Syphon Coffee on Sept. 29, National Coffee Day

4191 Adams Ave. at Edgeware Rd.
San Diego, CA 92116

For National Coffee Day we wanted to try something new so we ventured to Kensington for syphon coffee at Tanuki. What’s syphon coffee? It’s a vacuum process requiring 2 chambers and a mini-science experiment. But what does that mean? Wikipedia explains the process in terms I didn’t understand until I saw the process at work in Tanuki. For visual learners like me here are the steps in photos:

First a flame is lit under the brass chamber containing water:

Then coffee grounds are put in the glass chamber on the left:

As the water in the right chamber is heated, expansion forces it through the narrow tube connecting the 2 and into the coffee grounds where the coffee brewing starts:

Finally, the hot coffee is forced back through the connecting tubes into the brass chamber where it will soon be ready to drink:
The process was invented by Loeff of Berlin in the 1830s. If you’d like it explained in more scientific terms see

The staff at Tanuki will light the flame and monitor the process (taking about 10 minutes and making 16 ounces). We were advised to wait before sampling the coffee as it tastes better when it’s slightly cooler. There is only one syphon coffee maker, so know that you may have to wait your turn.

The beans for the syphon are from Intelligentsia. While they are not a local roaster they are a highly regarded company with several San Diego coffee shops serving their coffee. To learn more about them see  If you order a cup of drip coffee at Tanuki those beans come from local OB Beans ( “OB” stands for “Ocean Beach”, the neighborhood at the end of Interstate 8 in San Diego.

Our syphon experience was $8. Tea, sake, sushi, salads, and pastries are also available. Monday through Saturday they open at 10:00am and close at 10:00pm, but closed from 3:00 to 5:00pm. They are closed on Sundays. Free parking is available in front of the building at Edgeware Rd., but there is also plenty of free street parking along Adams Ave.

Why the name Tanuki? It’s a raccoon-like character from ancient Japanese folklore.



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1 Response to Syphon Coffee on Sept. 29, National Coffee Day

  1. equipsblog says:

    Another charming coffee place. You introduced me to Nitro coffee. Not sure I will try this one, reminds me of press pot coffee. I tried a craft apple cider that was blended with Nitro coffee and it was much better than I expected. The apple cider was made by Blue Toad Cider in Nelson County. (They are not my favorite cidery, but this one was nice.)

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