The 3 Best Siphon Coffee Makers
At first glance, siphon coffee makers resemble something you might find in a mad scientist’s lab. And, in reality, there is some pretty cool science involved in this coffee-brewing method. But like any worthwhile kitchen gadget, they need to do more than look good. The best siphon coffee makers add style to your routine while helping you to brew a smooth, balanced cup of coffee. Here are a few things to consider while shopping.
Simply put, siphon coffee makers work by combining two common brewing methods: full immersion and filter brewing. Similar to making coffee in a French press, coffee grounds and hot water are combined. But instead of being plunged, they get passed through a metal or cloth filter via naturally-occurring vacuum pressure. Siphon coffee makers are typically constructed from heat-resistant glass that can withstand a direct flame without cracking. Some models are dishwasher-safe, but for longevity, it’s best to hand-wash all parts.
As far as operation, decide whether you prefer a countertop, stovetop, or electric model. Since the general principle of brewing is the same between them, it’s really a matter of how hands-on you like to be. Most models can brew anywhere between two and eight cups of coffee, so choose a model according to your coffee habits.
The best siphon coffee makers just might make you feel like a genius with their eye-catching design and barista-worthy brewing capabilities. Here are our top three picks.
1. The Overall Best Siphon Coffee Maker: Hario NEXT Glass 8-Cup Syphon Coffee Maker
In a slightly updated nod to early designs, the Hario NEXT is the best overall siphon coffee maker.
Employing the traditional method of heating the water over an open flame, the Hario is equipped with a small alcohol burner that rests on a silicone base to protect counters. The upper and lower chambers are constructed from heat-resistant borosilicate glass for which Hario is known (the name Hario loosely translates to “King of Glass” in Japanese), offering durability and easy cleaning. The other components, including the stand, filter, and burner, are made from stainless steel, and the handle is covered in easy-to-grip, heat-proof silicone for serving.
It’s worth noting that some reviewers found the wicks for the alcohol burner to be difficult to source and assemble, and replaced the burner with a simple tabletop butane burner like this one.
2. The Runner-Up: Bodum PEBO 8-Cup Siphon Coffee Maker
One could argue that this siphon coffee maker from Bodum lacks some of the theatrics that you get from a model that’s positioned over a small burner, but that is also what makes it so versatile.
Whether you have a gas or electric stove, the Bodum’s durable borosilicate glass heats water until vapor pressure forces the boiling water into the upper chamber to mix with coffee grounds. When removed from the heat, cooling creates a natural vacuum in the lower chamber which pulls coffee down for serving. Though it can take anywhere from five to 11 minutes to brew a cup of coffee in the Bodum, it has the capacity to prepare between four and eight cups. With few parts, the Bodum is easy to assemble, and its plastic serving handle us positioned away from the pot to protect hands.
3. The Best Electric Siphon Coffee Maker: KitchenAid 8-Cup Siphon Coffee Brewer
If you’re making the switch from an automatic drip to a siphon coffee maker, this electric model from KitchenAid would make for an easy transition. The one con: It comes at a steeper price point.
No flame or stove necessary, simply plug in the KitchenAid, and it heats your water to the precise temperature for the best-tasting extraction. Of the models featured here, this is the only one that offers the option to adjust the strength and flavor profile of your coffee by using a metal or cloth filter, or both. With relatively few parts, you won’t need to worry about getting a good seal from a gasket, since in its place there is a magnet locking the upper and lower chambers together for optimized vacuum-sealing. When it comes time to serve, the pitcher resembles a traditional drip coffee carafe with its side handle and removable lid. Included with the KitchenAid’s accessories are a cleaning brush and coffee scoop, as well as a pack of cloth filters.
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