Drip Coffee

Drip coffee is where most coffee lovers start. This familiar brewing method has become a cornerstone of daily routines and cozy kitchens since Gottlob Widmann invented the first electric drip coffee maker, the Wigomat, in 1954.

Wigomat automatic coffee maker
The 1950s Wigomat has a lot in common with today’s coffee makers. (Christos Vittoratos | Wikimedia Commons)

At its core, the technique involves gravity guiding hot water downward through ground beans to extract the coffee, which drips out through a filter into a carafe.

It’s essentially pour-over coffee, but it’s brewed by an automatic machine rather than human touch.

The popularity of this brewing method is easy to explain:

  • Simplicity and consistency: Drip coffee makers offer a straightforward, user-friendly experience. Just add water and coffee grounds. The machine handles the rest, and delivers consistent results every time.
  • The filter factor: Drip coffee uses a paper filter to catch oils and fine particles, so it produces a cleaner, crisper cup with less sediment than methods such as French press.
  • Flavor profile: With the right grind, the slow drain from the filter basket allows full extraction that highlights the subtleties and complexities of the coffee.
  • Convenience for crowds: Drip machines cater to quantity. Most can brew 8-12 cups at a time, making it an ideal choice for serving multiple people without sacrificing quality.

Ultimately, drip coffee is all about ease, consistency, and the joy of a reliably good cup. It’s a beloved method for both novices and coffee aficionados.

How To Brew Drip Coffee

Automatic drip coffee machines come in all shapes and sizes. On some, the features and buttons can be overwhelming. At their core, though, these machines share a straightforward method of operation that is consistent across the board.

Whether your coffee maker is a basic model or boasts a dashboard that rivals the cockpit of an aircraft, the fundamental steps are the same, so let’s focus on those universal steps:

  1. Plug in the machine. No nuances here—just make sure it has power.
  2. Fill the reservoir, ideally using the carafe. Ensure the water level is about 25 per cent above your desired coffee volume.
  3. Use a medium grind of coffee in the filter.
  4. Place the filter in the machine’s filter basket.
  5. Add two level tablespoons of coffee grounds for each small cup you want to brew.
  6. Press the brew button. Sometimes this is just the power button.
  7. Wait 4-5 minutes for brewing to finish. The drips will slow and then stop.

Some machines have a brew-pause feature and will stop brewing if you remove the carafe early. When in doubt, wait it out.

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