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Thinking about getting a siphon brewer - some questions
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BarryR
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Joined: 21 Nov 2010
Posts: 278
Location: Wilbraham
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Clever...
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828B2-K
Posted Sat May 10, 2014, 1:42pm
Subject: Thinking about getting a siphon brewer - some questions
 

I've read through all the threads I could find.
A few questions:

1) size: I've read both that the size is critical suggesting that making 2.5 to 3 cups in a 5 cup brewer will not turn out too well and I've read that it's done by many, with good results. I'll probably usually make 2-3 cups but it would be nice to be able to do 5. If I'm up to 8, I can just use my Brazen.

2) Stovetop vs. tabletop: I have a great gas range and even with a tabletop would usually be making my coffee in the kitchen. The tabletops look much nicer, but it seems like the alcohol burners are mediocre. A bunsen burner adds $40+ to the price which is steering me toward the stovetop (but then choices are more limited and I wasn't sure how good the Yamas are).

3) Is the flavor of siphon coffee different enough that any self-respecting coffeegeek should have a siphon?

4) How are the Corys compared to the Yamas. They do show up on ebay.

I might wind up getting a glass rod for it -- I have a Preciso grinder - so I should be able to do well.

Thoughts and input would be appreciated.
PS: I don't plan on springing for a Cona.
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__________
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Joined: 12 Sep 2006
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Posted Sat May 10, 2014, 2:46pm
Subject: Re: Thinking about getting a siphon brewer - some questions
 

BarryR Said:

I've read through all the threads I could find.
A few questions:

1) size: I've read both that the size is critical suggesting that making 2.5 to 3 cups in a 5 cup brewer will not turn out too well and I've read that it's done by many, with good results. I'll probably usually make 2-3 cups but it would be nice to be able to do 5. If I'm up to 8, I can just use my Brazen.

Posted May 10, 2014 link

You may get away with it, but the process works best when used at or near to design capacity.

BarryR Said:

2) Stovetop vs. tabletop: I have a great gas range and even with a tabletop would usually be making my coffee in the kitchen. The tabletops look much nicer, but it seems like the alcohol burners are mediocre. A bunsen burner adds $40+ to the price which is steering me toward the stovetop (but then choices are more limited and I wasn't sure how good the Yamas are).

Posted May 10, 2014 link

You will wait an age for an alcohol burner.  Even starting with boiling water it still takes a time to get the process going, although the chafing gel type burners are quicker.  The Bodum stovetop brewers are really nice provided you have a good grinder as the filters can be picky (I see you have one).  They are on the larger size though, much bigger than your3 cups or so.  A brewer on a gas range is ideal provided you can turn the flame down very low. Also, if you have cast iron pot supports do be careful about "dinging" the glass on them.  Please don't ask me how I know as it is too sad.  All flat bottomed Cona brewers can also be used on a stovetop.

BarryR Said:

3) Is the flavor of siphon coffee different enough that any self-respecting coffeegeek should have a siphon?

Posted May 10, 2014 link

Any self- respecting coffeegeek must have one or more syphons  ;o)  Filter is the closest.

BarryR Said:

4) How are the Corys compared to the Yamas. They do show up on ebay.

Posted May 10, 2014 link

Sorry don't know.  Never seen either.

BarryR Said:

I might wind up getting a glass rod for it -- I have a Preciso grinder - so I should be able to do well.

Thoughts and input would be appreciated.
PS: I don't plan on springing for a Cona.

Posted May 10, 2014 link

That's a shame. See other threads about buying used Conas which are are a bargain. New prices in the USA seem just silly. They make stovetop only brewers which are quite a bit cheape than those on stands.
There is a long ongoing thread at this very moment on home-barista covering these exact topics.
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BarryR
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2010
Posts: 278
Location: Wilbraham
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Clever...
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828B2-K
Posted Sat May 10, 2014, 3:35pm
Subject: Re: Thinking about getting a siphon brewer - some questions
 

__________ Said:

That's a shame. See other threads about buying used Conas which are are a bargain. New prices in the USA seem just silly. They make stovetop only brewers which are quite a bit cheape than those on stands.
There is a long ongoing thread at this very moment on home-barista covering these exact topics.

Posted May 10, 2014 link

Thanks for all that info.
I would consider a used Cona but when I looked on ebay, they were all in the UK with high shipping costs.
I thought I search on home-barista too, but maybe not.
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__________
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Posted Sat May 10, 2014, 4:03pm
Subject: Re: Thinking about getting a siphon brewer - some questions
 

BarryR Said:

Thanks for all that info.
I would consider a used Cona but when I looked on ebay, they were all in the UK with high shipping costs.
I thought I search on home-barista too, but maybe not.

