Most of us begin our day with a cup of coffee–a part of breakfast, you might say. However, having to spend time visiting a coffee shop to get your dose of caffeine seems a little inconvenient. This is why it's always great to have your own brewing equipment.
Whether it's your household kitchen or the one at your office, drip coffee makers are the most common brewer we can encounter. Perhaps it's because one doesn't really need much knowledge and skills in order to operate them. In addition, most of these brewers produce coffee in batches that somehow saves time, especially if there are a couple of other drinkers at the place.
In this article, we will be sharing with you a complete guide that will mostly answer the questions you have about drip coffee and the drip coffee maker.
What Is Drip Coffee?
Automatic coffee makers use the drop or gravity method, wherein water is poured over a bed of coffee to extract its flavors. The coffee will then pass through a filter to trap the grounds and unwanted residues. The end product drops down at the bottom part of the brewer or serving vessel.
This is where "drip coffee" got its name since you literally drip water to the coffee to brew it.
How Does A Drip Coffee Maker Work?
Drip coffee makers utilize thermal pressure in the brewing process of the coffee. Water is heated until it reaches its boiling point, using thermal pressure to bring steam to the showerhead. After which, the water will then spray over the coffee grounds, saturating them evenly. By the time the water penetrates all of the grounds, coffee will begin to fall into the coffee pot.
Three Components Of A Coffee Maker
Coffee makers have been around for many years. And as time passed by, the innovation and modernization of the device improved its design and function. Now, models come with advanced, handy, and easy-to-use features.
If you disassemble a modern drip coffee maker, there are basically three parts you will find:
The reservoir is like a bucket that houses the water that will be used for brewing. At the bottom part of this bucket, you will find a hole with a tube that connects both the reservoir and showerhead. This tube is where hot water passes through when brewing begins.
The shower head is where the hot water from the reservoir arrives. This component is also responsible for spraying the water and saturating the dry coffee grounds during brewing. In another type of coffee machine, shower head looks like a perforated disk where water will simply drop onto the coffee grounds.
Aside from the reservoir and shower head, coffee maker also has a heating element. This is composed of an aluminum extrusion with two parts–the resistive heating element and an aluminum tube.
The heating element is actually a coiled wire similar to a bulb filament. This will heat the water for brewing once you put it in the coffee maker and keep the coffee warm once it's brewed. On the other hand, the aluminum tube is another path where the brewing water passes through to be heated.
To summarize, here is how a coffee maker works:
- Once you put cold water into the reservoir, this will flow through a hole and into a tube.
- Because of gravity, the water flows through the valve and into the aluminum tube.
- When you turn the drip brewer on, the resistive element will start heating the aluminum tube. Since metal is a good conductor of heat, the water will eventually reach its boiling point.
- During boiling, bubbles will start to rise up and into a smaller tube. Since the bubbles are too big, a column of water will go upwards instead.
- The water will be brought by the small tube to the shower head, where it will be dispersed to the ground coffee.
- The coffee will then be saturated and extracted, flow out or the basket in liquid form, and all the way into the carafe.
Tips In Making Coffee Using A Drip Coffee Maker
We all want our cup of coffee to consistently be delicious. So here are essential tips you can use when brewing with a drip coffee maker.
Freshness is a crucial component in brewing, so it is recommended to purchase whole beans and grind them on demand. If you have the means, it is best to buy your coffee directly from roasters to ensure freshness is at its maximum. Most of the time, coffee will begin to lose its freshness after two to three weeks.
However, if only pre-ground coffee is available, ensure to always store them inside an airtight container and place it in a cool, dry location.
Drip coffee is usually the best-tasting when the grind size is set at medium-fine to medium-coarse. Having them ground at these consistencies will prevent extraction issues, resulting in a brew that's too mild or too bitter.
In addition, investing in a top-grade grinder helps ensure that the coffee can extract the best flavors. Burr coffee grinders uniformity in grind size as compared to what a blade grinder can offer. Although blade grinders are cheaper in price, burr grinders guarantee quality and consistency.
Another critical component is the type of water you use in brewing. Tap water is filled with minerals that may affect the overall flavor of your coffee. At the same time, distilled water lacks magnesium and calcium that are necessary to retain the water's flavors. These two options are also harmful to your machine.
The most ideal type of water to use for brewing is filtered water. This will offer a cleaner and more flavorful cup of coffee for you.
Three Different Coffee Brewing Phases
During the brewing process of the coffee, it undergoes three phases–blooming, dissolution, and diffusion.
Roasting coffee allows carbon dioxide to be trapped in the beans. This air repels water, so it is important to degas the coffee at the first stage of brewing. Blooming is when a small amount of water is poured over ground coffee in a matter of seconds. This is how we remove the carbon dioxide and bring in the best flavors and aromatics as well.
This process is where the coffee's flavors and oils are dissolved. Note that the good parts present in coffee dissolve quicker, and the bad ones take longer during dissolution. This means time is an important factor in this stage–make sure to stop the dissolution of your coffee in time.
Once the water penetrates the coffee particle, the chemicals inside will dissolve, and oily substances will start to emulsify. Through the process of diffusion, these substances will then move into the coffee bean and reach out to its outer surface in the form of caffeol.
How To Clean And Maintain Your Drip Coffee Maker?
Like any other equipment in our home, coffee makers won't last long if we do not keep them well cleaned and maintained. Coffee beans leave out oil deposits that may affect the flavor of your future brews.
If you need tips on cleaning your coffee maker, here are some hacks you can use.
Coffee makers are the most common method of brewing used in households today. Despite drip coffee lacking the oils, flavors, and character that can be found in other brews, it will still continue to be a popular choice for its affordability and convenience.