How Does A Siphon Coffee Maker Work And How To Choose The Right One

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Having a perfectly brewed cup of coffee at the start of your day is an unsurpassable joy. If you are a coffee lover or know someone like you, you can surely relate to this. A good coffee machine at home will save you trips to a café.

With the availability of good coffee machines like Siphon coffee maker, it’s easy to make a café style coffee at home and relish it anytime you want. You can also be a part of this home brewing community by purchasing a good coffee maker.

How Does Siphon Coffee Makers Work?

Siphon coffee machines work on the principle of expansion and contraction of gases. It has four parts: two chambers, a heat source, and a filter. The bottom chamber, which is attached to the heat source, is filled with water. As the water heats, some of it turns into water vapor. The vacuum created by the water vapors pushes the water to the second chamber through the siphon tube that connects to the top chamber.

The top chamber is where the brewing takes place. You can add ground or powdered coffee to it.  Once the brewing is done, the burner is turned off. As the temperature lowers in the lower chamber, it creates another vacuum that pulls the brewed coffee down. The coffee drains to the bottom chamber through the filter so that you get a smooth, flavorful brew.

You can also have this fascinating brewing experience buying a Siphon coffee maker. Here’s a look at some of the considerations when purchasing it.

Stovetop Vs. Standalone

The Siphon coffee-making machine comes in two designs: stovetop and standalone. Though their functionality is different, the taste of brew you get is almost the same.

The standalone coffee maker has a stylish design featuring a fancy stand, while the stovetop coffee maker has a simple design.

Standalone coffee makers come with a built-in or separate burner positioned below the glass chamber. On the other hand, standalone coffee makers are supposed to be used on your gas or electric cooktop.

Standalone designs have an aesthetic appeal, but they are a bit more expensive than stovetop designs. As they have a heat source attached to them, you can use them anywhere you want; your dinner table, kitchen, or even porch.

Right Brew Amount

You can make 3 to 8 cups per brew in a Siphon coffee maker. So, how much coffee you need will reasonably determine the capacity of your coffee maker. A 16-ounce model will be good for 2 cups of brew, but if you want more cups, you can go for a bigger 34-ounce capacity design. For the best results from Siphon coffee machines, brew near its full capacity.  So, use your 16-ounce coffee maker to brew about 16 ounces of coffee.


Usually, there are four main types of filters—stainless steel, cloth, paper, and glass. The choice of filter depends on how you like your coffee.

Stainless steel filter– Gives a punchy aroma, a robust flavor letting minute coffee grounds and coffee oils infuse into your brew for a rich texture.

Cloth filter- A quintessential Siphon filter lets the aromatic oils reach your mug, giving you a smooth and aromatic mouthfeel. It’s the most popular one.

Paper filter —Paper filter gives a smooth and crisp flavor, a signature of siphon coffee makers.

Glass filter — It’s an innovative addition to the filter featuring numerous tiny holes. Coffee grounds and an aromatic oil give you a robust taste. It gives a rich brew just like you get from a metal filter.

Heat Source

The heat source is essential only if you are going for a standalone Siphon coffee maker. It depends on your model, as the burner you chose will be compatible with the design. Butane, gas, and alcohol are popular burners used in most models of Siphon coffee makers. However, some newer models are coming up with halogen and electric burners.

Amongst all, alcohol burner is the cheapest option, but you need to get used to managing its flame. Its steady flame is perfect for your brew, but it will end with lots of soot and spilled alcohol. Butane and halogen burner are cleaner options. They’re easy to use and leave no soot. But compared to alcohol, they are a little pricey. Electric burners give a consistent flame and are pretty much easier to use. These burners are available in the latest Siphon models.

Now, keeping all the above points in mind, you can go ahead with your Siphon coffee maker. No matter what design or burner you choose, you are going to enjoy an excellent brew.

If the price is not an issue then, the standalone siphon is an incredible thing to own. The flame burning under the glass chamber gives it a striking visual appeal. But, if the taste is your consideration, then both standalone and stovetop are ideal.