Siphon coffee makers offer artistic expression. They take out the boring and mundane process of everyday brewing coffee.
Besides being elaborate coffee brewers, siphons come in unique and non-traditional designs – often shaped as chemistry test tubes.
Using a vacuum coffee maker is fun, but it also requires a high level of attention to detail as well as careful technique. The reward is, of course, delicious and intense flavor coffee.
But, how do you go about picking a good siphon coffee brewer? After all, they cost more in comparison to regular machines, and there is also no lack of choice on the market.
We tested and reviewed 5 of the best siphon coffee makers the current market has to offer.
5 Best Vacuum Coffee Makers of 2018
|Yama Glass||32-ounces||Heat resistant borosilicate glass||Not Included||Gas & Electric|
|Hario Technica||10-ounces||Heat resistant borosilicate glass||Included||Alcohol|
|Diguo||17-ounces||Heat resistant borosilicate glass||Included||Gas & Electric|
|Kitchen Aid KCM0812OB ||8 cups||Glass construction with stainless steel accents||Included||Electric|
|Bodum PEBO||34-ounces||Heat resistant borosilicate glass||Included||Gas & Electric|
Now, let’s jump right into the reviews and the process that we used to determine our top choices.
The Yama is one of the highest rated siphon brewers on the market, and for a good reason. The device features an exceedingly simple design, and that’s part of the allure.
Everything about the Yama system is meticulously crafted to be as user-friendly as possible, and when it comes to vacuum brewing, that’s essential.
The product comes with its own measuring spoon for convenient pouring, and the lower chamber comes pre-marked with various measurements to help you make the exact amount of coffee you need.
The Yama siphon maker comes in two different sizes; a 32 oz. model and a smaller, 20 oz. version. As such, they can make around 6 and 4 cups of coffee, respectively.
There are larger models out there, but for most households, 32 and 20 oz is plenty. Especially if this is just used for your daily cup before work, you probably won’t find anything to complain about here.
The material used in the Yama siphon coffee maker is listed as heat-resistant borosilicate glass, which is extremely common in coffeemakers of all kinds.
The inner components are made from stainless steel, so they should last you for the life of the product with the proper care. Overall, at Coffee Dorks we agree with most user reviews that the Yama feels solid and well-constructed during use. It’s also quite pretty to look at if you ask us.
One handy little addition is that the handles on the product are heat resistant as. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burned myself on the handle of espresso makers, coffee pots, and other devices.
So, this is an extremely welcome detail in the Yama. If you’re searching for a product with some thought put into its design, you may not need to look any further.
Neither size of Yama coffee maker comes with their own burner, so both will need to be used on a stovetop.
The description provided by the manufacturer lists that it works on all types of stovetops, from electric to gas, so you shouldn’t have any issues with compatibility. We tested it on an electric one and had no issues.
The unit even comes with an additional wire diffuser, which can be used to brew coffee on an electric coil burner. All of these options add up to a very versatile little brewing device.
The Verdict: The Yama siphon coffee maker is one the simplest and yet most elegant brewing products out there on the market today. It is capable of producing a rich, smooth cup of coffee that you just can’t get with traditional brewing methods, and it’s more than capable of looking beautiful while doing it.
- Simplistic yet elegant design
- Very straightforward to use
- Great value
- Doesn’t have its own heating element
The Hario Technica is an all-in-one vacuum coffee maker that features a stunning, minimalistic look. The design of the product is based on early Japanese siphon brewers, featuring a fully-enclosed unit that is as much decoration as it is a utility.
This product is more than just good looks, however; it’s a fully-featured brewer with some serious functionality.
The Hario Technica has a 10 oz. reservoir that is capable of making up to 5 cups of coffee at a time. This is perfect for when you have a crowd over and they can’t stop staring at the thing. Simply begin the brewing process (which will mesmerize them even further) and you’re sure to have a hit on your hands!
Your guests will without a doubt love the unique taste that comes out of the machine, as well.
Hario claims that they used their own proprietary, high-quality heat-resistant glass for the Hario Technica line.
We can’t say for certain whether or not this special material is any better or more durable than any other type of borosilicate glass. This would require testing beyond our capabilities.
But, we can certainly confirm that the unit feels excellent to hold, having a nice, solid weight to it.
