unlike conventional pod coffee, siphon coffee makers allow users to control coffee strength by adding in as much or little coffee grinds as they like. It’s also easy to brew multiple cups at one time, depending on how big the siphon coffee maker is.
Temperature control is one of the main reasons advocates of siphon brewing believe it’s best, but it is difficult to eyeball. KitchenAid’s version removes the guesswork behind this variable for a perfect cup every time.
4. The Coffee’s Aroma Is More Intense
The coffee’s aroma becomes trapped inside the globe mechanism which influences flavor and produces a clean, crisp and vibrant tasting coffee that can’t be replicated by a drip brewer.
5. You CAN Use One at Home
KitchenAid has developed a Siphon Coffee Brewer for use at home that removes the barriers to practicing this method of coffee making for the average person. No expertise is required. Simply add coffee and water before flipping a switch.
How the KitchenAid Siphon Coffee Brewer Works
I admit to being a little overwhelmed when first opening the box as the two chambers, a cleaning brush, filter, cloth filters, a stand for the glass globe (or brew unit) chamber and a coffee scoop were included.
But, it turns out that I was able to figure out each part’s purpose and assemble the device in just a few minutes. It is also fairly easy to use. You will need to boil the reusable cloth filter for five minutes before wrapping it around the filter device but it was no big deal.
I filled the coffee pot up with the desired amount of water and placed it on its stand. It heats water like an electric kettle does.
Place the brew unit inside the coffee pot and then twist the filter into place. Put the desired amount of coffee inside. I like my coffee relatively strong so find that two scoops per cup work for me.
Flip the switch and the water heats up rather quickly. Within a minute or two, vapor pressure causes the water to rise up into the brew unit where it mixes for a short period of time.
Next, the siphon coffee maker’s switch will flick off. The lack of vapor from the hot water (as it’s all inside the globe by this point), causes the coffee to fall back into the pot.
Your kids will totally love watching siphon coffee makers. It’s like a live science lesson and an excellent conversation piece. I am completely impressed that not a single ground enters my cup during the process and by how smooth-tasting each cup of coffee is.
Good to Know
All parts need to be quickly hand-washed. This KitchenAid Siphon Coffee Brewer fits nicely on the counter underneath my cabinets and is of a more compact size than my previous pod brewer. Like drip coffee, you’ll need to experiment a few times to find your preferred strength, but all-in-all we quite like this fancy device that would make an excellent holiday gift.
Have you tried siphon coffee? What do you think?
*This post is brought to you in partnership with Simple Edition on behalf of KitchenAid. I specifically requested a siphon brewer because I’ve always wanted to try making coffee like this myself.