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What it's about:
Just making a comeback now, the vacuum pot brewer or Syphon was invented in the 1830's and it's amazingly one of the best ways to brew a flavourful and smooth cup of coffee. Water hits the coffee (with a little practice) at perfect temperature, and is filtered back into the pot for a clear sediment free sweet brew.
What you'll need:
You'll need a syphon, coffee, a grinder, a measuring spoon or scales, hot pads, and a heat source.
1. For best results, ideally grind your coffee fresh before use. Use a Burr grinder that cuts the beans in a controlled way for a more consistent extraction. Blade grinders chop the beans very unevenly leading to bitter coffee. For Syphon brewers we recommend a filter (medium - fine) grind as the water does not spend long in contact with the grounds and this may need some experimentation to get the best flavour. Watch the coffee as it drains into the lower bowl after brewing - if it is sucked down at a fast rate then go finer, if the top bowl is left with standing water then the grind is too fine - go coarser.
2. Measure your coffee into the top bowl after fitting the cloth or paper filter and restraining with the spring clip. Dose - usual rules apply - 7g per serving so 21g for a 3-cup and 35g for a 5-cup.
3. Fill the lower bowl with water, enough for your required brew volume. Water can be added hot from a boiled kettle to speed things along or the whole thing can be heated on a stove or with the spirit burner provided with the brewer.
4. When the water gets near to boiling point, gently fix the top bowl in place and watch as a small amount of water rises into the top. Stir briefly to ensure all grounds are wetted and place lid on top.
5. As all of the water rises into the top bowl, move the spirit burner 3/4 out from under the lower bowl, leaving just enough heat applied to hold the brewing coffee in the top bowl for half to one minute. You can control this contact time - longer if you want the coffee to extract more and produce a stronger cup but be careful not to overheat and crack the lower bowl.
6. After a holding time of between 30 and 40 seconds, remove and extinguish the burner and marvel as the coffee gently returns to the lower bowl, perfectly brewed and free of grounds. Once empty, remove the top bowl - CARE: all glass parts will be very hot.
7. Pour and enjoy.