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Best Siphon Coffee Maker:
Great Looks And Even Better Flavor

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By Matt Woodburn-Simmonds

Siphon coffee brewing combines tradition and innovation in a delicious blend of science and flavor. In my first barista job, I stared at the towering vacuum coffee maker with a heady combination of fear and excitement. Once I got the hang of using it, I was hooked. So in this guide, I’m going to take you through the rich history and modern resurgence of siphon brewing, and share my recommendation for the best siphon coffee maker (spoiler: it’s the Yama Glass Stovetop) so you can get hooked (and feel like a mad scientist) too!

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Quick Summary: Top Siphon Coffee Makers

Best Overall: Yama Glass Stovetop

Yama Glass stovetop siphon coffee maker in use

Coffee Quality: 8.5/10

Ease of Use: 7/10

Value for Money: 8/10

Overall Rating: 8/10

Best on a Budget: Bodum PEBO

Bodum Pebo on table with freshly brewed siphon coffee in the bottom chamber

Coffee Quality: 7/10

Ease of Use: 7/10

Value for Money: 9.5/10

Overall Rating: 7/10

Best Looking: Nispira

Nispira Belgian Royal Family Balance Syphon

Coffee Quality: 6/10

Ease of Use: 8.5/10

Value for Money: 7/10

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

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Umm.. What *Exactly* is a Siphon Coffee Maker?

If you’ve seen the draw of those mysterious bubbling water globes that transform the workers in your local hipster coffee shop from barista to mad scientist but have no idea what’s going on, we’ve got you covered.

A siphon coffee maker (AKA a syphon or vacuum coffee maker) is a very old-school way to manually make coffee using a full immersion brewing system.

In other words, a constant heat source is used to create a vacuum (siphon) that moves the water from one chamber to the next. Once in the upper chamber, the coffee grounds steep in the hot water. The resultant brew then drains back down to the bottom chamber, ready for you to enjoy.

It’s a pretty similar concept to a percolator or Moka pot. But these methods have 3 chambers where siphon coffee brewers only have 2.

Siphon brewing started way back in the 1830s when balance syphons were used as a theatrical draw. They were first mass-produced by Silex in 1915. But now they’re more of a hidden gem mostly found in the homes of die-hard coffee nerds or at hipster coffee joints.

They’re not the easiest coffee makers to use as you have to perfectly control the heat in order to create the vacuum effect. But it’s definitely worth the effort for the clean tasting coffee brewed.

So, while siphon coffee might not be the talk of the town, it’s definitely worth seeking out. Who knows? With one of our top picks, you might just fall head over heels for their quirky charm and rich, flavorful brew.

Hario Technica Siphon coffee maker on bench next to open bag of coffee beans
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5 Best Siphon Coffee Makers

1. Yama Glass Stovetop Siphon – Best Overall


  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Heat-resistant borosilicate glass
  • Easy to use
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Works on regular (non-induction) stoves
  • Good coffee


  • Plastic parts can melt
  • Glass can crack
  • Small capacity
  • Not as well-engineered as some alternatives
  • Uses cloth filters

Average Rating

  • Coffee Quality: 8.5/10
  • Build Quality: 8/10
  • Overall Rating: 8/10

Yama Glass specializes in beautiful hand-blown glassware for coffee and tea brewing. And their range of vacuum coffee makers is no exception:

They make both a stovetop and tabletop version (number 5 on this list). But for us, the Yama Glass Stovetop is the best siphon coffee maker as it’s the fastest to heat, has a sturdy handle, and all the parts fit together securely. Oh, and the wallet-friendly price doesn’t hurt either.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect:

Stovetop siphons have an added danger factor as they directly touch the heat source. The special heat-resistant borosilicate glass is designed to minimally expand and contract when heated and cooled. But if the heat gets too intense, it can crack.

It will work on both gas or electric, but not induction.

However, if you’re using an electric stove, you’ll need to move it off the heat whilst the top chamber is full of near-boiling water. So the sturdy handle really comes into its own here.

You can choose either a 5 or 8-cup version (we tested the bigger one) to suit how much coffee you need.  In real terms, they make 1 or 2 mugs respectively.

I’ve always been impressed with the quality and flavor of the cup of coffee from this siphon brewer. That, combined with the cool looks and good price, makes it the best siphon coffee maker for beginners.

