Syphon: history and coffee extraction

I maestri della tostatura media
After recounting and explaining coffee brewing with the Moka, Aeropress, French Press and Chemex, it’s time for the Syphon!

Read all the articles on extraction methods on the Caffè Ernani blog: ABCoffee.

The Syphon is an instrument with sinuous shapes and scenic features. It is complex and fascinating!

It stands out from other popular coffee extraction systems, immediately attracting anyone’s attention.

The History of Syphon

The Syphon almost resembles an ancestor of the mocha. I wonder if Bialetti started from this very tool to find inspiration!

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

The first records of the Syphon, called the Vacuum Coffee Pot, date from about 1830 and attribute the invention to Mr. Loeff of Berlin.

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

The problem?

The glass used did not provide heat resistance and was therefore unsafe.

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

Thus, all useful modifications were made for the proper use of the instrument, which began to gain popularity to the present day.

Syphon consists of:
  • A cruet below;
  • An upper ampulla with a tube attached, which dips 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 profile, intense and clean, with good smoothness and body.

The extraction with the Syphon

Extraction with the Syphon is simple, but some special tools are required:

  • The Syphon, commercially found from 2 to 5 cups in size and from 60€ up to 300€, depending on the model and materials;
  • A scale;
  • Timer;

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

The coffee must be medium-fine ground , similar to that for mocha. To be precise, the grain size should be between 400 and 600 microns.

Steps for extraction:
  1. Pour the 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 wedge the filter, fitted with a spring, well into the base of the tube;
  3. Mount the whole instrument;
  4. Turn on the stove and place it under the instrument;
  5. While you are waiting for the boil, start weighing out the 15 g of mince and keep it aside;
  6. As soon as all the water, due to steam pressure, reaches the upper container, pour in the coffee and stir, so that all the ground particles come into good contact with the water;
  7. Now cap the cruet and let the coffee steep for about 1 minute;
  8. When the infusion is finished, turn off the flame. By removing heat, the water will no longer be held at the top by the pressure and will therefore fall back into the lower cruet, passing through the filter, which will allow only the beverage and not the ground coffee to pass through.

The coffee is ready!


  • The infusion can be enriched with flavorings such as vanilla, cinnamon, spices, fruits, or flowers, which will be poured along with the ground coffee during extraction;
  • Or you can even brew it with other liquids! For example: to make an Irish Coffee simply divide the amount of water into 2 equal parts water and Whiskey.

Recommended coffees

Washed and natural Arabica single-origin; it depends on whether you want to achieve more aromaticity, choosing the former, or more sweetness and body, thus opting for the latter.

Paolo, Ernani’s roaster, prefers the Colombia Supremo Finca la Meseta.

While I love the Brazilian Women’s Coffee.

Want to practice this method and also discover all the other Brewing techniques and tools?

We look forward to seeing you at Ernani Academy’s Brewing class!

Write an email to [email protected] or whatsapp message to +39 3756879940 to get all the information about times and prices!

Marketing, E-commerce e Social Media Manager
Coffee Lover


Martina Mazzoleni

Marketing, E-commerce e Social Media Manager Coffee Lover

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