Siphon (also known as vacuum) brewing, is a coffee-making technique that predates the advent of the paper coffee filter; a romantic, old-school brew method, involving glass bulbs, bunsen burners and bamboo paddles. The process, as detailed by Blue Bottle Coffee, a coffee-geek’s cafe and a champion of the siphon method, is no doubt time-and-labor intensive. But it’s tough to argue with the result: a beautiful, clean cup of coffee, nearly tea-like in its subtlety and nuance.


Taking first steps towards bringing the siphon brewer into a new era is Davide Mateus, a Portugal-based designer, and his design, the Café Balão. With the Café Balão, Mateus has retained  all the elements that make a siphon brewer desirable to coffee lovers with one crucial update: the addition of an electric coil immersion heater, which takes the place of the traditional alcohol-burning heat source, cutting brew time down considerably.

At present, the Café Balão is only a prototype, but Mateus is working to adapt it for mass production. For more pictures and sketches, visit the Café Balão project page.

[Image credit: Davide Mateus – Café Balão]

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