2. Bodum PEBO – Best on a Budget


  • Good build quality
  • Large capacity (34oz / 1L)
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Great, simple design
  • Can buy with burner or use on stove
  • Reusable filter


  • Plastic filter
  • Slow
  • Milder coffee
  • Handle is flimsy & gets hot
  • Can cut out during brewing
  • Expensive with burner

Average Rating

  • Coffee Quality: 7/10
  • Build Quality: 6.5/10
  • Overall Rating: 7/10

The Bodum PEBO is another well-made and relatively easy-to-use siphon coffee maker. It’s best suited to someone looking at the entry-level market.

Depending on your preference (and budget), you can buy the PEBO on its own and use it on your stovetop/ camping stove. Or you can buy it with a burner and stand though this nearly doubles the price.

Bodum also sells an electric version (the EPEBO) which is considerably more expensive again. It’s a little easier to use and offers you more control but unless it’s on sale, I just don’t think it justifies the hefty price tag.

I like the Bodum PEBO vacuum coffee maker for its size (up to 34oz) and entry-level price. This makes it a great option if you want to brew a lot of coffee at once and get great-tasting coffee without spending a fortune. Just keep in mind that it does take time and practice to perfect.

However, I don’t like the plastic filter as it has a really small filter area. And I live in constant fear that the plastic handle will snap and pour hot coffee everywhere.

The Bodum PEBO is also only budget-friendly if you buy it without the burner. But if you want to have that superb, smooth siphon brew without spending too much, this is a solid choice.

3. Hario Technica Coffee Syphon


  • Perfect 5-cup capacity
  • Clean tasting cup of coffee
  • Durable
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Simple design
  • Heat-resistant borosilicate glass
  • Comes with burner and cloth filter


  • Awkward to clean cloth filter
  • Alcohol burner not as efficient as butane
  • Requires experimentation and guesswork
  • Time-consuming

Average Rating

  • Coffee Quality: 8.5/10
  • Build Quality: 7.5/10
  • Overall Rating: 7.5/10

Hario is a much-loved and trusted Japanese coffee manufacturer, known for making exciting products like this “Technica” Coffee Syphon.

I love using the burner to heat the water. Sitting there watching it takes me back to high-school science class but with less social awkwardness and safety glasses.

But, just like in high school, it will take a little trial and error to brew your coffee just right.

The burner uses alcohol (I’d prefer butane) which isn’t the fastest, is easy to overfill, and can stain your table or countertop. So I recommend only using it on a heat-protected mat or glass tray and pre-heating your water in a kettle to save some time.

That said, it looks amazing, is simple to use, and is fairly easy to clean – it’s just the cloth filter that I find a little awkward.

If you want a siphon coffee maker because they look great as well as brewing delicious coffee, this should be near the top of your list. It’s a great conversation piece to pull out when you have friends over and will brew 5 cups each time (1 or 2 people’s worth of coffee).

4. Yama Glass Tabletop Siphon


  • Simple design
  • Brews flavoursome, clean coffee
  • Premium hand-blown, heat-resistant glass
  • Reusable cloth filters and alcohol burner


  • Slow
  • Filters need replacing after frequent use
  • Challenging to not used to alcohol burners
  • Small capacity (15oz or 20oz)
  • Plastic handle

Average Rating

  • Coffee Quality: 7/10
  • Build Quality: 8/10
  • Overall Rating: 7/10

Yama Glass knocks it out of the park with another very affordable option making its way onto our best vacuum coffee makers list.

The glass is hand blown, made from heat-resitatant borosciliate glass. It’s also non-porous so won’t absorb nasty smells and is durably made to last many years of coffee brewing.

Although if you think you’ve seen it before it’s because it looks incredibly similar to the Hario Technica. Flavor-wise, they’re pretty similar. But, whilst the Yama Glass is slightly cheaper, I find Technica just a fraction nicer to use as the handle is stainless steel and brass rather than plastic like this one. But that’s purely a personal preference.

There are 2 size options – 15oz or 20oz. Either way, it’s really only making enough siphon coffee for one or two people at a time.

Plus, the alcohol burner means it takes some time to brew. So it’s best to add pre-heated water to the bottom vessel. But the results are great and it looks fantastic too.

5. Nispira Belgian Royal Family Balance Syphon – Best Looking


  • Stunning design
  • Unique mechanism is fun to watch
  • Consistent/ easy to use
  • Metal (not as fragile as the competition)
  • Exceptional craftsmanship
  • Non-slip base
  • Alcohol burner


  • Small – 16oz/ 0.5L
  • Slightly more expensive

Average Rating

  • Coffee Quality: 6/10
  • Build Quality: 8/10
  • Overall Rating: 6.5/10

Compared to all the different types of coffee makers out there, there’s one thing that siphons do well: They look fantastic.

