How to brew coffee like it's the 19th century

Brew coffee 19th century style with a balancing siphon

You’ve got your French press, your coffee cone, and your Moka Pot to name but a few ways to make coffee. But how about a 19th-century balancing siphon? Boing Boing showed off this throwback contraption in the video above and it certainly has some flair to it.

The balancing siphon was notably used in Belgium by the royal family who would make their coffees using the device, as well as in France:

By 1850 the double-globe glass coffee maker had generally fallen out of favor in France, and the fashionable Parisians embraced the next incarnation of the vacuum brewer – the Balancing Siphon. In this arrangement, the two vessels are arranged side-by-side, with a siphon tube connecting the two. Coffee is placed in one side (usually glass), and water in the other (usually ceramic). A spirit lamp heats the water, forcing it through the tube and into the other vessel, where it mixes with the coffee. As the water is transferred from one vessel to the other, a balancing system based on a counterweight or spring mechanism is activated by the change in weight. This in turn triggers the extinguishing of the lamp. A partial vacuum is formed, which siphons the brewed coffee through a filter and back into the first vessel, from which is dispensed by means of a spigot. Sometimes called a Viennese Siphon Machine or a Gabet, after Louis Gabet, whose 1844 patent included his very successful counterweight mechanism, the Balancing Siphon was both safer than the French Balloon, and was completely automatic.

via Brian Harris

The good news is you can buy your own balancing siphon on Amazon but they aren’t cheap. Here’s a list of 4:

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