Syphon Coffee Maker

What is a Syphon Coffee Maker?

The Syphon Coffee Maker is perfect for gadget-obsessed coffee gurus who enjoy controlling all elements of the brewing process. The sophisticated look of the Syphon infuses a sense of pride in your brewing and is an eye-catching accessory in your kitchen or coffee nook. Brewers love this device because they are in complete control of the water temperature, the brew time and ultimately the flavour of the coffee.

The first recorded patent (that we know of) for a Syphon Coffee Maker was filed by a Berlin man by the name of Loeff in the 1830’s. Unfortunately not much is known about Loeff and his invention. Hope was not lost though, as the first commercially successful Syphon Coffee Maker was designed and patented by Marie Fanny Amelne Massot (also known as Mme. Vassieux) in 1840 when she was living in Lyons, France. Her elaborate design truly captured the imagination of coffee lovers at the time and continues to do so today. Massot’s brewer featured two glass balloons held together by a frame and capped with a metal crown, and the coffee it produced was served from the bottom chamber spigot. This particular brewer was so popular and produced in such massive quantities that it is still possible to find units around today.

The modern Syphon Coffee Maker is styled after the design that emerged in North America once it became popular in the early 1900s. A patent for the ‘Silex’ was filed in 1910 by two sisters from Massachusetts, Mrs. Ann Bridges and Mrs. Sutton. Although it is debated whether the women actually invented the Silex - a vacuum brewer made of Pyrex glass – they did patent it, arrange it’s production and successfully marketed the device to commercial locations and little coffee locales.

The Syphon was considered a ‘theatrical’ method, with an ornate design and scientific functionality. It quickly became a centrepiece in drawing rooms and parlours, used as a deliciously entertaining after-dinner delight. In saying that, the Syphon Coffee Maker is constructed as a very scientific tool for coffee brewing, utilising the laws of physics to brew a superior pot of coffee.

The Syphon is comprised of: a bottom glass chamber which you fill with water; a top chamber with filter and vacuum tube; a frame to hold the syphon together; and a heating source (this could be a butane burner, stovetop or the more recent halogen burner). It works by heating up the water in the bottom chamber until it begins to vaporize. The water vapour builds intense pressure and pushes the water up into the top chamber. You add the coffee to the water in the top chamber and let this brew, and when you’re ready you pull the syphon away from the burner. As it starts to cool and no more vapour is being produced, the pressure will begin to drop and the coffee will start to go back down into the bottom chamber through the filter.

The Syphon Coffee Maker produces a delicate and flavour-rich brew, which can be enjoyed simply black or add a dash of milk and/or flavouring to suit your personal taste.

How to Brew Syphon Coffee

What you will need:

Brew Time:

2-3 minutes

Syphon Brewing Ratio:

25g of ground coffee for 2 cups

Syphon Brewing Instructions:

Step 1: Fill the bottom chamber of the Syphon Coffee Maker with pre-boiled water (this will make the brewing process quicker). 

syphon, brewing guide, step 1                                                                                                   syphon

Step 2: Place the filter in the top chamber, lowering the metal tail and hook down the vacuum tube and hooking it onto the end of the tube. Then sit the tube of the top chamber in the bottom chamber.

Step 3: Place the burner or beam heater under the bottom chamber of the Syphon. As the water reaches boiling point, secure the middle seal between the top and bottom. The heat will start to build pressure causing the water to slowly move to the top chamber. 

Step 4: Once the water has moved up into the top chamber, lower the heat (low flame with the burner or 3 bars on the beam heater) so that the water is just gently rolling - not boiling, as this will affect the flavour of your coffee. A small amount of water will always remain in the bottom chamber, which stops the glass from overheating and cracking.

syphon, brewing guide, step 4                                                                                                   syphon, brewing guide, step 4

Step 5: Add the ground coffee to the water (approximately 25g for a 2 cup Syphon) and gently stir the coffee to ensure full saturation. Start your timer. 

syphon, brewing guide, step 5

Step 6: At the 1-minute mark, give the coffee another quick stir to mix in the oils and flavours. 

Step 7: At 1min 45secs or 2 mins (whichever is your preferred brew time) remove the burner or turn the beam heater off, and begin to stir the coffee in a steady circular motion as it filters back down as the pressure drops. You will notice the coffee grounds form a dome as the coffee filters down.

Step 8: VERY IMPORTANT - Unhook the Syphon filter immediately to avoid any cracks in the glass as it cools. The filter can be used multiple times, so it’s best to rinse it immediately after use and store it in clean water in the fridge.

Step 9: Serve your coffee straight from the Syphon chamber. Enjoy it black or add a dash of milk to suit your personal tastes. 

syphon, brewing guide, step 7