Unlike our top pick on this list, the Hario Technica comes with its own burner pre-installed on the bottom of the unit. This is especially cool for showmanship, as you can have coffee brewing right on your coffee table if you like, which is sure to impress your company.
Based on what reviewers have said, it only takes about 5 minutes from start to finish to be enjoying your coffee, so this unit has some excellent power behind it.
The Verdict: As of this writing, the Hario Technica featured a 78% 5-star rating on Amazon. That’s impressive, and it just serves to illustrate how much care and attention went into not only the design, but the function of the product as well.
- Comes with its own built-in heating element
- Unique looks make it a cool decoration
- Smaller capacity than other units
The Diguo Belgian is unique looking, even by vacuum coffee maker standards. Put simply, if someone walks into your home and sees this thing, they will all but certainly be asking about it.
The design itself is exquisite, featuring a larger profile than most of the other products in this guide. The coffee maker comes in four different finishes, each with their own unique flair, but the core functionality remains the same.
If you’re looking for a real conversation starter, this is it.
The central tank found on the Diguo enables it to hold up to 17 oz. of liquid, or around 3.5 cups. This isn’t as large as some other products on this list. This was not a big deal to us since we were testing the quality of the product. However, if you are making coffee for 3 or more people, you might want to consider a larger brewer.
That said, it would have been nice to see a bit more flexibility out of the unit. Regardless, if you have guests over, they probably won’t mind staring at this thing while it works its magic for another round.
In addition, medical-grade silicon rubber seals are used throughout to ensure that there are no leaks or other problems during the brewing process. All of these elements come together to create one of the most unique designs we’ve ever seen in a siphon coffee maker.
The Diguo is a self-contained unit, so it does have a burner included in the base of the device. The fancy design aside, reviewers note that the burner itself is high-quality and brews delicious coffee in just a few minutes.
The Verdict: The Diguo is an incredibly cool-looking siphon coffee brewer with some fantastic functionality behind it as well. If you don’t mind spending a bit extra, it will make an excellent addition t your kitchen.
- Incredibly unique design is a show-stopper
- Very easy to use, despite appearances
- A bit expensive
- A smaller capacity than we’d like
KitchenAid has long been a massively popular appliance company in America, and their siphon coffee brewer is no exception. This is probably the easiest vacuum brewing system to use that we’ve ever come across, and that’s saying something by today’s standards.
In addition, the unique “bulb” top is a cool, distinguishing touch, and an adjustable filter really adds to the unit’s functionality as a whole.
The manufacturer states that the KitchenAid siphon can brew up to 8 cups per serving. We found this to be slightly inaccurate and were not able to get more than 7 cups at a time.
This should be more than enough for your morning commute, and should even cover the average family of coffee drinkers in one or two goes. Because of its unique brewing process, nobody will really mind if you have to run it again.
As usual, the KitchenAid siphon utilizes a high-quality, heat-resistant borosilicate glass for its main housings. The remainder of the product is made from a durable plastic shell, and though it isn’t as ornate as some of the other brewers on this list, it definitely feels durable and solid in-hand.
The KitchenAid siphon includes its own flameless electric heating element. Interestingly, the manufacturer states that it automatically turns off once it reaches the proper temperature, adding an element of automation into the mix that makes this device even more convenient.
Other reviewers noted that it only takes about 6 minutes from start to finish to produce up to 8 cups of wonderful, aromatic coffee. Our test confirmed the timing element, but again, we only got 7 cups out of it.
The Verdict: KitchenAid has done it again, bringing the novel concept of vacuum brewing to the masses with its hyper-simplistic design and fantastic aesthetic.
- Easiest siphon coffee maker ever
- Unique bulb top is fun to watch
- Great price
- Flameless heating element is convenient
- Aside from the top, there isn’t much flash to the product
The Bodum PEBO is one of the most iconic designs to come out of Europe in the last decade, but don’t let its minimalism fool you’ this thing is capable of making a lot of fantastic-tasting coffee.
There isn’t much fluff here, especially compared to products like the Diguo, but what the PEBO does offer is a straightforward coffee brewing system that’s a joy to use.
The PEBO has a 34 oz. water reservoir, allowing it to make up to 7 cups of coffee per brew. The manufacturer mentions that this capacity was specifically chosen because it is calibrated for the perfect brewing time and temperature, leading to a better-tasting product in your mug.
Based on our tests, this appears to be true.
