Maybe you are not satisfied with the traditional coffee. Perhaps you look for that little point of distinction and pleasure that the elaborations of artisan coffee give you. Then, yours are the vacuum coffee machines. They are also known as Cona or siphon coffee machines in other fields.
These Cona or vacuum coffee makers provide you with a different way of preparing coffee, completely manual. The result is a potent drink, with much more defined and intense aromas than in the coffees elaborated by filtration. In a vacuum system, the water boils only at 70 ºC (much lower than usual temperature), and this causes the coffee to retain all its organoleptic properties. Those who try them are forever in love with their incredible results.
NOTE: The Chemex is not a vacuum coffee maker in strict terms since it does not execute a vacuum process at any time). We have decided to include it here because this is the segment that most resembles it, and the result of the coffee is similar.
Practical guide to buy a siphon coffee maker
We’re going to give you a brief guide to buying a vacuum coffee maker or siphon coffee maker (later, we’ll also see the different names by which these devices are known and where each comes from).
There are no excessive models on the European market of vacuum or siphon coffee machines, and most of them come from the brands Hario and Cona. Thanks to their particular physiognomy, these are coffee machines with an inevitable decorative component. And above all, oriented towards a demanding consumer who explores and looks for all the nuances of coffee and knows how to enjoy every sip.
- Bodum Pebo 8-Cup Vacuum Coffee Maker – 1 L/34 oz
- Coffee Master Royal Vienna Balance Coffee Maker/Machine (Gold)
What is a siphon coffee maker made of?
You may think those siphon coffee makers are made of glass; the truth is that borosilicate glass is usually used in their manufacture. The reason for using borosilicate is that it resists up to 3 times more the sudden changes in temperature that occur during brewing coffee in a vacuum coffee maker.
Components of a vacuum coffee maker
Coffee made with a siphon coffee maker usually has two parts or borosilicate glass containers, one upper and one lower joined by a small pipe of the same material. There is also a filter where the ground coffee is placed, situated in the upper container. Finally, it is necessary to have a stove or an alcohol burner (also available with an electric base) that generates heat in the lower part of the coffee maker.
For siphon coffee machines, it is recommended to use a fine coffee grinder.
Vacuum coffee makers: How they work
In the lower container, the water is served. Underneath it, there is a stove that applies heat to the water. The water will reach the boiling point and rise to the upper container, mixing with the coffee and creating our favourite drink through an infusion process. It doesn’t happen by filtering, as occurs in drip or espresso coffee machines.
When this boiling point happens, the game “vacuum” comes in (haven’t you wondered until now why vacuum coffee machines are called that?) since we have to screw and seal the upper and lower containers well to create the vacuum. When all the coffee has risen upwards, stir a little with a spoon or non-metallic element, and extinguish the fire.
And now comes the exciting thing!
When the fire is extinguished, the air in the lower container will begin to cool, and it will absorb the coffee above by the effect of the vacuum. So, in the end, the coffee will be ready to drink deposited in the lower part of our siphon coffee maker.
This is another major difference between vacuum coffee machines and other coffee machines, such as Italian Moka coffee machines, where the coffee is always on top.
Siphon coffee or vacuum coffee is very appreciated for its cleanliness. Although quite soft, it is a bitter coffee, free of impurities and very rich in nuances and aromas because the coffee is never in contact with any metallic element.
Inconveniences and advantages of a siphon coffee maker
Siphon coffee machines have very definite pros and cons. They are very fragile instruments, which can break both during handling (cleaning and storage) and by an explosion when the glass is overheated, and the fire is not extinguished in time.
On the other hand, the two containers are tough to clean because they have narrow openings. Besides, you have to be careful: if you are going to vacuum clean a coffee maker, it is advisable not to use soap or toxic cleaning products.
The advantages of vacuum coffee machines are undoubtedly the excellent quality of the coffee they produce, pure and aromatic like few others. It is an elaboration that has part of the ritual and falls in love with the real coffee lovers. As they do not need electricity, they usually elaborate the coffee directly on the table, in front of the diners.
