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Drip Coffee Maker Brewing Guide
The drip coffee maker attracts attention with its low price—the average model only costs as much as a good electric kettle.
And drip coffee makers brew just as good coffee as their more complex "competitors."
Let's find out how a drip brewer works, how to choose the optimal model, and how to use it correctly.
What Is Drip Coffee?
A drip coffee maker is the easiest and most affordable way to make filter coffee. Thanks to its ease of use, this type of coffee machine is used all over the world.
A drip coffee maker is usually used to prepare several cups at once. It gets its name from how coffee is prepared in it: hot water drips through a filter full of ground coffee. At coffee shops, drip coffee may also be known as "batch brew" coffee or "regular coffee."
There are many models of drip coffee makers on the market, and they differ in functionality, quality, and design.
Pros and Cons of Drip Coffee Makers
Drip Coffee Maker
How Does a Drip Coffee Maker Work?
A drip coffee maker is a very simple device that has four main components:
- heating element
- water tank
- infuser with filter
- heat-resistant carafe
Cold water is poured into the water tank, and coffee grounds are poured into the filter.
Pressing the button starts the brewing process. When heated, the liquid reaches a temperature of 212°F (100°C) and turns into steam, which enters the top of the coffee maker.
Then condensation occurs. The steam becomes water as the temperature drops to 194°F (90°C), which corresponds to the conditions for preparing coffee, reminiscent of the characteristic taste of a classic Americano.
The hot water then drips into the filter and through the coffee grounds and brewed coffee flows into the carafe.
How to Brew Coffee With a Drip Coffee Maker
Drip Coffee Maker
Brew Time: 7-9 Min
Yield: 4 Cups
What You Need
1. Pour the required amount of water into the tank using the carafe.
2. Place a paper or metal filter in the coffee compartment.
3. Grind the required amount of coffee and pour into the filter; slightly level the surface.
4. Replace the carafe and press the power button.
5. Wait until all the coffee has dripped into the carafe.
Use a coarse grind with a drip coffee maker. You will need a burr coffee grinder suitable for filter grinding. It can be either a manual or an electric coffee grinder.
Any roast can be used for filter coffee. A good light roast coffee, when brewed in a drip coffee maker, will reveal acidity and sweetness, fruity and floral notes. A drink made with medium roasted coffee will be less acidic and will taste nutty and like caramel. Dark roasted coffee will remind you of the taste of dark chocolate—- this drink will appeal to those who do not like acidity in coffee at all.
A drip coffee maker boils the water (then it cools down to an acceptable 92-90°C), so it is important to use water with low mineralization and to regularly decalcify your coffee maker by following the instructions in the manual.
The dosage is determined using the standard ratio of 1:17 (59 grams (2 oz) of coffee per liter of water (33.8 fl oz)). For example, to make 472 ml (16 fl oz) coffee, you will need 31.5 grams (1.1 oz) of ground coffee.
The majority of drip coffee makers use all the water in the tank while brewing, so you just need to add the amount of water that matches the amount of coffee you want to brew.
You should not measure coffee offhand, because the slightest deviations in proportions significantly affect the result. For a stable result, it is best to weigh your ground coffee on a scale before brewing.
Serving (Brewed Coffee)
Regular Coffee 1:17
Strong Coffee 1:14
First, pour a small amount of hot water through a paper filter to remove any papery taste. The smaller the volume of brewed coffee, the more important this step is.
Then pour the ground coffee into the filter and distribute it evenly over the funnel so extraction proceeds correctly.
Some drip coffee makers have a built-in nylon filter that does not need to be moistened with hot water. However, it should be washed thoroughly each time you brew coffee.
Pre-wetting helps to improve the taste of the coffee and make the results more consistent. If your coffee maker has this function, we recommend that you always use it. The smaller the volume of coffee you brew and the fresher the coffee, the more influence pre-wetting has on the taste.
The total brewing time depends on the amount of water used. Generally, brewing will take anywhere from 2.5 minutes (for 8 fl oz/250ml of water) to 6 minutes (for 67 fl oz/2 liters of water). If your brewing time takes too long or doesn't last long enough, you can correct this by changing the grind: reduce the grind size if the coffee brews to quickly; increase the grind size if the coffee brews too slowly.
