The TCA-5 Cup model is simple to use and brews a great cup of coffee.
Positive Product Points
TCA-5 cup model. Simple sturdy design. Hard rubber seal on the upper bowl is easier to deal with than the Hario Deco.
Negative Product Points
A bit odd when pouring. I don't like the dark brown plastic/rubber color on the handle, cover and rubber seal. Small opening makes it a little more difficult to clean. Only makes 5 cups, which I can only share with three people.
This is my second Coffee Syphon. Both of the syphons I own are made by Hario (the other is the 5 Cup Deco).
I use the Technica at my office and it always gets a lot of oooh's and aaah's. I do not use the included cloth filter or alcohol burner. Instead I am using a cory glass filter and the micro burner. Both make it much easier to have at the office since I don't have to store the cloth filter and don't have to keep a supply of alcohol for the burner at the office.
I have not had any problems with any hot water exploding when using the Technica at the 5 cup mark, as I have read in other reviews, but I am very careful when using the micro burner, making sure that the flame is not too strong. I pre-heat the water in an electric kettle before adding it to the lower globe. After pouring the hot water into the lower globe, I start the micro burner up and place it underneath. I then grind the coffee and place it into the upper globe (unfortunately I use a whirly blade grinder at work). When placing the upper globe on top, I do not push down onto the globe. Instead I lightly rest it up top and because of the hard plastic seal, there is no need to push down. This also makes it easier to remove. On the Hario Deco, the seal is a softer rubber and I have to push the upper globe down to make a tight seal, which makes it a little more difficult to remove when the brewing is complete.
Once the water has travelled up top, I stir the coffee with a chopstick and leave it "up north" for about a minute to a minute and a half. I then shut off the micro burner and watch as the coffee travels back down. When the brewing is complete, all I have to do is lightly rock the upper globe a little bit and this breaks the vacuum seal. The lid doubles as a stand for the upper globe which seems a little akward, but as long as you are careful, knocking it over shouldn't be a problem.
Serving the coffee also seems a little bit akward with the handle and bowl positioned the way it is, but again, as long as you are careful, not a problem.
For clean up, the opening on the lower globe is a little small, but the use of a baby bottle brush comes in handy for a light scrubbing. To dry the lower globe, I simply re-attach the lower globe upside-down to allow the water to drip onto a paper towel, while the upper globe sits in its stand to dry.
A great deal from eBay for $45 with shipping included.
Three Month Followup
This has become my workhorse coffeemaker using it almost daily. There have been no problems to date. I only wish they made a 10 cup version so more people could share the coffee here at the office. Other than that, this has been one of my favorite coffee makers ever.