The Hario Technica 5-Cup Glass Syphon Coffee Maker is "beautifully crafted for an expert cup of coffee". So say Hario themselves, who describe themselves as "the brand recognized by Coffee Geeks worldwide".
Two bold claims, backed up by images of a coffee maker unlike any you've seen before (unless you're a "coffee geek"). But can these claims stand up to scrutiny?
|Table of Contents|
|It's So Different||What Does It Actually Consist Of?|
|Customizing Your Hario Technica||Customising Your Coffee|
|Plastic Components||Is Cleaning A Problem?|
|Features & Specs|
|Accessories||Pros and Cons|
The Hario Technica Is So Different
It would be impossible for a company like Hario to produce a run-of-the-mill product. They just don't do it. One look at the Hario Technica 5-Cup Glass Syphon Coffee Maker proves that.
It looks rather like a piece of laboratory equipment, which isn't surprising. Hario have been producing laboratory glass since 1921, and specialize in heatproof glass.
The Technica is a vacuum coffee brewer that gives you total control of the brewing process from beginning to end. It's not for those who just want to press a few buttons and sit back while their coffee is prepared. And it's not for when you're in a hurry, grabbing a quick cup of coffee before rushing out to work.
It's for when you have some me-time. For when you have some friends round that you want to impress (it's a ready-made topic of conversation). For when you just want to take it easy, read a book, and spend some time adjusting your brew. Because the Technica takes its time. So is the brew it can produce worth waiting for? We'll take a look at the reviews presently to find out what people think about that.
What Does It Actually Consist Of?
Two glass bowls that clip together, a mechanism to hold them in place, a glass syphon and an alcohol heater. The two bowls are made of heat resistant borosilicate glass. There's a top lid, of plastic, that doubles as a stand on which to place the coffee container. And there's a cloth filter attached to the strainer. You also have a plastic measuring/stirring spoon.
And it just looks so good, standing there on the kitchen work top. It may not have any touch-screens or digital readouts, but it has class. The quality of build oozes out. It's sturdy, and can take any punishment you may care to dish out.
The bottom bowl that contains the freshly brewed coffee holds 600 ml - enough for three US cups. The height of it above the horseshoe stand where the burner goes is about 10 cm. It's by no means a large appliance, but it has unbounded potential.
Customizing Your Hario Technica
One of the things I love about this coffee maker is how customizable it is. The first way in which many users change it is to replace the alcohol burner for a butane burner.
The alcohol burner that comes with this machine is rather slow. The alcohol burns cooler, and the mechanism supplied cannot be finely adjusted. You could, of course, simply pre-heat your water and bring it to the boil with the alcohol burner. But with a butane burner it's even quicker, and you can have your pre-heated water boiling in less than a minute. Plus the strength of the flame can be easily fine-tuned to your needs.
At the present time a Yama Mini Butane Burner for Tabletop Siphons is available on Amazon for less than $50.
Many users also change the cloth filter. You can purchase Hario Siphon Cloth Coffee Filters fairly cheaply, and you can also wash them for repeat usage. Even so, you may prefer to use a metal filter for ease of cleaning, and which works just as well. Alternatively, you could use paper filters, though you'll need a different filter holder.
Customizing Your Coffee
If you really want to experience the full range of what this coffee brewer can produce then you need your own bean grinder. And a good one at that. No other way round it, I'm afraid. By experimentation you can discover what your preferences are.
You can produce a weak or strong brew, or anything in between. For those new to coffee brewing, hot water filters through a coarse grind quickly and results in a weak brew. With a fine grind it takes longer, and extracts more flavor, resulting in a stronger brew.
The type of filter you use also has an effect on the taste of your coffee. And the roast of your beans makes yet another difference. Then there's the amount of water you start off with. And the ratio of water to coffee grinds. You can spend hours, and dozens of coffee drinking sessions, using different permutations to discover what you like best. A tough job, but, hey, it's just got to be done, right?
Oh, and did I mention? - you can also make tea with it. Shhhhh!
What About The Plastic Components?
I've mentioned that there are a few plastic components in the Hario Technica. In particular the top lid and the mechanism that joins the two glass bowls are plastic.
However, neither the water nor the coffee grinds come into contact with either of these items at any stage. When the water boils in the lower bowl it transfers to the grinds in the upper bowl via a glass tube. At that stage you should be lifting the lid at the top so you can stir the brew. But even if you didn't, the water wouldn't reach the lid unless you had seriously over-filled the lower bowl.
There is a plastic spoon supplied as part of the kit, but you can always use a metal spoon instead.
Is Cleaning A Problem?
Cleaning the Hario Technica is very easy, as long as you're not in too much of a hurry. Even when the coffee appears to have filtered fully through there may still be a vacuum holding the bowls together. Just wait another minute or so and then they will be easy to separate and clean.
If you then remove the filter carefully you can dispose of the grounds easily. Then, if you use the original cloth or a metal filter, it's just a question of rinsing it.
The glass components are dish-washer safe, though personally I would always hand wash them.
Features and Specifications:
Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 4.9 x 6.5 inches
Item Weight: 3 pounds
Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
Item model number: TCA-5
Accessories for the Hario Technica
- Yama Mini Butane Burner for Tabletop Siphons (check the current price on Amazon by clicking here)
- Hario Siphon Cloth Coffee Filter Syphon (check the current price on Amazon by clicking here)
- Hario Siphon Bamboo Coffee Maker Stir Stick (check the current price on Amazon by clicking here)
- Diguo Permanent Coffee Filter (check the current price on Amazon by clicking here)
Pros and Cons
- Makes delicious coffee that you can customize to your taste
- 600 ml/3-large cup capacity
- Easy to use
- Easy to clean
- Sturdy, robust build
- Alcohol burner non-adjustable and weak
- Cloth filter needs washing after each use (best to use paper or metal)
Watch this useful YouTube Video of the Hario Technica being put through its paces -
Consumer Ratings for the Hario Technica
Coffee maker reviews can contain some very damning criticism, much of it unjustified. Fortunately, this coffee brewer has escaped any such misfortune so far. At the time of writing, the Hario Technica has only been available long enough to have just over 120 reviews on Amazon. It has an average score of about as close to 5 as you could hope for from that number of reviewers. Nearly 80 per-cent of reviewers have given this product the full five stars.
One reviewer after another praises the smoothness and sheer good taste of the coffee this machine produces. The quality and strength of the Technica are also rated very highly.
Many users have discarded the alcohol burner supplied and gone for a butane burner, which speeds the brewing process considerably. Others have taken to using a metal or paper filters. Nevertheless, nearly all these reviewers have still left a five star score. This says much for the overall quality of the Hario Technica, as well as how it endears itself to its owners.
The Hario Technica 5-Cup Coffee Syphon is tremendously popular among its owners. As well as being the centerpiece of conversation at any social gathering, it produces coffeehouse quality coffee.
For no more than you could easily pay for a dull, inferior coffee maker, you can purchase the Technica, a butane burner and a metal filter, and have endless fun experimenting until you have your perfect brew. And have your friends talking about it for a long time after.
And it's so different. We think you'll love this eccentric coffee maker, and have no hesitation in giving it our highest recommendation.