And remember, there is always room for experimentation—try different beans, vary the grind size, or put a few ice cubes or chunks of frozen fruit in the carafe so the hot drink chills immediately and becomes especially sweet.
What Are the Filter Options for a Drip Coffee Maker?
Filters are the most significant part of a drip coffee maker. Most often, drip filters are tapered, cone-shaped. These are types of filters you can use with a drip coffee maker:
- Stainless steel
Paper filters are popular due to their low cost and the fact that they work well.
A paper filter will remove foreign tastes and smells and taste from the drink and must be discarded after use. Before use, you should pre-moisten the paper with hot water so that there is no papery taste in the finished coffee.
The good thing about a stainless steel filter is that it is durable and filters as efficiently as a paper one. But it causes coffee to acquire a characteristic flavor, and it must be thoroughly rinsed after each preparation. This option is not suitable for busy people.
A nylon filter also has a long service life. One filter lasts for about 60 preparations before deteriorating. Like a metal filter, a nylon filter needs to be washed regularly.
A gold filter is similar to a nylon filter, but has a titanium nitride coating. This increases its service life, which also increases the cost.
What Features Do Drip Coffee Makers Include?
Coffee maker manufacturers often try to stand out from their competitors by introducing various innovations into their inventions for long-term and safe use. Below are the features to look out for when choosing a coffee maker:
- Overfill protection - the device will turn itself off if the container is overfilled.
- Floating filter basket - this makes it more comfortable to pour coffee.
- Automatic stand heating - the coffee will stay hot for a long time, and the heating element turns off automatically.
- Automatic dosage - you can set a program for the optimal ratio of coffee grounds to water.
- Strength settings - the two settings are usually "regular" and "strong."
- Timer - this is used to program your coffee maker to brew coffee at a specific time.
- Temperature indicator - you can tell how hot the drink is. Red indicates a temperature of over 150°F (65.5°C); black indicates that the coffee has dropped below 150°F and is considered cold and unusable.
- Switch for number of cups - allows you to prepare your desired volume of coffee, generally anywhere from 4 to 8 cups. When this function is enabled, extraction time changes. The strength of the drink also changes.
- Anti-drip system - a very handy feature for those who like to enjoy great coffee in the office or who want to grab a cup of coffee before brewing is finished. Brewing stops while you remove the carafe and starts again when you replace the carafe. High-quality drip coffee makers usually include this system, which is also known as "spill-stop."
- Coffee grinder - the addition of a coffee grinder is very convenient for those who love an all-in-one device, those who don't want to grind coffee manually, and those who don't have a grinder. This function is convenient because it allows you to grind coffee for a specified number of cups. Some coffee makers even have grind size adjustment.
Cheap models of drip coffee makers have a minimal set of functions, while more expensive ones have much more useful functionality. Additional options include a three-stage filter that removes chlorine, nitrates, and scale. Some coffee makers are equipped with a stainless steel heating element or an illuminated switch.
Can I brew Espresso?
You can only brew filter coffee in a drip coffee maker.
For espresso, which is made with high water pressure, you'll need an espresso machine.
How Is a Drip Coffee Maker Different From a Pour-Over Coffee Maker?
Pour-over brewing consists of pouring hot water over ground coffee. The water flows through the filter and into the carafe.
While this may sound like drip coffee, it is actually quite different. Drip coffee is made in a coffee machine that drips water automatically. You just need to fill the filter with ground coffee and press the start button.
With a pour-over, you have to gently pour the water, control the flow, stir the ground coffee, and tune the filter. It's a completely manual process that requires constant participation. In the case of a drip coffee maker, one of its key benefits is convenience, which is very important for busy or tired people.
Pour-over brewing, unlike a drip coffee maker, allows you to change the temperature of the water and the pouring speed as you like. This allows experimentation that can give the perfect cup of coffee.
How Does Drip Coffee Taste?
Unfortunately, drip coffee makers have very few settings for regulating the taste of the finished product. But you can take advantage of the features they do have to brew a great drink.
The first thing that can be adjusted is the strength of the drink, which depends on the amount of water and coffee used.
The strength is also affected by the speed at which water passes through the coffee grounds. The faster this process proceeds, the weaker the coffee will be.
