Vac Pot: A History So Good It'll Suck You In

The Syphon, a unique looking coffee brewing method more akin to something you’d find in a mad scientist’s lab than a local coffee shop, is steeped in history. It was first patented in France in the 1930s, but gained popularity with the model created by Madame Vassieux of Lyons in 1841. An obvious coffee lover (I think we would have been friends), Madame Vassieux created the iconic standard with the two glass globes, one on top of the other. With its eye-catching structure and entertainment value, this was the first coffee method to be moved from the back of the kitchen to become the newest dining room centerpiece. The syphon went through numerous variations, including the Balancing Syphon and the Napierian Brewer. An American precedent of our currently beloved siphon was the Silex, patented by Mrs. Ann Bridges and Mrs. Sutton. Fun fact: The name “Silex” was supposedly formed by the phrase “Sanitary and Interesting method of making Luscious coffee. It is Easy to operate on account of its being X-ray transparent.” While this certainly . . . unique marketing endeavor wouldn’t necessarily tempt modern day coffee aficionados, the Silex created an increased interest in vacuum brewers in the United States and beyond. Through many more iterations, the double globe brewer came to be what it is today, and it continues to grow in popularity. If you want to learn how to make your own coffee from the syphon (and impress everyone you know), check out our step by step guide below!

Here’s What You’ll Need-

  • Crazy-awesome coffee

  • Grinder

  • Scale

  • Siphon

  • Burner

  • Timer

Estimated Brew Time

  • 2-2 ½ minutes

Brewing Method

  • Step 1- First, choose which filter fits your fancy. For the traditionalists, there is the Yama cloth filter, which needs to be soaked in a warm water bath for at least five minutes. And for those that prefer a more crisp cup to the oil bodied coffee from the cloth filter, there is a stainless metal option (a Grounds for Travel preference). Once you have selected your desired filter style, place it at the bottom of the upper, cylindrical half, known as the hopper, of the coffee vessel. Grab the metal strand and hook it to the bottom of the hopper’s glass tubing.

  • Step 2- Fill the bottom half of the vessel, otherwise known as the bulb, with 300 g of hot water. (If your awesome best friend or cool significant other is around and you want to spoil them, go ahead and fill it up to the 600 g marker for two cups).

[Pro Tip: If you want to move a little faster, and/or use less of the butane burner (aka- the spirit burner) or wick burner, pre-heat your water using a kettle.]

  • Step 3- Position the hopper with connected filter into the bulb. Be careful to not press down with too much force. You only need to be sure it is secure and evenly placed in the correct, upright position (upright position…sounds like we are on a plane. *cue tray tables*). Once you have it vertically assembled, slide your burner directly underneath so that the flame is at the bottom center of the bulb.

  • Step 4- As the water heats up, grind between 20 and 25 grams of coffee (or 40 to 50 grams if making coffee for two). The grind size should look like freshly ground pepper, or fine rock salt (not much finer than regular drip coffee).

  • Step 5- When the water begins to boil it will rise up into the hopper. Since we are not physics people, we won’t try to tell you how this happens, so join us as we are amazed by this coffee magic. *Abra-ka-da-bruh* *Ally-ka-zam* Ps- don’t worry if a little bit of water stays in the bulb, it is supposed to happen that way.

  • Step 6- Once the water has climbed mt. hopper, turn down the heat source to a gentle flame.

  • Step 7- Add your crazy-awesome coffee, and lightly integrate the coffee into the water by submerging it with a paddle or butter knife.

  • Step 8- Allow the coffee to mingle with the water molecules for 1 minute and 10 seconds. Then, in one movement, remove the heat source and stir your coffee with 10 swirls.

  • Step 9- Your coffee will find its way back into the bulb after about one more minute. You will know it has finished its tricks when there is a mound of coffee on top of the filter.

  • Step 10- Remove the hopper, serve, and enjoy!

[Pro Tip: If you are working with a Hario Syphon, the lid that attaches to the hopper works well to hold the hopper tube when placed upside down.]