Siphon Coffee Brew Guide


Vacuum brewers were designed to force water through much finer ground coffee. It was believed those days that finer ground coffee produced a tastier cup. If coffee is ground too finely, water cannot pass through it using gravity alone, and thus the force of Vacuum was used to surmount this problem.

A Siphon’s brewing dynamic is a combination of immersion and vacuum. This is essentially what makes it different from everything else.

The typical character of a Siphon brew:

Moderate body, excellent clarity, A fair amount of aromatics. Acidity in the coffee still being moderately perceptible. Allows a broad flavour profile to be extracted and perceived, and in this way, has the potential for a higher level of complexity, compared to every other alternative brew method.

Siphons have more oils and no fines.(If the traditional cotton filter is used.)Cotton filters are the best but need to be kept incredibly clean. Superfine metal mesh filters are good too( much easier to clean) but microscopic fines still find their way into the bottom chamber( over-extracting and creating astringency in the cup).This is visually noticeable.

What to use (definitely a biased opinion):

Choose fresh crop (5–7 months after harvest) high altitude (1500 masl and above), high quality varietals ( Geisha, Bourbon, Typica, SL28, etc), and also coffees that were wet-processed and light- roasted for the best results.

Dosage and directions:

Work on a coffee to water ratio of 69g coffee to 1l water.

The grind size should be somewhere between espresso and filter but a little closer to filter.

Step 1-Add water to the Siphon bottom chamber up to the desired level( In this case, for a 3-cup Yama or Hario siphon, it will be 400ml of water, which will be up to the number 3 mark)

Step 1

Step 2-Place the Siphon Bottom chamber onto a heat source with max heat. Secure the filter in the top chamber and position the top chamber at an angle in the bottom chamber. Like so-

Step 2

Step 3-Allow it to sit for a short while if necessary until you can see bubbles forming more vigorously. You’ll need to do this if your water is not close to boiling. I recommend using water just off the boil to fill the bottom chamber. It will rise faster.

Step 4- Lock Siphon top chamber into place and allow the water to rise. Once the water rises, check the temperature. Use a temperature from 90 deg C- 93 deg C to brew the coffee. If you don’t have a temperature probe, and you’re local, you can get one here.

Step 5- Weigh and grind 28g of Fresh, locally roasted coffee. Once the water temperature is right, distribute the coffee into the top chamber.

Step 5

Step 6- Stir the coffee with a plastic or bamboo paddle and make sure all the grounds are wet. Start a timer. Every 10 seconds or so, gently stir the coffee to make sure its extracting evenly. You will be able to see coffee developing at the top. Once you see a layer developing, break it up. This is important- the coffee needs to extract evenly.

Step 6

Step 7- At 45 seconds on the timer, turn off the heat source and stir the coffee 6 times around the edges so that it creates a vortex. Also, take the Siphon away from any residual heat( Depending on what heat source you use.)

Step 7

Step 8- A vacuum will get created from the contrast in temperature and the draw-down will begin, filtering the coffee into the bottom chamber. Once you see bubbles in the bottom chamber, the extraction is complete. On your timer, you should be looking for 1:45 total extraction time. (This time can be affected by the ambient temperature.)

Step 8

Step 9- Gently remove the siphon top chamber, a back-forward motion normally removes it quite easily, and place it in the stand provided.

Step 9

Step 10- Pour and enjoy. Siphon brewed coffee is best once it cools down slightly. I normally give it about 5 minutes. Or you could cheat and pour the coffee into another vessel from a height and then back again. Repeat this about ten times and it should drop the temperature by about 10 degrees C.

Step 10

Click here to buy a Siphon in South Africa.

Click here to buy a Siphon, for those who live elsewhere.

Enjoy the brews.

Until next time.

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