The other week I bought a Hario Coffee Syphon, as much out of curiosity as anything else. It’s a funny looking, vaguely scientific set-up that I think looks pretty cool. It basically works on the principle of creating a vacuum for the coffee to brew. You put some water in the bottom container, which looks a bit like a bulbous, rounded test tube, and the coffee in the top section, an open-ended glass tube. The idea is to put a flame under the bowl and as the water heats up it will be drawn into the top section with the coffee. Give the coffee a stir, adjust the heat, and the coffee will then trickle back into the bowl, where it bubbles and gurgles in the vacuum, as if it’s got indigestion.
It came with a spirit burner, which I found to be unsatisfactory in many ways, but largely because it was hard to adjust the heat with any precision. Online I went again and bought a very little and terribly cute butane fuelled burner. That does the trick nicely. The other challenge is the coffee grind. Like most men I like my coffee strong and with a good depth of flavour. I generally buy a dark roast which I grind fine for the home espresso machine.
Because of the different brewing method the grind for the syphon is recommended to be coarser, though it seems a fine art to get just the right granularity. The coffee I’ve made so far does have a different flavour from the espresso machine – not as sharp, and with a rounder, deeper flavour. Not better, not worse, but a different experience.
It’s quite an operation to make a cuppa, so I haven’t made a lot, but it’s also a bit of fun, and the taste experience is well worth it.