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Reviewed: The Siphonysta is The Luxury Car of Coffee Makers, But Does it Work?

Coffee culture has come a long way since the days of the percolator with the average coffee drinker now exploring cold brew, pour-overs, and even travel coffee makers. But one growing market is siphon coffee, and the Siphonysta by Tiger is one product making a splash in the homes of those passionate about the bean.

Siphoning is trendy, so you might assume it just popped up in the last few years, but it actually dates back to the 1800s. Silex, now known as Proctor Silex, introduced the first vacuum siphon coffee maker to the US in 1915. The reason vacuum coffee makers fell out of fashion likely has to do with their fussiness. They look like laboratory equipment, and they practically require a doctorate to use. That’s why Tiger, a Japanese company founded in 1923 that specializes in vacuum technology, sought to modernize and streamline siphon brewing. The result is the Siphonysta, an automated siphon coffee brewing system. I had a chance to test out this sophisticated brewing machine as SPY’s resident coffee enthusiast. Read on for my Siphonysta review and detailed experience with this unique machine.

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros

  • High tech design
  • Should fit under most kitchen cabinets
  • Sleek buttons

Cons

  • Hard to reliably use
  • Plastic taste after first uses
  • Pricey

Setting Up the Siphonysta

The Siphonysta seeks to simplify the siphon brewing process but looking at the instructions for this machine, it’s not clear how successful they were in doing so. There are many parts involved, and the instructions recommend washing each individually, including the small gaskets. I did this, and immediately lost one of the gaskets.

Jonathan Zavaleta | SPY

Fortunately, a helpful representative for the brand dispatched a replacement part for me, but it highlighted an immediate issue with this machine. Neither Tiger’s website nor their Amazon page lists replacement parts for this machine, which is a considerable setback given the hefty price of the unit and the plethora of small gaskets and parts involved. Even if you’re smart enough to not lose parts, unlike me, parts break and wear out, and should be easier to replace.

That said, the machine is pretty space-saving, certainly compared with a regular siphon coffee maker. It comfortably fits on my counter under my low kitchen cabinets.


Brewing With The Siphonysta

Like all siphon brewers, the Siphonysta creates a vacuum to brew coffee. To be frank, I still don’t fully understand how it works, but I gather that creating a proper seal is an important part of the process, which is why I wasn’t willing to forgo the tiny gasket I lost to test this machine. Unfortunately, creating a proper seal was harder than I expected it to be. There’s an upper chamber and a lower one. The lower is filled with coffee and the upper is filled with cold water. From there, you choose your preferred brew setting with the incredibly sleek light-up touch switches.

Courtesy of Tiger

The coffee maker then dispenses water to the bottom chamber and pulls it back up through the top chamber. Once it’s finished brewing, you pull the lever to dispense coffee into your cup. Throughout the multiple attempts at brewing, I ran into a variety of issues. On some occasions, water would sputter out of the sides of the brewer. Another time, coffee filled the top chamber but wouldn’t come out of the spout. In another instance, water filled the bottom chamber, but the process stopped there.

I did successfully brew coffee at one point, but the largely plastic construction of this machine left an aftertaste in the coffee. It’s a new machine, so I’m certain this flavor will eventually dissipate, but it was an offputting first experience. This isn’t an issue you’ll encounter with a French press, pour-over, or traditional vacuum coffee maker, which are all typically glass or ceramic.

The challenge with this machine is properly sealing the two chambers to the middle bracket and locking those components to the machine itself. Though it’s seemingly intuitive, with illustrated dots to line up the seals, I had a hard time feeling confident that I had gotten a proper seal.


Verdict: Should You Invest in the Siphonysta Coffee Maker?

What came to mind upon using this machine was an Italian car — sleek, luxurious, and incredibly cool, but also expensive and potentially unreliable. At $700, this is an expensive machine, even judging by the standards of niche siphon coffee makers. Yama makes a siphon coffee maker for $65 and Hario makes one for around $75. To say the Siphonysta is more convenient than a traditional siphon brewer might be a hard sell.

The way I see it, this is ultimately a luxury coffee maker and one that’s aimed at the specialty coffee enthusiast who’s willing to go a little further than popping a K-cup into their Keurig coffee maker. Even for coffee enthusiasts, it’s hard to offer a full-throated endorsement of a $700 coffee maker, even if it reliably made the best coffee I’d ever had. Which, unfortunately, it didn’t. There’s no reason to expect that Tiger, a company with as much experience as it has, won’t nail it next time. But the Siphonysta 1.0 isn’t quite there yet.

Courtesy of Amazon