The Siphon, or vacuum pot coffee maker, brews coffee using two chambers and the combination of pressure and a vacuum. It was invented by Loeff of Germany, Berlin in the 1830s. The Siphon has been redesigned and now is a brewing device that the specialty industry uses. It can be quite finicky but it's one of the coolest brew methods available. However, technique and coffee brewing knowledge are critical to brew a quality cup. It produces a delicate, tea-like cup of coffee when brewed properly.
Cleaning and maintaining the cloth filter
It's really important to clean the cloth filter straight after it's been used. Rinse it under running water until the majority of the ground coffee is gone. Boil some water and soak the cloth twice for about 10 minutes each time. This should remove all the coffee oils and coffee fines from the cloth. Once the cloth filter is visibly clean put it in water and place in the fridge. This keeps it from drying out and becoming brittle.
What you will need:
- Cloth filter (paper and metal filters are available)
- Cold sponge
- Wooden stirring spoon
- Halogen heat light (or a butane or gas burner)
- Soak your cloth filter in hot water for a couple of minutes. This will allow it to stretch and create a better fit while removing any unwanted flavours.
- Place the filter into the top chamber so the chain falls down the flute. Pull the chain down until you are able to attach the hook. The top chamber is now ready.
- Weigh out 21 grams of whole bean coffee. Grind the coffee to a medium grind (a little finer than table salt).
- Now place your bottom chamber (looks like a light bulb) on the scale and add 300mLs of water (filtered water if possible).
- Place your bottom chamber on your heat source. Grab the top chamber and place the flute through the bottom chamber. Secure the top chamber by pushing it down into the bottom chamber to create a firm seal.
- As the water temperature increases, the water from the bottom chamber should rise up the flute and come into the upper chamber. Target temperature for the water here is 94-96 degrees celsius. You will notice some water left in the bottom. Don’t worry about this.
- Lower your heat source a little to get your temperature stable but not too much so your water drops prematurely.
- Once the water has settled and the bubbles have stopped, add the coffee and submerge all the grounds. Try to wet all the grounds while causing minimal turbulence.
- Let it brew for 35 seconds. You can let it brew a little longer if you like.
- After the 35 seconds give the coffee a few stirs and take it off the heat source.
- The drawdown should be approximately 30-40 seconds. If the drawdown hasn’t started at 30 seconds, blow on the lower chamber.
- Remove the top chamber carefully by slowly rocking it in a circular motion until the seal is broken and it can be lifted free. Use a cold sponge or towel to do this.
- Decant the brew from the bottom chamber into another serving vessel (like a chemex or hario server) as the brew is very hot. Cooling will allow the flavours to emerge.
- Make sure to clean the siphon soon after brewing.
- After brewing, the cloth filter should be rinsed very thoroughly with hot water. Put it in water and place in the fridge (to keep it from drying out and becoming brittle).
All my methods are straightforward and simple. I hope they give you an understanding to brew better coffee to the taste you like.