The usual suspects are on display here; borosilicate glass makes up the larger chambers, while heat resistant plastic is used for the main grip on the side of the device. Again, there isn’t much flash to this product, and it may blend into your countertops altogether when not in use.
That said, during the brewing process, this is as fascinating to watch as any other vacuum coffee brewer.
There’s no built-in heating element with the Bodum PEBO, so you’ll need to provide your own. Like most similar units, this one is compatible with just about every type of stovetop out there.
The manufacturer states that on most types of heat, it is capable of brewing completely in about 5 to 11 minutes, depending upon how much water you use.
The Verdict: Though it probably won’t win any awards for intricate design, the Bodum PEBO is an extremely functional siphon coffee maker that trades frills for function.
- Straightforward and easy to use
- Classic design looks and feels great
- No built-in heating element
Why Buy a Vacuum Coffee Maker?
Vacuum coffee makers offer one of the most unique coffee-brewing experiences out there. Unlike a traditional coffee pot, water is not boiled in a vacuum maker (sometimes also referred to as a siphon coffee maker).
Instead, pressurization is used to heat water to a near boil, where it is forced up and into coffee grounds, extracting the flavor of your favorite grind. It is one of those most visually-appealing ways to make coffee at home, and thanks to some modern innovations, it’s also quite easy to do so as well.
What is total immersion?
The concept of total immersion is one that has been around for hundreds of years, and the basic idea is very simple. Essentially, any brewing method that completely saturates the coffee grounds underwater is considered to be totally immersive.
Many coffee aficionados swear that these methods produce a cleaner, richer flavor than others, and some say that it’s the only way to go when it comes to getting your morning pick-me-up. In our opinion, it’s all a matter of personal preference, but the fact remains that vacuum coffee makers offer this experience in a wholly unique package.
Why Is It Called a Vacuum Coffee Maker?
Don’t get your hopes up, busy-bodies; there’s no actual vacuum attachment here that can clean the living room while your coffee brews.
The term refers to the fact that siphon coffee makers create a vacuum within their lower chamber, which in turn creates pressure when heated that pushes water up into the upper chamber where the coffee grounds are placed.
This airless environment is crucial to how a vacuum coffee maker works and is the main factor in delivering the theatrical display they are so widely known for. By today’s standards, this is definitely one of the “lost art” brewing methods that seem alien when described. You really have to see it to believe it.
When Was The Siphon Coffee Maker Invented?
Siphon coffee makers date back hundreds of years to the 1830s. Someone named Leoff of Berlin is credited with the creation of the first vacuum-based concept. But, it didn’t really take off until Marie Fanny Amelne Massot of Lyons, France and a Scottish marine engineer named Robert Napier made their own versions in the mid-1800s.
These early versions were billed as a way to avoid what many considered to be the taste-killing effects of boiling water for coffee, and they proved to be quite a hit in many places around the world.
As time went on, the massive initial hype surrounding vacuum-based brewing died down, especially in the 1960s as automatic drip coffee makers exploded in popularity.
All the same, over the last 5 years or so, there has been a huge resurgence of siphon coffee makers, both in coffee shops and homes all around the world. There’s never been a better time to get in on the action than right now!
How We Chose The Best Siphon Coffee Maker
Siphon coffee makers are highly individual and vary widely from unit to unit, so we needed to come up with a solid system for determining which models delivered the most value for your money. We ended up asking a series of questions about each unit that we reviewed, paying special attention to the details as we went.
What are the different types that we compared?
In this guide, we focused on two main types of siphon coffee makers; those with built-in heating elements, and those without. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to pay close attention to which one you’re looking at.
What kind of filters are used?
Cloth filters are very common on most models. Others use plastic systems or proprietary lifetime filters.
What kind of burners are used?
In general, two main types of burners are found on siphon makers; electric and flame.
Does the design make a difference?
That depends. If you value aesthetics at all, then having a more ornate design could be well worth the added expense. Having said that, the basic elements that make up a good siphon coffee brewer are very basic, and no amount of engineering is likely to outdo a simple, yet a well-constructed product.
Conclusion – Final Thoughts
Making coffee using a vacuum brewer is a lost art that is slowly finding its way again. For many of us, using one for the first time is a life-changing experience. Some even go on to use these types of brewing systems exclusively, finding it difficult going back to less “pure” methods like a drip machine.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.