The KitchenAid Siphon adds all the entrancing visuals of a campfire to your morning coffee routine. One tester called it a, "…coffee volcano that I can't take my eyes off of." Its unique brewing style made the smoothest and least bitter coffee in our testing, but that smoothness came at the expense of some strength and flavor. Overall the Siphon is a fun machine, but it is very expensive and difficult to clean, and there are other less expensive machines that make better tasting coffee. If you're looking for a high end coffee maker we would recommend the OXO Barista Brain, because the novelty of a coffee volcano eventually wears off, but great tasting java lasts forever. However, if you value smoothness over strength in your coffee (and are willing to pay extra for it), the Siphon may be a worthy addition to your kitchen.
KitchenAid Siphon Review
Pros: Visually entertaining, very smooth tasting coffee
Cons: Coffee so smooth it lacks some flavor, difficult to clean
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The KitchenAid Siphon is the most aesthetically charismatic of the coffee makers we tested, but its difficult to clean design can be a bit of a drag in the long run.
The KitchenAid Siphon's overall score was below average in our testing, mostly because of its difficult to clean design and average tasting brew. Below we discuss the Siphon's performance, pros, and cons in each of our individual testing metrics.
The Siphon earned a fairly mediocre 5 out of 10 in our taste testing. This was right in the middle of a metric where scores ranged from 2 to 9. The coffee it produced was wonderfully smooth and almost completely devoid of bitterness, but it also missed out on a lot of the taste and flavor that other machines produced. If you're a big fan of mellow, softer brews than you will likely love the coffee that comes out of this machine. If you're looking for the bolder flavors of a dark roast, however, you'll be disappointed by the Siphon's offering.
The Siphon again had the worst score of 4 out of 10 in our user friendliness testing. This was far off the top score of 9. Since the coffee brewing method isn't exactly common, you'll probably have to read the manual before brewing. That is a minor sacrifice to make for the spectacle of watching the Siphon brew, so we didn't dock it too many points for that. The Siphon did lose a lot of points because it had our testers' least favorite carafe. The lip around the opening is quite awkward, requiring you to tip the carafe almost upside down to get the coffee out, and even then it's a somewhat slow pour. This lip is clearly there to accommodate the eccentric brewing process, but after the awe of watching a few coffee volcanoes wore off were left wishing the carafe was easier to pour.
The Siphon again earned the worst score in this metric, notching a 3 out of 10 in our convenience tests, which saw scores as high as 9. Due to extra required prep and cleaning time it took us 14 minutes to makes 6 cups of coffee with the Siphon. This was the slowest time in all of our testing. The Siphon is also not programmable, so none of the prep time can be completed the night before. Overall we wouldn't consider this a good machine for making coffee quickly in the morning before work.
Ease of Cleaning
The Siphon got low marks in our cleaning tests. It earned the worst score of 4 out of 10, well behind the top score of 9. The reusable mesh filter saves waste but does require a bit more cleaning than paper filters. However, this is a fairly minor annoyance. The Siphon mostly lost points because both the glass orb and the long, narrow siphon that protrudes from it must be hand washed. Due to the odd shape this washing felt difficult and, because you have to be super careful not to knock the glass orb into the sink, rather precarious.
At a list price of $250 the KitchenAid Siphon is the most expensive coffee maker we tested. If you like mellow tasting coffee and don't mind paying for the Siphon's enjoyable spectacle, this is a decent value. However, machines like the OXO Barista Brain make much better coffee and cost less. Most of our testers even preferred the coffee made in the BLACK+DECKER machine we tested, which costs 1/10 what the Siphon costs.
The KitchenAid Siphon is an enjoyable novelty, but the coffee it produces caters to those that like very soft, mellow brews. Those who enjoy dark roasts will be disappointed. Plus, it is very expensive and was the most difficult to clean of the machines we tested, so most people will be better off looking elsewhere.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata