Drip coffee brewing is a very popular form of coffee making. But what are the best drip coffee makers?
Drip coffee is a method that involves pouring hot water over coffee grind through a filter. The water seeps through the ground coffee in the filter, absorbing its oils and essences, then passes through to a container at the bottom. The used coffee grounds are captured in the filter with the liquid dripping into a carafe or pot.
The History of Drip Brew Coffee Makers
The infusion brewing process became popular in France, roundabout 1710. It involved dunking the coffee ground, enclosed in a linen bag, into hot water and letting it brew or “infuse” until the desired strength was achieved.
The first modern method of making coffee with a filter, drip brewing, is more than 125 years old. Throughout all these years the design idea behind the method hasn’t changed much.
The Biggin, originating in France roughly 1780, consisted of a two-level pot containing the coffee in a cloth sock in the upper section into which water was poured. The water then drained through holes into the bottom section with a coffee pot below.
The quality of the brewed coffee depended on the grind size, if it was too coarse the coffee was weak; too fine and the filter got blocked. A drawback of the cloth filter, is that it transferred its taste into the filtered coffee.
Melitta Bentz invented paper coffee filters in Germany, 1908. Nowadays these are commonly used for drip brewing worldwide. Some machines do have permanent filters that can be reused. The first electrical drip brewer was patented in Germany, called the Wigomat. It was invented by Gottlob Widmann in 1954.
To a great extend the drip coffee makers became much more popular than the coffee percolator in the 1970s. This was because of the percolators’ tendency to over-extract coffee, making it too bitter. Till today it remains a big debating point between coffee connoisseurs, some preferring the robust taste of a cup of percolated coffee and others preferring the more mild taste created by the drip brew method.
Permanent filters are made of thin perforated metal sheets or fine plastic mesh, restraining the coffee grounds but allowing the water to pass through. They eliminate the need to purchase separate filters, which are sometimes difficult to come by. The permanent filters do add extra schlep to the maintenance of the machine, but it does reduce the overall cost and is less wasteful.
The big benefit of using paper filters, is that the used coffee grounds and the filter can be thrown away together, instead of having to clean the filter.
Drip Brewing Methods
There are several manual drip brewing devices on the market. These offer a little more control over brewing factors than the automatic machines, such as stopper valves and other features that offer greater control over the steeping time and coffee to water ratio.
A very handy little device is a small, portable, single-serving drip brew maker. It holds the filter and rests on top of a mug or cup and as the hot water is poured in, it drips directly into the cup.
The difference between brewing with a paper filter and a permanent metal filter, is mainly that the paper filter traps all the sediments. The paper filter produces clear, light-bodied coffee but usually it’s lacking in some coffee oils and essences because of the density of the filter.
When you look closely at the coffee pot, you will notice that the coffee at the bottom of the pot is stronger than at the top. This is due to the fact that as the extracting process continues, less flavor is available for extraction from the coffee grounds.
A mathematical theory has been formulated that it is possible to deliver two cups of comparable strength by using a Thue-Morse sequence, or binary sequence, of pours.
The reversible or “flip” pot is a less familiar drip brewing form, commonly known as Napoletana. It is a drip brew coffee maker for stove top. Unlike a Moka express, it doesn’t use steam pressure to force the water through, instead it relies on gravity to push the water through the coffee grounds.
It comprises of a bottom section which is filled with water, a filter section in the middle with ground coffee and then an upside-down pot placed on top. When the water reaches boiling point, the entire coffee maker is flipped over to let the water filter through. After the water has dripped through, the water-boiling and filter sections are removed and the coffee is served from the pot.
Pros and Cons of Drip Coffee Makers
The automatic drip coffee makers are very straightforward and easy to use. They also offer minimal clean-up afterwards, especially the ones using paper filters. Worldwide it is one of the most popular, standard brewing methods of coffee lovers.
If you enjoy the ease and convenience of a coffee maker you will most likely purchase pre-ground coffee. This is one of the reasons why coffee makers don’t produce the ideal cup of coffee. If you grind your own coffee beans, you will be able to produce a higher quality cup of coffee.
It is a very user-friendly coffee maker. Firstly you open the lid on top of the machine and add the water, measuring the amount according to the number of cups you want to make. Ensure that the coffee pot is securely in place to make sure that the filtered coffee does not spill out when dripping through. Next, measure out the coffee grounds per cup. The average ratio is roughly one tablespoon per cup. If you prefer stronger coffee, two tablespoons are advised. Place the coffee ground into the filter. Everything is then ready for the brewing to begin, all you need to do then is press a button to start the filtering.
– Reasonably priced
– Easy to use
– Permanent filters are messy to clean and can become unhygienic
– The automatic method does not produce the ideal cup of coffee
The Best Drip Coffee Makers
The following are three top rated drip coffee makers that we highly recommend.
Sizes: 3-Cup | 6-Cup | 8-Cup | 10-Cup
This stylish coffee maker includes a polished wood collar with leather tie for easy handling when hot. It has been selected as one of the 100 best designed products of modern times by the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Please note, special Chemex filters are required for all Chemex coffee makers. Not compatible with other filters. This is a beautiful coffee maker to celebrate the traditional coffee brewing methods.
Size: single and 12-cup combo
This nifty machine gives you two brewing options, single cup or 12-cups. The single cup pourer fits a 14-oz travel mug.
The water reservoir also has an easy, one-time filling option for the single-serve side. It has a multilevel cup rest to fit all cup and mug sizes for the single-serve. A pod holder snaps onto the single-serve brew basket to hold soft pods.
Select your brew strength between regular and bold. Regular will produce a mild cup of coffee while bold will produce a stronger cup.
The control panel has a pre-programmed timer options with a two-hour automatic shutoff function.
Coffee pot options: stainless steel or glass
The 1400-watt heater ensures that the water is heated to the ideal temperature of 195-205°F (91-96°C). It is engineered for exact water and coffee ground contact time, extracting all the oils and essences from the coffee ground, for a full-bodies flavorsome cup of coffee.
The special showerhead filtration system ensures complete saturation of the coffee ground and optimal extraction. It has a simplistic, easy to use one-touch brew operation and the durable, stainless steel lined thermal coffee pot keeps coffee hot for longer.
The coffee pot lid, filter basket and showerhead are all dishwasher safe and all parts are made of BPA-free plastic
If you want a stylish, traditional drip coffee maker, we recommend the Chemex Classic Series Glass Coffee Maker.
For the coffee lover that enjoys a take-away cup of coffee, the Hamilton Beach Single Serve and 12-cup Coffee Maker is ideal. It is also a good option for a single person or couple, who enjoys hosting.
The Bonavita Coffee Maker with thermal coffee pot is perfect if you are looking for a reliable coffee maker with the add-on feature of keeping your brewed coffee hot for longer.