for the water to rise up the tube, defying gravity.
It’s a very exciting moment!
5. Once nearly all of the water is in the Griffin
beaker, start your timer. Lower the heat enough to
maintain a low, bubbling roil in the small bit of water
that remains behind in the Florence flask. This will
keep things from progressing too quickly.
6. Give the water-saturated grounds a few stirs with
a spoon or rod (Figure E). If your coffee is fresh
you’ll see it “bloom” as gases are released.
7. After 1½ minutes have passed (you’ll learn to
adjust this timing, so keep notes), turn off the
burner and remove it. As the flask cools, steam will
contract and draw the coffee out of the grounds
and back to the flask (Figure F).
8. When the coffee has stopped flowing, carefully
unstopper the flask and raise the filter assembly
tube (Figure G). Remove the flask of coffee. Pour
yourself a cup of the most delicate, nuanced coffee
you’ve ever brewed. Drink and enjoy madly.
J. Edgar Park II is a digital automata builder for cinema
theatricals, and the host of the Maker Workshop on
The Method Behind the Madness
Why is siphon coffee so good? Two reasons:
Ideal water temperature and optimal contact
between the grounds and the water. Water turns to
vapor prior to boiling, and then heads out of the
boiling flask and into the ground coffee. This means
your water is right around 200°F when the brewing
begins. Electric drip brewers are notorious for their
wildly inaccurate brew temperatures (and the sour
brews they can produce as a result).
All of the water in a siphon
brewer is in contact with all of
the grounds during the entire
brewing process. This gives the
water the greatest chance to extract the things we
want out of the coffee grounds. In all but the best
drip brewers, a tiny stream of water flows quickly
through the center of the grounds, leaving behind
much of the flavor.
Once you get the hang of your siphon brewer, you
can brew for a very precise amount of time. When
the vacuum pressure is great enough, it will pull the
coffee back into the flask rapidly. You can instigate
this by cooling the flask with cold water, or even
a wet cloth, although I’d be careful not to shock the
glass too much with an ice bath.