So you’re getting a conversation starter, not just a way to brew delicious coffee.

And, if aesthetics are your priority, then you’ll love the Nispira Belgian Royal Family Balance Syphon to bring a little royal luxury to your home.

It’s a pretty intricate looking contraption made from gold brushed stainlees steel, borosciliate glass, and a sleek wooden non-slip base. If it’s a little too garish for your taste, you can also get this siphon brewer in silver/ black base instead (check price, here).

The balancing mechanism works differently from the other top siphon coffee makers:

As the steam pressure builds, the water is siphoned into the ground coffee vessel which causes the water container to get lighter and rise. As a result, the burner switches off. Then, as the water container cools, the brewed coffee flows back in and you can use the little tap to dispense it into your cup.

If you’re worried that this is a case of “style over substance”, it’s not… mostly. The coffee produced is decent. Not the best, but certainly good.

My one complaint is that it’s really small – 16oz / 500ml. I want to pull this out at the end of dinner parties to wow my guests but can’t actually make enough coffee for everyone in one go which kinda ruins the effect!

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How do Siphon Coffee Makers Work?

Using a siphon coffee maker isn’t nearly as complicated as it first looks although it will instantly take you back to Chemistry class. Luckily, there’s no detention or anyone to tame your inner mad scientist this time!

There are two chambers – the bottom one is a carafe, and the upper one is where the coffee is brewed.

The bottom one gets filled with water then placed over a heat source. This could be a gas stovetop or camping stove. Some siphon brewers also come with their own alcohol or butane burners. As the water heats, it vaporizes and creates pressure. This pressure forces the water to move into the next chamber.

Brewing takes place in the next (upper) chamber. Here, your coffee grounds become slowly immersed in the water. 

Whilst this is taking place, the heat source needs to remain on the lower chamber to maintain the pressure. Once removed, the liquid will be drawn back down into the lower chamber so if you do it too soon, you’ll get weak, watery coffee.

Depending on the brewer used, it should take a couple of minutes to finish brewing the siphon coffee.

Once finished, the heat source is removed which cools the bottom chamber, causing the pressure to drop. As a result, the freshly brewed coffee slowly passes through a filter and into the bottom chamber, separated from the used grounds.

It’s a hands-on way of manually brewing coffee that needs a lot more of your attention than a super-automtic espresso machine, for example. But it also has a certain wow factor that just can’t be matched.

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Why Should you Use a Siphon Coffee Maker?

Buying one of the best siphon coffee makers is an investment in money, time, and counter space. Luckily, there are some pretty good reasons that siphon coffee tastes so unique and delicious which should help to soften the blow.

Total Immersion of the Grounds

Immersion allows all the nuanced flavors from your coffee beans to come through into the cup. It’s similar to the AeroPress or French press in that siphon coffee is light, clean, and so darn tasty.

The Vacuum

After steeping, your coffee is actively pulled through the grounds and filter thanks to the vacuum in the lower chamber. It’s more effective than relying on good ol’ gravity to get every possible soluble oil from the ground coffee. So you end up with a very pure flavor in your finished brew.

Consistent Heat

Siphon differs from methods French press or AeroPress in that heat is consistently delivered through the water to the grounds throughout the brewing process. This gives you more control over exactraction, helping to brew a more complex cup of coffee.

Theatrical Flair

There’s just something magical about brewing with a siphon coffee maker. OK, the visuals don’t make your coffee taste any better but it might make your day more fun! After all, who doesn’t want to have a contraption taken straight from Snape’s potions class or a steam-punk chemistry lab on their kitchen counter?

If you have any friends that don’t like your new siphon coffee maker, they aren’t friends you need.

The Process

We’re big fans of the slow coffee movement. Being fully engaged with your morning coffee brewing can be deeply enjoyable, almost a meditative experience. And using a siphon coffee maker requires you to focus on every step, rather than just flipping a switch on a 4 cup coffee maker or switching on a Jura coffee machine. This way, you get to enjoy the brewing experience as much as the drinking.

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What to Look For in a Vacuum Brewer

What makes something the “best” all depends on what you need. So ask yourself these questions before you decide which is the best siphon coffee maker for you:

Does it Need Electricity?

