Syphon temperatures

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
DamianWarS
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#1: Post by DamianWarS »

I've had a syphon for a little but I found coffee to come out a little harsh and I haven't used it for a while. That was until I got a very light roast and I thought a coffee like this would pair well with the syphon as it brews at near-boiling temps. While I was setting it up I put a digital thermometer just to track the changes of the brew water and to my surprise the highest it went was 90c but usually it stayed around 88c, 89c. I enjoyed the light roast in the syphon and I have been grinding finer and finer each time. Right now I'm at the edge of filter and any more finer and it would be in the espresso range but it hasn't gotten astringent yet. but my initial reasons for the coffee being harsh seems to not be based on high temps as the temp of the top was never really going that high. I brew it over a gas range so the flame/height would be consistent as it was before (although I never checked the temp before) the flame is actually got quite a bit of space between it and the syphon so I'm thinking this is why the temp is a little lower at the top but I was surprised by the results that the water was this temp to begin with. What are typical temps of the water at the top of a syphon? does it reach near boiling if the bottom has more aggressive heat?

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TomC
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#2: Post by TomC »

I use a Thermopro Thermopop for measuring the temp of my siphon brewer. Starting with boiling water from my gooseneck, and the lamp maxed out, I usually see about 93ºC. A few times I'd let it go for like 5 minutes before tossing in the coffee and I could get it a bit higher, but it takes a ton of heat to get it anywhere near 100ºC.

Grinding finer and agitation is my go-to method.


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yakster
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#3: Post by yakster »

You can influence the temperature by when you mount the funnel to the base. When you mount the funnel to the base when you just start to see water vapor bubbling up through the water (which appears well before boiling temps are reached) then you'll have a cooler temp in the funnel. The later you wait, the higher temps you should see. You can also use the lid to help retain heat, if you desire.

I let the water rise up into the funnel fully before adding the coffee and I usually allow two minutes immersion time for 5 - 8 cups of coffee in my Yama 8 before removing the siphon from the heat to start the draw-down. I know that one minute immersion time is common with smaller siphons, you should be able to influence the astringency based both on temp and immersion time.
-Chris

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jpender

#4: Post by jpender »

yakster wrote:You can influence the temperature by when you mount the funnel to the base. When you mount the funnel to the base when you just start to see water vapor bubbling up through the water (which appears well before boiling temps are reached) then you'll have a cooler temp in the funnel. The later you wait, the higher temps you should see.

That's not water vapor, at least not mainly. The early bubbles when heating water are due to dissolved gases coming out of solution, mostly CO2.

Whatever. The physics of syphon/vac pots is similar to moka pots in that the presence of air in the boiling chamber lowers the temperature for a given pressure. The sooner you mount the funnel the more air will remain and that air adds pressure. Lacking that air the water has to be hotter to attain the same pressure. That's it in a nutshell; not to say that this explains how to make a good brew.

DamianWarS (original poster)
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#5: Post by DamianWarS (original poster) »

TomC wrote:I use a Thermopro Thermopop for measuring the temp of my siphon brewer. Starting with boiling water from my gooseneck, and the lamp maxed out, I usually see about 93ºC. A few times I'd let it go for like 5 minutes before tossing in the coffee and I could get it a bit higher, but it takes a ton of heat to get it anywhere near 100ºC.

Grinding finer and agitation is my go-to method.

image
so that counters my logic as to why there's a harsher taste or why a lighter roast would be better. I always thought it was bear boiling like cowboy coffee that gets filtered but if the temps are about 93ºC then this seems the ideal temp for coffee. I add coffee after the water has risen to the funnel, stir it pretty good and turn off the heat at about 1:45-2:00. I do another stir when I turn off the heat, ratio is 20g/300ml. any ideas for a new method or things to tweak?

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mkane
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#6: Post by mkane »

Thanks for the memories. It's been so long since we have used this I wouldn't know where to start.

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John P

#7: Post by John P »

Proper temperature for syphon should be lower than one would think, but are in fact HIGHER than other brewing methods.

I am at elevation here in SLC, and my temp is at 189 F (87 C).
My best guess is it would be around 195 ish (91 C) at sea level.

A properly executed siphon does note lose temperature during the active brew cycle. Other brew methods have a declining temperature profile and the average temp of the brewing cycle is lower than the temperature of the syphon.

I always teach that numbers chasing for any manual brewing method, and especially for the syphon, is not a good or even correct way to learn how to brew coffee.

Understand the process.
For (F)press, and all pour over methods, the concept of "just off boiling" is an easy concept to understand, after that, it becomes a timing issue. After you understand how to arrive at a desired result by tasting, then measure the temperature and you will have a greater understanding for brewing with your specific equipment in your environment.

For syphon, allow the lower bulb to reach boiling, grind coffee, coffee in top chamber, seal top chamber into bottom bulb and control the ascent of your water. Temperature increases and decreases the agitation in your brewing. Agitation is extraction. Be aware of the simultaneous effect of this and proceed accordingly.
John Piquet
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John P

#8: Post by John P »

yakster wrote:...
I let the water rise up into the funnel fully before adding the coffee ....
Yea...This is not ideal. I specifically highlight this as "bad technique" in a Blog piece I wrote in 2017 https://aikibarista.blogspot.com/2017/0 ... tiful.html
"Here's the issue: Think about every other coffee brewing technique you know. The water meets the coffee. The coffee does not meet water. Pour over/Drip - coffee grounds in a cone, water poured over coffee grounds. French Press - coffee grounds go into the press pot and water is poured in. And the principle holds true for espresso - coffee grounds go in the portafilter and the water comes down to meet them. This is a basic nuts and bolts explanation: The importance of pre-wetting and even, controlled saturation allow for the water to penetrate and work its way past the surface of the cellular walls and bring out the oils out from within the tiny cellular structure of the coffee. Having all the grounds hit the water at once do not allow for any gradual or even pre-wetting and the immediate exposure to the full temperature of the water causes only the oils from the outermost cells to "pulse" out while essentially sealing the other flavorful oils within the deeper cellular structure. So in a nutshell, If you don't have proper order of technique, ... "water meets coffee," then because of what happens to the oil and because of what doesn't happen to the oil you create both off flavors and an incompleteness of flavors... not so much in intensity, but very much so in terms of nuance and dynamics."
John Piquet
Salt Lake City, UT
caffedbolla.com

Yan

#9: Post by Yan »

I use thermometer at the lower bulb until 92-93C, kalita wave grind size, push the top bulb, until majority of the water going to the top bulb, drop the coffee, stir and wait for 3:00 min and shutdown the burner wait till done, I use the Hario V.60 filter cut rounder about 5mm larger than stainless plate spring, syphon were fun but cleaning is very painful, I slipped the top bulb and broken when cleaning, a bit too expensive to replace the parts. Now just a plastic pourover dripper no more brewing with syphon. :D


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cannonfodder
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#10: Post by cannonfodder »

I fill my base and put my coffee in the upper then set it aside. I heat the base until the water inside reads around 195 then I put the top on. It will start to rise almost immediately. At about half full I stir the grounds and turn down the heat to slow the rise. After about 2 min I kill the heat and let it drawdown. Gives me about a 3 min soak.
Dave Stephens