If you use the coffee maker at minimum power, the coffee's taste will be much brighter. Therefore, when buying a device, be sure to pay attention to whether it has a power adjustment function.
The second thing to pay attention to is the taste of the water. This has a huge influence on the taste of the finished coffee, so don't just use tap water.
We recommend that you use special bottled water and compare different varieties in order to choose the best one for you. When you pour it into the tank, raise the bottle higher and take your time—if the water flows in a thin stream, it will have time to get saturated with oxygen, which will have a positive effect on the taste of the coffee.
Of course, you need to carefully choose the coffee itself. If you use great coffee beans, the drink will be aromatic and delicious no matter how you prepare it. So choose only high-quality varieties of freshly roasted coffee. And choose the grind based on the roaster's recommendations.
If you are lucky enough to find a good store that roasts beans, then try to visit them as often as possible—this will guarantee freshly roasted coffee. Beans become stale rather quickly, and this only accelerates if you choose ground coffee. Choose only freshly roasted whole beans.
How to Clean a Drip Coffee Maker
High humidity can easily introduce mold and bacteria into the coffee maker. The drip of the coffee maker needs to be cleaned after each use. A drip coffee maker also requires a monthly deep cleaning to remove scale, coffee oil, and other dirt. With a little work, you can keep your coffee maker looking great and working well.
Regular Cleaning After Each Use
- Disassemble the coffee maker. Disassemble all removable parts of the appliance, including the carafe, filter infuser, and other individual parts. These parts will need to be washed separately from the appliance itself.
- Wash the removable parts of the coffee maker. Immerse the removable parts in warm, soapy water and wash with a dishcloth, then rinse and dry. The removable parts of the coffee maker can be washed in the same way as you wash ordinary dishes.
- Wipe the outside of the appliance. Take a wet, soapy rag and carefully wipe the outside of the coffee maker. Remove any ground coffee from the cup warmer. When you're done, wipe off any soap residue with a clean, damp cloth.
After all the parts are dry, you can reassemble the coffee maker. It is now ready for use again. Make it a habit to clean your coffee maker this way after every use.
Instructions for Descaling Coffee Makers
How you descale a coffee maker depends on the design of the device. Coffee makers with a removable filter and infuser are convenient to rinse under the tap in running water.
If you regularly rinse the device after making coffee, then a thorough cleaning with citric acid or purchased tablets is needed no more than once a month.
Models with a built-in unit often have an auto-cleaning decalcification function; if this isn't provided, then remove scale with a cleaning solution.
Modern drip coffee machines and coffee makers often have an auto-descaling function. Turn on the auto-cleaning function and the smart machine will do everything by itself. Just add the cleaning solution or water, following the commands on the LCD screen.
Manually Descaling a Drip Coffee Maker
- Wash the filter with warm water and a soft toothbrush; put it back in the coffee maker.
- Prepare a descaling solution from citric acid: dissolve 30 grams (1 oz) of crystalline powder in 1 liter (34 fl oz) of warm water.
- Pour the solution into the water tank. Add cold water to the reservoir up to the “Max” mark.
- Turn on the coffee maker for 5-10 minutes. After 30 minutes, repeat the procedure and wait until the entire solution passes into the carafe.
- If there are still traces of scale on the filter, then it should be immersed in a hot descaling solution for an hour and then rinsed well.
- Pass clean water through the coffee maker several times to completely rinse out the citric acid solution.
You can substitute vinegar for citric acid. Use white table vinegar with a strength of 9%, dissolved in water in a 1:2 ratio.
Who Is the Drip Coffee Maker Suitable For?
If you are planning to purchase a coffee maker that will prepare a variety of drinks, such as lattes, espressos, and cappuccinos, then a drip coffee maker isn't suitable for you. Drip coffee makers exclusively brew a drink similar to an Americano, so only purchase it if you like Americanos and filter coffee.
But it should be noted that such a drip coffee maker is reliable and easy to use.
A drip coffee maker is perfect for both the home and small cafes, where you can prepare fresh and aromatic coffee in a matter of seconds. It does not take up much space and can be easily installed on a small countertop. In addition, it does not require special care other than descaling once a month.