The Complete Guide to Drip Coffee Makers

Table of Contents

For many people, a cup of coffee in the morning is a ritual. But they also don’t have the time or patience for waiting for their cup of coffee to be ready. 

This is where drip coffee makers come to the rescue. Not only are drip coffee makers convenient they also have a very quick brewing time with not much knowledge needed to operate them.

What is Drip Coffee?

Coffee that is brewed by automatic coffee makers by dripping hot water over ground coffee is known as a drip coffee. If you are a regular coffee drinker then you have definitely drunk it many times.

How drip coffee makers work

Unlike espresso, drip coffee uses thermal pressure for making the coffee. Water is heated to boiling point which leads to the thermal pressure sending the steam to the showerhead. Now the hot water flows through the ground coffee evenly. Due to gravity the coffee falls in the coffee pot.

Components explained

Reservoir

The reservoir is a bucket that holds the water in your coffee maker. It has a hole at the bottom with a tube attached which connects the reservoir to the showerhead. This tube helps carry the hot water to the showerhead.

Shower Head

The purpose of the showerhead is to evenly drip hot water over the coffee grounds. It receives the hot water through the tube connecting the reservoir to the showerhead.

Heating Element

The heating element is present in the base on the left-hand side of the coffee maker. It has an aluminum extrusion which consists of a heating element and a tube. The tube allows the water to pass while the heating element heats the water. The heating element is a coiled wire which heats when electricity is passed through it.

Why is drip coffee famous?

While the final cup might lack many of the coffee oils and flavors the drip coffee is still famous around the world. The reason for this is how convenient it is to get a cup of coffee using the drip coffee makers. Also, they are quite affordable and aren’t too complicated in comparison to other brewing methods.

Making coffee using the drip coffee maker

Coffee Beans

While pre-ground coffee is easily available in the market, it is best to buy whole coffee beans and grind the beans at home. For extracting the maximum flavors, the beans need to be fresh.

It is also best to buy coffee beans from roasters who do it on the spot or keep beans which have not been roasted for more than 2-3 weeks. A coffee bean starts to lose its freshness and flavor just after a few weeks of being roasted.

Grinding

Many drip coffee makers come with an integrated grinder. If you go with a model that doesn’t have it then you should invest in a burr grinder. The difference between pre-ground coffee and freshly ground coffee is tremendous. 

The difference between coffee ground using a burr grinder and blade grinder is also huge. While the blade grinder might be cheaper, the results you will get with it will be similar to the price. Coffee beans ground using a burr grinder have uniform size and consistency. 

Water

The water that will be poured in the reservoir should be filtered. Tap water contains minerals that can affect the taste of your coffee. For a purer tasting coffee it is important to use filtered water. Also, hard water can be bad for your coffee maker in the long run. The minerals from your water build up in the coffee maker disrupting the flow of water.

Different coffee brewing phases

The coffee brewing can be divided into 3 phases – Blooming, Dissolution and Diffusion.

Blooming

During the roasting process, carbon dioxide gets absorbed in the coffee beans. It is important to remove this carbon dioxide from the coffee beans. To do that hot water is poured over the coffee grounds and let it sit for 30 seconds. Blooming is an important process and should not be skipped.

Dissolution

As the name suggests this process involves letting the flavors and oils in the coffee beans dissolve. The good parts of a bean cell are quicker in dissolving whereas the bad parts take time. So it is important to stop the dissolution process in time.

Diffusion

Diffusion involves getting the matter out of a coffee cell. This process is also known as osmosis. After dissolution, the osmosis pressure is unequal on both sides which leads to substances being taken out.

Cleaning and Maintenance of the drip coffee makers

Any coffee maker that is not regularly cleaned and maintained won’t last for long. Plus the oil deposits from coffee beans are going to affect the taste of your coffee. If you are using a paper filter then you can simply dump the grinds out. Whereas it is not important to clean the permanent filters every time. But they do need to be cleaned periodically. The cleaning can be as simple as rinsing the filter with water.

The carafe needs to be cleaned every time otherwise coffee or its stains will be left on it. Cleaning is the most important part of maintaining your coffee maker. After every quarter you can also decalcify your coffee maker by using a decalcifying agent and running it through the coffee maker. 

Final Thoughts

If you are a coffee drinker then you have drunk drip coffee before. It is one of the most common coffee brewing methods.

Although many of the coffee oils would be missing in the final cup of coffee due to the usage of a paper filter in extracting the coffee. Many people still prefer drip coffee due to its convenience, affordability and ease of use.

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