A siphon, or vacuum coffee maker brews coffee using two chambers where vapor pressure and vacuum produce coffee which is clean, crisp, rich and smooth compared to other brewing methods. This type of coffee maker is also known as vac pot and was invented by Loeff of Berlin in the 1830s. These devices have since been used for more than a century in many parts of the world.

The principle of a vacuum coffee maker is to heat water in the lower vessel of the brewer until expansion forces the contents through a narrow tube into an upper vessel containing coffee grounds. When the lower vessel has more or less emptied itself and enough time has elapsed, the heat is removed and the resulting vacuum will draw the brewed coffee through a strainer back into the lower chamber from which it can be decanted. The device must usually be taken apart to pour out the coffee.


  • Use a slightly finer grind of coffee.The grind should resemble table salt.

  • Drop the washable, reusable cloth covered filter into the infusion chamber with the chain hanging down into the glass syphon tube. Pull the chain down until you can hook it to the bottom of the siphon tube.

  • Fill the bottom carafe to the 5 mark with hot water and place 5 measuring spoons of coffee in top chamber.

  • Fill the burner with "soot free" denatured alcohol, ethyl or an ethyl/isopropyl mixture that's high on the ethanol side - isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) tends to burn hotter than ethyl or methyl alcohols, but also burns orange and produces a lot of soot. This is available at hardware or outdoor stores.

  • It takes about 4 minutes to heat the water (if water is boiled when placed in the carafe it will take less time), when it reaches temperature the water will be siphoned to the top chamber.

  • Stir gently and allow coffee to dwell for 2 minutes.

  • Once you remove from the heat source, the brewed coffee will drain back down into the bottom carafe.

  • Remove the top, placing it in its convertible lid/stand, and bring the pot to the table for serving.