Syphon is definitely for the home brewing scientist! Once your skills are honed with syphon you can manipulate results by amending agitation, heat, dose and grind variables. This is definitely a process for the hands on brewer.
Run the cloth filter under hot water to clean it out. If you are using a new filter, run the brew cycle through once, or let it sit in a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes.
Place the filter in the top chamber then drop the metal filter chain down the tube at the base of the chamber. Pulling down on the metal chain to make sure that it is hooked to the base of the tube and that the filter is centered in the upper chamber.
Measure and grind, as a starting point use 19 grams of coffee for brewing in a Hario TCA-2 (2 cup syphon), this is a ratio of 1:15. The grind on a syphon, as a general rule, is around medium-coarse, between filter and plunger. Many users grind finer, however we find you have better control at a coarser grind, a finer grind simply means a shorter brew time and therefore higher risk of over-extraction. Do not add the coffee just yet.
Pre-boil the water on a stove or in an electric kettle. Pour water into the bottom (bulb) chamber and place the top chamber askew on top of the bulb chamber. Do not fully push down and seal the top chamber to the bulb chamber yet. Start the burner and when small bubbles start to appear, seal the top chamber to the bottom by pushing it down in the center until it is snug. The water should begin to rise into the upper chamber shortly after. As the water starts rising, turn down the burner.
When all the water gets into the top chamber and the burner has been turned down to a low/medium setting, insert a thermometer to check the water temperature. You want the temperature of the water to be between 92° and 96°. Coffee beans will react differently at different temperature levels, so experiment! If you don’t have a thermometer, then give a couple of stirs with a wooden spoon or paddle which should bring the temperature down into that range. At this point you want to make sure there aren’t any large air bubbles coming up through the filter. If there are bubbles, you may have to center the filter with the stirring utensil or turn down the burner a little.
Add the coffee and start agitating. You do not want to cause a whirlpool so move the paddle/utensil back and forth patting down the crust. After 1 minute of total brew time, remove the heat source and give the coffee a final stir as the water starts to draw down back into the lower chamber. A cool rag can speed the rate of the draw down if it takes too long (coffee will taste bitter of draw down is too long).
Serve and enjoy. Remember with syphon to never let your cloth filter to dry out.