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What is Syphon Coffee?

Home > Melbourne > Coffee | Food and Wine |
by Melody Clifford (subscribe)
is a girl-about-town and general, adventurous, know-it-all.
Published January 21st 2012
Syphon #1
The science of coffee

Quite simply, syphon coffee is the 'in' thing for Melbourne coffee drinkers right now. It's prepared differently than the espresso-style mixes that we're all used to and provides a much gentler, less bitter, flavour to consumers. 

Syphon coffee comes served in a laboratory-style, glass beaker and sipping on a cup is much closer to the experience of enjoying wine or a flavoured tea, rather than that of a creamy, milk, drink.

What's the difference?
With syphon coffee, the beans are roasted at a much lower temperature than other types and remain fairly green, even after being in the oven. After being ground, the powdered beans are steeped in hot water and stirred. The coffee drink is then pulled through a fabric filter from its pot, into a clear receptacle, using a natural cooling and vacuum process.

Syphon #2
Very lightly roasted coffee beans (source:, photo by: Dan Bolllinger)

Why bother?
The low temperature roast preserves many of the delicate coffee flavours we typically loose through overcooking and poor preparation by baristas who burn coffee at the machine. If you're even slightly discerning about taste, you'll quickly pick up on the contrast. A syphon coffee menu describes the different variations you can order; 'Crisp acidity, with a juicy tangerine mouthfeel and superior clean finish', 'Stone fruit nuances, with juicy mouthfeel and pineapple acidity' or 'Bright with berry and floral overtones', to name but a few.

It's not just talk. People who are very passionate about coffee can even train their palette, like wine experts do with a set of aroma kits. 

Syphon #3
A Hario brand coffee syphon from Japan (source:

What's it like?
If you're not used to black coffee, syphon coffee might appear quite strong when you first see it in the glass but take a sip and you'll soon realise, that even if you usually order coffee with sugar, with this one, you probably won't need to.

8232;Even if you're not enough of a connoisseur to distinguish the exact flavours, you'll probably notice that with syphon coffee, you naturally begin to swill it around in your mouth. There's also a necessary elegance in the glassware you'll use. A good syphon coffee cup will have a wide bowl to give access to the coffee's bouquet; Bodum double-walled cups or silicon-ringed Hario glasses, for example.

Is it expensive?
For around $5.00 per beaker, syphon coffee is not that much more than what you'd usually spend on a quick drink and it's definitely worth putting your money towards, if only so you know you've had the experience.

Syphon #4
Syphon coffee - a liquid delight

Where can I try it?
In Melbourne, syphon coffee is available The Auction Rooms in North Melbourne, The Sensory Lab inside David Jones, St Ali's in South Melbourne and Proud Mary's, Collingwood.

Have you tried syphon coffee already? Do you know of any other places where it's served? 
Any opinions on its flavours and style? Importantly, is syphon coffee going to bring about a big change in the world of Melbourne coffee or is this just a trend?
 We'd love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below.

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Why? Because you're a coffee connoisseur
Cost: Around $5.00
Your Comment
Delicious, isn't it?
by Writer (score: 1|13) 3126 days ago
just so you know that picture is of green beans, they have not been roasted at all. A filter roast is definately much lighter than espresso roast but will always still be roasted up until first crack and appear a lighter brown colour. Come in to Proud Mary sometime we can take some photos for you, Nolan
by nolan (score: 0|5) 3125 days ago
Thanks for a very informative article :)
by Fiona Anderson (score: 2|961) 2284 days ago
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