Saturday, December 1, 2012

Drip Coffee Making Techniques

Some rules from decades of drip coffee making using German-made machines - Melitta, Braun, etc.

  • Measuring is crucial. Most manufacturers use their own measures. Typically,   one drip coffee measuring spoon/scoop makes one drip coffee cup (water volume) of brewed drip coffee.  Neither measure is standard so it's useful to find out what your machine really uses in standard units - metric or English.   
  • A drip scoop of finely ground coffee is close to 2 tablespoons in volume.  In metric units that's about 30 ml (milli-liters).  Sometimes weighing ground coffee is convenient.  The density of  uncompressed (loose) dry ground coffee is about 0.25 grams per ml  For compressed finely ground coffee, it's closer to 0.4 grams/ml..  So one scoop weighs about 30 x 0.25 g/ml,  or about 7 grams.  You can test this by weighing several scoops on a small postal scale.  One ounce (not fluid ounce) weighs 28.35 grams.   Two scoops should be close to one ounce. Zero out the empty container weight first.  (We all forget to do this at least once)..
  • One "cup" of drip coffee uses five to six  fluid- ounces of water. In metric units that's 150 to 180 ml.    Note: these are volume measures.
  • Make just the right amount.   Don't attempt to use the full capacity of a ten cup maker.   And making one cup at a time won't work well with a large coffee maker. 
  • Selecting the right grind is important.  If the grains are too fine, they will clog the filter. If they are too coarse,  the extraction will be poor.  
  • Water contact time and temperature are important parameters.  Properly calibrated drip coffee makers do this for you.   I like to use Melitta style paper filters (line-bottom cone) in combination with the gold mesh.  Simplifies clean up. 

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