Siphon class 5

Diguo TCA-3 Siphon/Vacuum coffeemaker
Attend the class. Stop by Harold Kim’s booth.

Once in a while I like to remind people we have some unusual coffeemakers at our CoffeeCon consumer coffee festival. I won’t say you won’t find this at a retail store or online. I do hope CoffeeCon gets a reputation for spotting new talent and that the retailers scoop these up and put them in every window across the nation. This one is really wonderful. I found it and wrote a review. Then I asked Harold Kim, the US entrepreneur who’s distributing it to come show it off at last year’s CoffeeCon. He did and I really like it.

The vacuum coffeemaker is, in case you don’t know, just about a perfect coffee brewing invention. The idea is simple and goes back more than a hundred years. It allows you to get all the water plenty hot in an enclosed lower bowl. As it heats up, that water is forced up through a filtered tube into an upper bowl, where it mixes with the grounds at just the right temperature, actually the upper end of it. Heat below is removed and then the brewed coffee slowly returns. You end up with a very rich, revealing cup of coffee. The actually brewing takes place within four minutes so bitterness is never an issue. The cup is also piping hot, arguably the hottest cup of coffee obtainable.

For those of you who keep track of history, the original coffee standards in the US were obtained by simply observing a vacuum maker (they were very popular from the 1930s through the early ‘60s in the US) and jotting down what they saw. If you see old supermarket grinders you’ll note they all have a glass or vacuum setting on them, which refers to this method. The terms vacuum and siphon are interchangeable.

The Diguo Siphon Coffeemaker is just a wonderful product. It is well designed, and takes the number one problem of manual coffemakers and makes it easy to use. Vacuum makers require a lot of attention and are inconsistent in their timing. The manual vacuum maker is just not the brewer most people would use on the morning of an early train or airplane flight, and this usually lets out commuters. Now, I don’t know about you, but I stubbornly insist that every cup of coffee I ever have is important. How do I get the great taste of vacuum coffee and fit it into my always-under-deadlines life?

This brewer is easy to use. You fill it to a line, turn the power dial to high and it automatically heats the water perfectly and quickly and sends it up into the upper bowl. Then you simply drop your ground coffee in and stir, wait a minute and shut off the power. Some folks will perfect their own technique, (I can always make it more complicated) but you could simply make it this way and enjoy a great vacuum cup every day. It makes one to three cups. I honestly think four are possible, but they are small cups (smaller than what passes for coffee cups in my house). Best of all it is consistent vacuum coffee.

Now wait your turn, Kevin.

Now wait your turn, Kevin.

Harold Kim will be at CoffeeCon. He will both host a booth, where he usually brews and a class, where he will brew and share tips. I’ve said many times my favorite coffee brewers are both easy to use and possible to tweak. This one covers it. I’ve urged him to bring extras to sell at CoffeeCon. I know the moment I see a brewer like this I have to have one.

The vacuum should rightfully be more popular for one additional reason: in an age of rising coffee prices (at least the kind I drink) it is a fuel miser (to borrow from Road and Track). At a time I see connoisseurs heaping 13 gram per cup doses in pourovers, this baby delivers a powerful cup on 8-9 grams per cup. The only coffee machine that does a similarly thorough full-efficient extraction is the much-costlier Bunn Trifecta. Also, with both of these there’s the additional cost savings that comes from being able to make one to three cups with just a simple adjustment. With drip methods you need to at least think about grinding finer or varying the water-to-grounds ratios.

Come say hi to Harold. Take a taste. See you at CoffeeCon on April 12.