Posted May 10, 2014 link

Yes - the shipping costs can be high as quoted by some sellers (you'll find Conas on the .fr and.de sites as well though, and you might find a seller with more resonable rates). Still a lot cheaper than buying new in the Us I think.

I sympathise - there are a couple of items only available in the US I'd like to buy, but the transport and customs/tax charges on even fairly low cost items make it non viable.  I'll have to wait until I'm next in the US and try to save some baggage space I guess.
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BarryR
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2010
Posts: 278
Location: Wilbraham
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Clever...
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828B2-K
Posted Sun May 11, 2014, 7:04am
Subject: Re: Thinking about getting a siphon brewer - some questions
 

I found the Yama 5 cup stovetop for $35 (at Casa.com) minus a 20% discount (on each item)!
Shipping was free since I bought some other stuff and spent > $75.

That helped me make up my mind.
I'll have it Wednesday.
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Eastsideloco
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Eastsideloco
Joined: 7 Jan 2012
Posts: 45
Location: Austin
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: '74 Cremina, '91 Livietta...
Grinder: Vario-W, mid-century...
Vac Pot: Cona C, Kono PR 3, Hellem...
Drip: Kalita Wave, V60, Chemex,...
Posted Mon May 12, 2014, 7:20am
Subject: Re: Thinking about getting a siphon brewer - some questions
 

Just be aware that the definition of "1 cup" varies. Since the Yama is a 22 oz brewer (about 600 ml), it's only a 5-cup brewer if you are serving 4-ounce cups. That's an atypical cup size for a US audience. But a 5-cup stovetop siphon will work great for making morning coffee for one or two.

As far as routine goes, you might want to stop by a specialty coffee shop with siphon service to watch their routine. They will start off by pre-heating the brewer. Afterwards, they will use pre-heated water for the brew water. They will not start with a cold brewer and cold brew water—and presumably neither should you—as that takes a long time and tends to overheat the brewer. (As the price point suggests, the Yama glass isn't the highest quality—one of the moderators at Home-Barista actually had a Yama stovetop siphon implode on him—so you may want to minimize thermal stresses to the extent possible. The good news is that the Yama siphons are a great value, so you won't break the bank if you break the glass.)

I use an older electric kettle to heat my rinse water, and heat my siphon brew water in an a PID-controlled Bonavita. That way I can use tap water for pre-heating the brewer, but bottled water for brewing. And the amount of time that I am applying heat to the globe is kept to a minimum.
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Eastsideloco
Senior Member
Eastsideloco
Joined: 7 Jan 2012
Posts: 45
Location: Austin
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: '74 Cremina, '91 Livietta...
Grinder: Vario-W, mid-century...
Vac Pot: Cona C, Kono PR 3, Hellem...
Drip: Kalita Wave, V60, Chemex,...
Posted Mon May 12, 2014, 7:33am
Subject: Re: Thinking about getting a siphon brewer - some questions
 

BarryR Said:

3) Is the flavor of siphon coffee different enough that any self-respecting coffeegeek should have a siphon?

Posted May 10, 2014 link

Yes. If you are a "self-respecting coffeegeek," chances are you already have at least one manual pourover brewer and one immersion brewer, and probably even a "hybrid" brewer (Aeropress). If so, your collection of brewers isn't really complete until you add a siphon. According to official SCAA definitions, siphon or vacuum brewers are a distinct brewing category.

There are differences in the cup when siphon brewing, and are presumably a big part of why siphon brewing is its own SCAA brewing category. In a sense, you have an immersion stage combined with a filter phase. But the latter is vacuum-powered rather than gravity-powered. You have very stable slurry temperatures with unusual agitation characteristics. You'd be hard-pressed achieving brewing temperatures that are this stable and controllable using other manual brewers:

http://bit.ly/1j1KwXP

So the cup is unique and distinct. However, it is not a narrow cup profile per se. Body in the cup will vary significantly depending on whether you use a glass rod, metal mesh, cotton cloth or paper filter.

While my approach to siphon brewing is somewhat different that Mark Prince's, I found his siphon brew guide quite helpful when starting out:

http://coffeegeek.com/guides/siphoncoffee

Eastsideloco: SiphonTemp.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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