How to Make Drip Coffee (Specialty Coffee) - Coffee Brewing Guide

Learn how to prepare specialty Coffee (drip coffee) using a Drip coffee machine or a pour-over cone. Brew wonderful coffee at home following step-by-step guide with technical details.

What Is Drip Brew?

There are 2 main ways to brew drip coffee, with a drip coffee machine, or with a normal cone, the so-called pour-over method. There is a lot of hype about pour over, and the hype is sensible, because pour-over is a very easy way to brew a perfect cup, and there are less chances to mess up.

However, good drip coffee machines can brew you the same and you don’t need to spend an hour in the kitchen preparing coffee for all of your guests. You will see why pour-over is so general, and why most of the coffee makers are poorly designed, and you cannot get a decent cup from these cheap devices.

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How to Make Drip Coffee

A perfect cup of coffee is the result of a series of personal choices, methods, and perfect dimensions of quantities and time. Yes, there is the practical side of preparing drip coffee, where grind size, brewing time, and water hotness need to be perfect, but there is also the personal touch to it. This private preference can touch the roast type, the beans origins, and the type of filter used.

The Water

Water is important for drip coffee, and with poor water quantity, you’ll get an average cup of coffee. Tap water is not bad, but it has a bit too many mineral deposits which are going to show in your coffee. Distilled water is not good, because it has no minerals and will render your cup too flat.

Filtering your water before brewing is a great choice; make sure you pick a filter that doesn’t completely strip your water of minerals, but it eliminates chlorine and other mixes that impart strong taste or odors. Another great choice is bottled water; the best is spring water because it has a good balance of minerals.

The Grind

Although it is not as critical as with other brewing methods, the grind size is still very significant, so do not overlook it. The grind size is clearly marked on any decent burr grinder, and you can play with it within certain margins.

The Coffee Maker

The Drip coffee maker is the most important piece of equipment. Even if you are using a manual dripper, you have to be very careful when selecting it. An automatic drip coffee maker controls most of the measuring and timing tasks, so you don’t have to. This is why automatic drip coffee makers are so popular. However, you have to be careful when purchasing your equipment. Many coffee machines are built very economically, in order to save costs. This means that brewing parameters are not the primary concern.

These coffee makers are more expensive than the average machine on the market, but they are worth the extra expense. A coffee maker, for instance, could last you a long time, their reliability is renowned. If you cannot see yourself spending the money for a certified coffee maker, you can look at one of the budget drip coffee makers. While not expert, these are great appliances that can brew a great cup.

How Much Coffee and How Much Water

When brewing two cups only, the grinds don’t have the necessary time to fully absorb the water, and the imperfect saturation will result in a weak cup. This is why a drip cone is the best option for a single cup. Another great choice for drip style single serve is the Hamilton Beach Scoop, which is designed to brew drip single serve.

With coffee ground coarser, you may need a bit more, and conversely, if you grind finer, less coffee is needed, because the water stays longer in contact with the grinds, and because the saturation takes less time, hence you will have a better extraction.

Brewing Time

Depending on the brewing type, the time that coffee needs to be immersed in water is different. For drip coffee, (pour over, or coffee machine), this time is about 5 minutes. If your coffee machine drips too fast, you will have an under-extracted cup. If the water is not hot enough, that means between 195 and 205 °F, (between 90 and 96 °C), brewing longer will help you extract properly.