See how a vacuum coffee maker works
To find out how a Japanese siphon or vacuum coffee maker works:
Cona coffee maker: What are they, and why are they called like that?
When looking for information or buying vacuum coffee machines, you can sometimes read mentions or references to the Cona coffee maker (Kona coffee maker). It’s because Cona is one of the best known and most genuine manufacturers of this type of device. It was also one of the first companies to market them on a large scale worldwide.
Cona type coffee machines are usually more resistant and more exclusive than those of other manufacturers because this company is only dedicated to working on this particular type of coffee maker. They preserve the purity of the original coffee machine: they only use glass in the elaboration of the coffee makers to maintain 100% the purity of the coffee.
What is a Cona coffee maker?
It is merely a Cona brand vacuum coffee maker, characterized by the only glass being used in its construction. Other manufacturers’ vacuum coffeemakers sometimes have metal parts that can affect the final taste or aroma of the beverage.
In an authentic Cona coffee maker, the coffee is never in contact with any material or any component other than glass during processing.
Knowing the Cona coffee maker: origin
Vacuum coffee makers had been around since 1830, but a little later, in 1840, a Scottish engineer named Robert Napier designed his vacuum coffee maker. He called it nothing less than The Napier Vacuum Machine. And it turns out that the Scottish design became much more popular than all the vacuum coffee makers that exist today.
Years passed, and the company that kept the designs and spirit of Napier’s original coffee maker intact was Cona LTD, well into the 20th century. By derivation of the name of this old Cona coffee maker, in the end, all the Cona brand vacuum coffee makers ended up being called Cona coffee makers.
Cona is not a type of coffee maker but a brand that has lent its name to the product.
It could be summed up like this: all Cona coffee machines are vacuum, but not all vacuum coffee machines are Cona coffee machines.
Where can I buy a Cona?
The most natural way to buy a Cona coffee maker is on Amazon on the Internet. Not many coffee stores specialize in authentic Cona or vacuum coffee makers.
These authentic Cona machines are mostly marketed or distributed on this online platform. If you want to buy a Cona coffee machine for home, you have an easy option:
- Buy a vacuum coffee maker in Amazon, not necessarily of the Cona type but of any other brand.
How much does a Cona coffee maker cost?
A Cona coffee machine is not cheap: its price varies over time but is usually over 200£. We suggest that you check our web to know the cost of these coffee makers today.
More about the Cona coffee machine: how it works
Mostly, Cona coffee machines work just like the vacuum coffee machines we know in Europe. In any case, if you have any dilemma and you want to see how a Cona coffee machine works, don’t forget to have a look at this video:
Vacuum coffee maker: Generic Price
The price of a siphon coffee maker is higher than the average for other types of coffee makers. The majority of coffee siphons are around 100£, but depending on their size and year of launch, they can even reach about 200 £.
There are siphon coffee machines with 2 cups, 3 cups, or 4 and 5 cups. The size of the glasses determines Their capacity.
The Japanese siphon or Japanese coffee maker
These coffeemakers are also known as Japanese siphon coffee makers. The reason is not that Japanese siphons were invented in Japan, as we might first think, as they originated in Germany (dating from the first third of the twentieth century).
The problem is that these coffee machines quickly fell into oblivion, and nobody paid much attention to them for much of the 20th century. The Japanese baristas and gourmets began to rescue and start using vacuum coffee machines again. For this reason, they adopted the name of the Japanese siphon coffee maker in the popular imagination.
And for this reason, Hario’s coffee makers are an absolute reference in this preparation method. This recognition is also influenced by the exceptional quality of its crystal, of course.
Best selling vacuum coffee makers in 2023
The best-selling vacuum coffee maker on the Internet in 2023 is always one of the Hario brands. In any case, you can check our daily updated ranking to verify it:
- HARIO Technica Syphon 2 Cup
- Coffee Master 5-Cup Syphon/Vacuum Glass Coffee Maker
- Coffee Master Royal Vienna Balance Coffee Maker/Machine (Gold)