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Inspired by John Park’s Florence Siphon Brewer article in MAKE, Volume 17, Boris Legradic of Switzerland made this “cruder” version, mostly out of scrounged parts. In email, he says: “…it adds a certain je ne sais quoi with the potential for burning your flat down.”

Bare-bones Vacuum Coffee

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor for Boing Boing and WINK Books. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.


  • Bob Darlington

    It is really bad practice to use lab ware as kitchen ware, and it’s just plain stupid to use it in the kitchen if it was ever used in a lab.

    • Boris Legradic

      Bob, I know you mean well, but trust me when I say I know what I am doing. I know what has been in that glassware, and it’s nothing I’ll regret putting in my morning coffee!

  • John Park

    Boris, I love the aesthetic of it! Much more MacGuyver than mine!

    Bob, I know what you mean, I’ve heard it from many people. You’ve got to be REALLY careful that you are starting with brand new glassware, and I also see that point that you don’t want people becoming careless about ingesting things from labware.

    • Bob Darlington

      As a young chemistry major, I knew a few people that would use beakers for beverages -at least until the death of one of our colleagues. Multiple organ transplants, chelation therapy, and prayer did not help heavy metal poisoning from lead and mercury compounds. NEVER use stuff from out of lab, even a nutrition lab!

  • vivi

    What’s the advantage of this method over the standard gravity method ? I assumed the vacuum would be used to force the liquid through the coffee and filter, but it looks like it’s only used to suck coffee from the puddle inside the filter …

    Also, he mentions that glassware has been banned from his lab because it’s too dangerous (how ?). I wonder what they’re using instead.

    • Boris Legradic

      Hey vivi,

      in answer to your questions:

      We are now using stainless steel in the lab – glassware was considered too dangerous because it might break. Don’t worry, I don’t get it either, but that’s safety officers for you. Maybe it’s because we are physicists, and only chemists can handle glass safely?

      Vacuum siphons have the advantage that the coffee is brewed at near-perfect temperature, just below boiling. But mainly I like to do it that way because it’s cool ;)