Invented in 1840 by Scottish marine engineer Robert Napier, the vacuum method brews coffee that some people judge as the best of all - a brew as full-flavoured as that made in a French press, yet hotter and almost as clear and sediment-free as drip coffee. In fact, some fans of the vacuum pot say that it yields coffee that tastes just like it smells. But a vacuum coffeemaker, which resembles laboratory glassware, is cumbersome and fragile, and requires painstaking attention and careful storage.

The ground coffee is placed in the upper globe and held in place by a filter. Cold water, poured into the lower globe to the half-way mark, leaves pressurised air in the other half. Heating the lower globe causes the air to expand and consequently forces the water up the tube into the upper globe. When the heat is taken away, the pressure decreases and the now infused coffee filters down into the lower globe.