Siphon coffee brewers, aka vacuum pots, were very popular in mid-century America. Every coffee shop had a Silex or a Cory. The waiter would fill a pot with cold water, seal another pot on top of it filled with ground coffee and then put it on a hot plate. After the water got hot in the lower pot, it was forced by steam pressure into the upper pot where it mixed with the ground coffee. After the coffee had brewed, both pots were taken off of the burner. As the lower pot cooled the coffee was sucked down through a metal, cloth or glass filter. It was an excellent way to make coffee.
Siphon brewers fell out of favor in the sixties and were replaced by automatic drip brewers. Now that consumers are demanding better coffee, siphons are coming back. Siphons provide three key elements that drip brewers do not, 1) good water temperature, 2) total immersion of the grounds and 3) even extraction. In addition, there is an esthetic pleasure in actually watching the brewing process. Some restaurants have begun to serve after dinner coffee in siphon brewers, partly because of the brewing quality but primarily because of the “Wow!” factor.
There are a number of manufacturers making siphon brewers. Hario’s glass siphons are at the top of the pile. Some of the others are Yama, Bodum, Starbucks and Cona. They are all available at Amazon and specialty coffee supply houses.
You can’t push a button on a siphon brewer and go away. They have to be watched and adjusted during the brew. Failure to stay with the brewer can result in a cracked brewer and a huge mess.
You cannot expect siphon brewed coffee to taste the same as a french press or a Mr. Coffee brew. Given the same coffee beans, grind and brew time every method of coffee brewing creates its own unique coffee flavor. Siphon brews are rich in aroma and full of flavor. They tend to be cleaner and brighter than other brews.