Siphon: history and extraction of coffee


After telling and explaining the preparation of coffee with Moka, Aeropress, French Press and Chemex, it's time for the Siphon!

Read all the articles on extraction methods on Caffè Ernani's blog: ABCoffee >>

The Siphon is an instrument with sinuous shapes and scenographic characteristics. It is complex and fascinating!

It stands out from other popular coffee extraction systems, immediately catching the attention of anyone.

The History of the Siphon

The Siphon almost resembles an ancestor of the moka pot. Who knows if Bialetti got inspiration from it!

In fact, it too takes advantage of the steam pressure, created by boiling the water, to prepare the beloved dark drink.

The first records of the Siphon, called Vacuum Coffee Pot, date back to around 1830 and attribute the invention to Mr. Loeff of Berlin.

But it was in 1840 that James Napier announced the construction of the first example of the Vacuum Coffee Pot, which however never patented a prototype, leaving it at the mercy of anyone.

The problem?

The glass used did not guarantee heat resistance and therefore was not safe.

In 1925 the German Otto Schott invented the perfect glass for this occasion: Borosilicate, resistant to heat and pressure!

All the necessary changes were thus made for the correct use of the instrument which began to gain popularity up to the present day.

The Siphon is made up of:

  • An underlying ampoule;
  • An overlying ampoule with a tube attached, which plunges into the lower one;
  • A filter, usually made of metal and covered with fabric;
  • A gasket of different materials;
  • A gas or alcohol stove.

Its use is simple and ingenious.

The result of the coffee obtained?

A coffee with a well-defined, intense and clean profile, with a good softness and body.

The extraction with the Siphon

The extraction with the Siphon is simple, but some special tools are required:

  • The Siphon, on the market, is available from 2 to 5 cups in size and from € 60 to € 300, depending on the model and materials;
  • A scale;
  • A timer.

The Brew Ratio, that is the dose of coffee in relation to water, is 60 grams of coffee per 1 L of water; in this case I will use 250 ml of water for 15 gr of coffee.

The coffee must be medium-fine ground, similar to that for the moka pot. To be precise, the particle size must be between 400 and 600 microns.

Steps for extraction:

  1. Pour 250 ml of water into the ampoule below; if you want to speed up the whole process, pour it pre-heated;
  2. Then take the ampoule above and fit the filter, equipped with a spring, well at the base of the tube;
  3. Assemble the whole instrument;
  4. Turn on the stove and place it under the instrument;
  5. While you wait for it to boil, start weighing the 15 grams of ground coffee and keep them aside;
  6. As soon as all the water, due to the steam pressure, reaches the upper container, pour the coffee and mix it, so that all the ground particles come into contact with the water well;
  7. Now plug the ampoule and leave the coffee to infuse for about 1 minute;
  8. After the infusion, turn off the flame. By removing the heat, the water will no longer be kept at the top by the pressure and will then fall back into the lower ampoule, passing through the filter, which will allow only the drink and not the ground coffee to pass through.

The coffee is ready!


  • The infusion can be enriched with aromas such as vanilla, cinnamon, spices, fruit or flowers, which will be poured together with the ground coffee during the extraction phase;
  • Or you can also prepare the infusion with other liquids! For example: to prepare an Irish Coffee just divide the amount of water into 2 equal parts of water and Whiskey.

Recommended coffee

Single origin Arabica washed and natural; it depends on whether you want to get more aromaticity, choosing the first, or more sweetness and body, then opting for the second.

Paolo, Ernani's roaster, prefers the Colombia Supremo Finca la Meseta >>

While I love the Brazilian Women's Coffee >>

Do you want to practice with this method and also discover all the other techniques and equipment for Brewing?

We look forward to seeing you at the Ernani Academy Brewing course!

Write an email to or a whatsapp message to +39 3756879940 to get all the information on timetables and prices!

Martina Mazzoleni 

The best coffees, roasted to perfection and delivered where you want

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