To start off, let’s talk about drip coffee machines. There are perhaps the machines we have all been more exposed to in history and throughout the various forms of media: after all, they have been featured in countless movies and shows, in those scenes shot in a drive-in or in a police station. These coffee machines are typically recognizable because of their big carafes placed in the front and the top lid where everything is loaded.
The process behind these machines is quite simple. Because what gives off coffee’s aroma and flavor are the oils contained in the beans (and subsequently the grounds) when they are immersed in hot water, these machines do exactly that by dripping boiling hot water on the coffee ground powder. After the hot water sits with the grounds and absorbs the good stuff, the liquid is pushed down through the filter, which is there solely for the purpose of preventing the solid chunks to pass through (and avoid making your coffee feel “grainy”), and collected in the carafe. The machines may then feature a heater which keeps the freshly brewed coffee warm for some time.
Now, to perfectly brew a tradition cup of joe with a drip machine, there are three main ingredients to keep in mind and select, apart from the machine itself. First of all is the coffee: the finer the blend, the more surface area is exposed to the water, thus allowing more of its essences to be dissolved in water. Secondly comes the filter – paper filters are the most commonly used because require no maintenance (as you simply dispose of them and use a new one). Brewing coffee with a paper filter provides a smooth, grain-free beverage at the cost of flavor, because the paper absorbs part of the oils that make a coffee stronger – using a metal filter will give off a stronger coffee, but it will have some of the smaller grains floating around. Thirdly comes the water temperature: the hotter the water, the faster it will be at dissolving the oils before being pushed down towards the filter.
With all the ingredients considered, preparing the machine is fairly easy: foremost you have to make sure the carafe is in place to avoid wasting anything. You then open the lid and pour in the water container the amount of water recommended by each individual machine for the number of cups you desire to make (because each machine is different, consult the manual for this step). After that, take one filter if you use paper ones, rinse it in water (separately, in the sink for example) to make sure any loose paper fibers or dust particles are removed; or insert your reusable metal or ceramic filter after cleaning it thoroughly if you use those. Next comes the part that takes some practice to perfect – the coffee. Take a spoon and place the recommended amount on the manual first (a general guideline is to use around 2 tablespoons for each cup of water). There goes your first brew.
On your successive brews, feel free to add more coffee grounds or remove if you want a stronger/weaker beverage. And keep in mind to never leave any previously coffee in the carafe while the machine heats up, as it can potentially overheat it and cause it to burn, completely ruining its flavor.