How to brew siphon coffee

Are you ready to don your lab coat, maybe some goggles and test tubes?
You probably wont need all of that but once you start brewing siphon coffee it will definitely feel like a cool science expirement!

A brief history of siphon coffee is it has been around for ages. It used to be heavily popular in The States from the 1930's - 1950's. After that the pursuit of convenience and economy took hold and put siphon coffee in the back seat. However in the last 20 years or so siphon coffee has made a slight comeback. Probably because it tastes so good. Better than pour over coffee for sure and it looks so damn cool when you brew it. 

How Do Siphon Coffee Makers Work?

A siphon coffee maker works on the principle of expansion and contraction of gasses that allow the device to brew a full infusion style of coffee and filter the grounds efficiently, leaving behind a super clean cup of coffee!

4 parts make up a siphon coffee maker:

  1. The bottom container or vessel, or "bottom chamber" or "bottom globe" This is where the water initially sits and the brewed coffee eventually rests.
  2. Top container (or vessel, or "top chamber" or "brewing chamber" or even "siphon chamber") that has an open ended siphon tube attached to it, where the coffee brewing takes place. It's basically the vessel with the siphon tube attached to it.
  3. A type of sealing material (usually a rubber gasket) to help create a partial vacuum in the lower vessel while brewing is taking place.
  4. The filter -- i.e., glass, paper, metal, or cloth.

What you need before you get started?

  • Use fresh roasted, freshly ground coffee. There's no getting around the fact that coffee is a perishable product, and the best results in the cup come from coffee that's been roasted within the last few weeks, and is ground just before you start brewing.
  •  Use good quality coffee. You're making siphon coffee here, and store bought McCafe shit coffee isn't going to cut it. (Its true.. we tried it for comparison)
  •  Use good quality water. Some of us are blessed with having awesome tap water. Many are not. Use a Brita filter or similar to pre-filter you water before brewing. It makes up 95%+ of your coffee.
  •  A quality grinder is an absolute must. For this article, we're using a Mahlkonig GH2 Shop burr grinder.

Lets get started:

Add Your Water
Measure your water into the bottom portion of the siphon brewer, keeping in mind your ratio of 1 tablespoon of ground coffee used for every 6.5 oz of water used. You can do this with an optional scale, or by using a measuring cup.

Apply Heat
Place your burner under the bottom portion of the siphon brewer. If you're using the cloth wick alcohol burner, make sure your wick is about 5-10mm away from the bottom of the glass. Light it up (or fire up your butane burner) and let the water in the bottom globe of the siphon come to a boil.

Assemble Top Section
Insert and attach your siphon brewer's clean filter into the top glass portion. Make sure the spring catch is attached to the bottom of the siphon, and the filter is flat.

Adding Top Section to Bottom
Insert the siphon into your bottom globe, and make sure the gasket is sealed down; it doesn't have to be super firm, but make sure you create a good seal.

Add coffee
At this stage, grind your coffee. It should be a bit finer than your usual drip coffee stage. Once ground, add roughly 7g for every 100ml of brewing water you're using.

Watch it in action
If you used preheated water (or if you're using a butane burner), it won't take long for water to finish it's travel up the siphon to the top chamber, mixing with the coffee you just added; don't stir yet, but get ready to.

Time to stir the coffee
At this stage, give the top a stir with a spoon. Just a few quick stirs to incorporate the coffee into the hot water.

Start the time
Once all the water (except for what's below the bottom of your siphon) has made it to the top, you want to time your brewing time for roughly a minute and half.

Cut the heat!
Once 90 seconds has elapsed and give it one last stir.

Time for some science!
Sit back and watch science happen as the gasses in the lower vessel start to contract and phase change, thus creating a vacuum that will pull the brewed coffee through the filter back to the bottom vessel.

Remove Top Chamber & Pour
At this stage, it's time to separate the two parts of the brewer. You do so by gently rocking the top brewing chamber back and forth until you feel the seal break between it and the bottom globe. Place the brewing chamber in the included lid/stand, and pour your coffee out and enjoy! Be careful though, it's very hot, hotter than most other brewing methods.

And that's really all it is to brewing with a siphon coffee maker. If you have the time and want to pick up the equipment you will be rewarded with a great cup of coffee.

Thanks for the read and stay brewtal!