There’s something romantic and fascinating about using siphon coffee makers. The devices themselves are works of art, the brewing process seems like magic, and the resulting coffee is smooth, juicy, and aromatic.
It’s no wonder why siphons are often considered the apex of making black coffee.
But choosing the right coffee siphon for use at home can be a challenge. There are quite a few models out there, each with their own shapes, sizes, and quirks. But you don’t need to worry—we’ve put together a list of the five things you need to consider when buying a siphon, as well as five actual brewers we recommend to make things even simpler.
And just FYI, in this post you’ll find links to the products on Amazon. I do get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Let’s hop in!
In This Guide:
- 5 Things To Consider When Buying A Coffee Siphon
- 5 Siphon Brewers We Recommend
5 Things To Consider When Buying A Coffee Siphon
Trying to interpret features from Amazon listings can be difficult, because they don’t always seem honest. Here’s a no-frills comparison of the five things you really need to know about to make an informed choice.
1. How Much Coffee Do You Want To Make?
Don’t you hate how coffee makers use ‘cups’ to communicate volume? Your cup may be bigger than mine, which makes the idea of cups pretty relative from person to person (coffee ‘cups’ are actually based on 4oz European mugs).
Here’s what those cups really mean in real-person-speak.
3 Cups — 360ml, 12oz
5 Cups — 600ml, 20oz
8 Cups — 1,000ml, 34oz
So, assuming you drink an 8oz cup of coffee…
3 Cups — 1.5 actual cups
5 Cups — 2.5 actual cups
8 Cups — 4.25 actual cups
Yup. Real confusing.
How much coffee do you really want to make each brew session?
2. Burners: The 3 Main Types
There are three main ways you can heat your water to make siphon coffee, each with its own advantages and weaknesses.
- Alcohol Burner — The least expensive method isn’t difficult at all, but it does involve pouring denatured alcohol into the burner and igniting it with a lighter, which can end up resulting in a mess if you’re a particularly clumsy person.
- Butane Burner — Butane (a gas) is easy to insert into these brewers, there’s no risk of spilling alcohol, and the burner doesn’t require lighting a match (it has an ignition switch). It’s a bit pricier, but far simpler to use.
- Electric Heater — Electric heaters do all the work for you, but they tend to be the most expensive to use. These tend to also be non-transferable from device to device, so if you were to upgrade your siphon brewer, you’d also have to upgrade your heater.
We’re partial to butane burners, but you really can’t go wrong.
3. What Kind Of Siphon Filter Is Best For You?
Most siphons use a metal frame to hold a cloth filter. This creates that smooth, aromatic flavor we love in siphon coffee. However, some people still prefer just metal mesh filters for the boosted body; some prefer regular paper filters for the crisp acidity; and others like the all-glass filters because they’re so unique.
4. Brewing On The Stove vs Standalone
Traditionally, siphons were just put on a hot stove to initiate the brewing, but these days, it’s more common to use a separate burner (alcohol, butane, or electric). It’s certainly cheaper to go with a stovetop model because you don’t have to buy a burner, but it also limits where you can brew your coffee.
So, are you interested in brewing on the counter or on the stove?
5. Design: Because Looks Really Do Matter
The siphon is a romantic, fascinating brewer, and the visual aspect is a big part of the equation. Do you like the tall, thin design of the Hario Technica or prefer the modern, bulb-style of the Yama Tabletop Siphon?
Don’t feel petty about being picky on the looks—they’re an important part of the siphon experience.
5 Siphon Brewers We Recommend
Now that you’re familiar with the five things you really need to consider, we’ll go ahead and divulge the five siphon brewer models we tend to suggest. Each of these is professionally made, as durable as they come, and capable of making stellar coffee.
- Made from premium hand-blown borosilicate glass and ceramic construction
- Yama siphon allows you to brew smooth and rich coffee just the way you intended
- Borosilicate glass is non-porous, trapping in all the flavor and essential oils for the perfect brew
- Includes a heavy duty butane burner for even and fast brewing - burner do not come filled
- Includes reusable filters and Coffee scoop
This classic tabletop siphon is simple, yet reliable. It’s Yama’s bulb-style answer to the Hario Bonmac and is a great pick for those who favor the bulb design.
Yama Stovetop – Highest Rated!
- YAMA Siphon brewed coffee produces cleaner, richer, and smoother cup of coffee by maximizing the essential oils from the brew
- Large 8 cup capacity is perfect for serving the whole family
- Vacuum technology seals in the aroma and flavors delivering on the true profile of your coffee
- Works on gas and electric rangetops; comes with wire diffuser for use on electric Coil burners (included)
- Premium hand crafted, hand blown Borosilicate Glass is non-porous and does not absorb odors or chemicals ensuring each brew is as fresh and pure as intended
Like the idea of stovetop brewing? It’s hard to beat the age-old design and simplicity of this Yama brewer. Coming in both 5 and 8-cup sizes, it’s a great option for coffee lovers of all intensities. Not to mention, it’s quite affordable.
Since the Bonmac has seemingly gone out of production, we recommend Hario’s NEXT instead. At 5 cups, this is slightly bigger and sports a more modern aesthetic and a silicon handle.
- Upper bowl, lower bowl and burner are made of the best heat resistant borosilicate glass from Hario
- Stand, burner cover, and filter are made of stainless steel; stand handle has silicone cover
- Item dimmensions are: 15"H x 7"W x 4.5"L; 5-cup capacity
- Fasteners are made of brass; windbreak is made of aluminum
- Imported from Japan
- Automated full immersion siphon brewing delivered through precise temperature and vacuum technology.
- Brew unit stand securely holds brew unit once brewing is complete.
- Flavor Profile: Bright and rich with a clean finish.
- Premium glass construction with stainless steel accents.
- Magnetic locking seal securely fastens the brew unit and carafe together.
This full-electric siphon automates the most difficult parts of making siphon coffee. It’s a pretty impressive piece of gear. Some people think it takes the fun and craftsmanship out of brewing siphon coffee, but others just enjoy the simplicity.
- Made of the best heat resistant borosilicate glass from Hario
- 600 ml capacity
- Easy to use
- Easy to Clean
- Imported from Japan
Hario’s newest siphon model shines with modern appeal and makes you look more like a gastronomic chef than a coffee lover. The lower chamber is less of a bulb and more of a wine-style carafe, making it easy to pour out your brewed coffee once the process is complete.
We’ve broken down the most important features of siphon brewers and shared our top picks. Now it’s time for you to start narrowing down the options.