At first glance, a vacuum coffee maker or siphon coffee maker looks like something that belongs in a chemistry lab instead of a kitchen. But it has actually been a highly innovative way of brewing coffee since the the 1830's. Even though it's been around for coming up on 200 years, surprisingly few coffee lovers know about it. Currently enjoying a renaissance, the vacuum coffee maker or siphon coffee maker is the epitome of elegance and simplicity. It looks great and is also arguably the best method for brewing black coffee.
How Does a Vacuum Coffee Maker Work?
The aptly-named vacuum coffee maker machines works by creating a vacuum between two chambers placed on top of each other. The bottom chamber holds the water while the top is filled with coffee grounds. When heat is applied to the bottom, the air vapor causes the water to rise into the top chamber through a tube, or siphon. When all the water has risen and is mixed with the coffee grounds in the top container, the heat is then removed and a vacuum is created. This forces the liquid back down the tube in the form of perfectly brewed coffee!
Why Do They Work so Well?
So, what about this makes it the best method for black coffee? It comes down to two key areas; taste and temperature
Unlike other coffee makers, the vacuum method creates a seal which traps all of the essential oils from the beans and captures all of the flavor and aromas within the machine. The water is in contact with the beans throughout the entire process which allows for a full extraction. The end result is the fullest flavor possible by virtue of using up all the qualities of the entire bean.
The vacuum method also creates the perfect level of heat for creating great black coffee. The air vapor is formed around 200 degrees F, so the water never reaches boiling point which can cause a loss of taste in coffee brewing. That's why many coffee lovers know that the ideal temperature for brewing your coffee is just under boiling. This also ensures that the coffee is never burnt and reduces the risk of a bitter drink.
The vacuum also means that the heat is held well while it brews and drains back down into the bottom container, giving you a hot cup of caffeinated perfection when the process is finished. This temperature is hard to maintain in other methods of brewing as the heat is usually lost in the process. Being able to maintain a consistent temperature has immediate effects on the end flavor.
Another bonus point of the vacuum coffee maker is the lack of sediment. Unlike the French press, the vacuum prevents any of the coffee grounds from ending up in the brewed coffee and provides a clear and pure drink.
If you're interested in going the fancy route when buying a vacuum coffee maker, consider Bodum's Electric Vacuum Coffee Maker which automates the heating and timer process. Aside from it looking downright cool, it also makes for an incredible full-flavored cup of coffee. For a limited time, Best Quality Coffee is offering an exclusive deal where you can get a free burr grinder with your purchase of a Bodum Vacuum Coffee Maker.
In summary, the vacuum coffee maker or siphon coffee maker is one of those tried and true brew methods that make a purist's cup of coffee while looking good doing it.