Whether you should opt for an electric, stovetop, or dedicated burner for your siphon all comes down to personal preference.

Currently, there’s no electric option that we really rate. KitchenAid used to make a great one (the KCM0812) and we listed it here as the best electric siphon coffee maker. But it’s been discontinued and, as yet, they’ve not released anything else in its place.

I’m constantly on the lookout for a quality option that I feel comfortable recommending to you. For now, however, you’ll have to stick to a burner siphon.

I should also mention that no vacuum coffee maker will work on an induction stove. So if that’s what you have, you’ll need a non-electric siphon.

KitchenAid KCM0812 electric siphon coffee maker
The KitchenAid electric siphon coffee maker has now been discontinued

Stovetop or Standalone?

Once you’ve chosen your heat source, you also need to consider whether you want to be tied to the stove or be able to move around a little more.

If you’re looking for a cheaper coffee siphon then a stovetop one is your best bet. The downside is that you’re tied to the stove’s location and have to be careful not to turn the heat up too high as this can crack the glass.

Maintaining an even temperature is what makes siphon coffee taste so good. And standalone electric siphons are the best at this. However, they’re a lot more expensive and there’s currently no good options.

Then there are standalone siphons which are usually on a stand to give room for a burner – either alcohol or butane. Either way, you are brewing over an open flame which really adds to the sense of excitement (just don’t get too close to your curtains!)

Alcohol burners are generally not adjustable and take much longer to heat the water. Whereas butane burners take more practice to get right as it’s much easier to overheat the water.

You could also opt to buy a separate halogen beam burner. They don’t come cheap but offer a much more consistent temperature than an open flame.

Using a halogen beam heater to heat water for siphon coffee
Using a halogen beam heater to heat the water

What Type of Filters do you Need?

Most siphon coffee makers come with cloth filters that are washable and reusable though they won’t last forever. However, they’re pretty awkward to clean which puts a lot of people off as they prefer the ease of stainless steel.

How Many Cups are you Making?

How many people are going to be having coffee each time?

2? 3? 5?

Siphon brewing takes time. So you don’t want to be doing 2 or 3 cycles each morning to get everyone set up for the day.

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What Other Equipment do you Need?

To really get the most from one of these great siphon coffee makers, you ideally need a few bits of kit in your arsenal:

Whilst you can definitely make siphon coffee without them, you’ll instantly notice an improvement if you use them:

1. Coffee Grinder

Using freshly ground coffee is the key to getting the best flavor from your beans. For siphon coffee, you’re looking for a medium grind size (similar to sand.)

As most grinders perform well at this grind size, there are plenty of options that will suit all budgets. Check out our coffee grinder guide for everything you need to know.

These are our recommended grinders:

Javapresse manual coffee grinder on table
Budget option: Javapresse
Check price or Read our review
Man's hand holding the 1Zpresso J Ultra
Our go-to grinder: 1Zpresso J Ultra
Check price or Read our review
Breville Smart Grinder Pro with coffee beans in the hopper and screen turned on
Electric option: Breville Smart Grinder Pro
Check price or Read our review

2. Kettle

Even if you’re using a stovetop siphon, having a kettle to preheat your water will make the process a lot faster.

And, if you’re using an alcohol burner, it’s almost essential. Otherwise, you will be waiting 20 minutes for your coffee in the morning.

It doesn’t have to be anything special though – any kettle will do.

3. Instant Digital Thermometer

This is one for the nerds that want to get really precise with their siphon coffee brewing. Having an instant-read digital thermometer will allow you to ensure the water is a perfect 200ºF/93ºC

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Our Verdict

When stepping into the world of vacuum brewers there are two key considerations as to what makes the best siphon coffee maker:

How easy is it to use? And how good is the coffee?

For me, the Yama Glass Stovetop Siphon gets a massive tick in both boxes. The appealing design works harmoniously with the functionality and ease of use without sacrificing flavor. What’s not to love?

Whether you’re after great looks, great build, or great flavor (or all 3!), we’re sure one of the options featured here will set you on the path to delicious siphon coffee.


Matt Woodburn-Simmonds

Matt's coffee obsession started in 2006 when working as a Barista. A tendency to turn up to work hungover kickstarted his coffee journey which quickly turned into a love affair. As he moved on to work as a Restaurant Manager and Sommelier, the obsession continued to grow. Now, his passion is helping others to enjoy better coffee at home.

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