How to prepare coffee with an electric drip coffee maker

Drip coffee makers are one of the most popular and accessible options for brewing coffee at home, in the office, and in public places. This technology is characterized by its simplicity and ability to conveniently prepare large quantities of coffee.

This brewing technique is appreciated for its convenience and consistency. However, any coffee can be improved through proper technique. In this article, I will teach you the steps to achieve a delicious cup of coffee with a drip coffee maker.

What is an electric drip coffee maker?

An electric drip coffee maker, also known as a filter or automatic coffee maker, is a device used to brew coffee through an infusion process. Drip coffee makers generally consist of the following components:

  1. Water reservoir: Holds the water that will be heated and then released over the ground coffee. Some coffee makers have a water level indicator to measure the amount needed for brewing.
  2. Coffee filter: Ground coffee is placed in a disposable paper filter or a reusable metal filter. The filter retains the ground coffee while allowing hot water to pass through it.
  3. Filter basket: The structure where the coffee filter is placed. It is usually located above the carafe or thermal jug where the brewed coffee is collected.
  4. Heating element: Heats the water to the appropriate temperature for brewing coffee. Once the temperature is reached, water is released in a controlled manner over the ground coffee.
  5. Carafe or thermal jug: Collects the brewed coffee. Some coffee makers include a heating plate under the carafe to keep the coffee warm, while others use thermal jugs that maintain the temperature without additional heat.
  6. Control panel: Modern coffee makers often feature buttons or digital controls that adjust the amount of coffee to brew, the strength of the coffee, and, in some cases, even programming the start time to have coffee ready at a specific time.

The brewing process in an electric drip coffee maker is usually straightforward: water is heated and poured over the ground coffee in the filter. As the water passes through the coffee, it extracts the soluble compounds that give coffee flavor, color, and aroma. The filtered liquid drips into the carafe, which is collected as brewed coffee ready to be served.

➡️ You might be interested in Russell Hobbs coffee maker user manuals.

Advantages of electric drip coffee makers

One of the main advantages of drip coffee makers is their ease of use. No special skills are required to brew coffee, making them an excellent option for those who are not expert baristas.

These coffee makers can also prepare large quantities of coffee at once, making them ideal for events, meetings, or large families. Versatility is another notable advantage, as you can adjust the strength of the coffee by controlling the amount of water and coffee used in the preparation.

Quality of coffee with an electric drip coffee maker

The quality of coffee brewed in an electric drip coffee maker is influenced by several factors.

Using freshly ground coffee is essential for good taste, as the time between grinding and brewing affects the freshness and flavors of the coffee. Factors like the ratio are also important for preparing a perfect cup of coffee with an electric drip coffee maker.

What is the perfect ratio for the drip coffee maker? My ideal recipe

As I always say, having a personal recipe for each type of machine and coffee you use is very important. From here, you can add small modifications according to your tastes or other circumstances that affect the final taste of the coffee.

In this recipe, I am going to brew coffee for two people:

  • Coffee beans: 30 grams.
  • Grinding: Coarse (size between sand and sea salt).
  • Filtered water: 500 grams.
  • Filter: Standard paper filter.
  • Water temperature: boiling*.

*After many tests, I have discovered that adding boiling water to the tank of the drip coffee maker is very beneficial to the extraction process. Cheap electric drip coffee makers do not have enough power to heat the water to the necessary temperature if we put cold water.

Weighs the coffee beans on a scale
Weighs the coffee beans on a scale

Important: Using a scale and a clock is fundamental to ensure that the ratio and extraction time are respected according to our recipe.

Importance of grinding in the preparation of coffee with an electric filter coffee maker

The electric drip coffee makers have a Melitta-style filter holder with a small hole at the bottom. This restriction in the drainage will allow more contact time between the coffee and the water, unlike other methods such as the Chemex or the Hario V60.

Because of this restriction in the filter outlet, we must use a coarse grind, so if you have a burr grinder, we will look for a texture between sand and coarse salt. If you do not have a grinder, buy ground coffee with a coarse grind.

Coarse grind - size between sand and sea salt
Coarse grind – size between sand and sea salt

The first modification to the traditional use of the electric filter coffee maker.

These electric drip coffee makers have a heating plate in their base that we do not want since it generates too much temperature and is like overheating the coffee. This produces a bitter and astringent taste, in addition to eliminating the volatile components of the coffee that are the ones that make us feel the flavors.

The idea is to place some thin pieces of wood between the decanter and the heating plate; in this way, the decanter is not in contact with the plate, and the coffee does not overheat.

Place some small pieces of wood between the heating plate and the carafe
Place some small pieces of wood between the heating plate and the carafe

Preparation of coffee with a drip coffee maker. Step by step

  • Fold the filter and place it inside the coffee maker.
  • When the water comes to a boil, we pass a little water through the filter to eliminate the taste of paper, and in passing, we heat the carafe. Then, discard the water.
  • Add the 30 grams of ground coffee, shake a little to level it, and cover it.
  • We turned on the machine and began the extraction.

The second modification to the traditional use of the electric drip coffee maker

After a few seconds, we will see the first drops fall, and then we will turn off the machine. We open it, and with a chopstick or other tool with round edges (so as not to crack the filter), we will stir the coffee well, ensuring all the parts are moistened.

  • Then, we let it rest for 30 seconds. This is the most important part since it prepares the coffee beans for extraction. After this time, we turn on the machine, leaving it quietly until it is finished.

Note: I recommend leaving the timer on while the extraction is taking place to know how long it takes to finish. The whole process for this recipe should take between 3 and 4 minutes since we use a 1:17 ratio. For each gram of coffee, we use 17 grams (or milliliters) of water.

Recommendations when varying my drip coffee maker recipe

If you want to prepare more than 2 cups of coffee, I recommend that in the middle of the process, when a few minutes have passed, you turn the machine off again and stir a little. Then cover and turn it back on.

This will help the water to pass through all the parts of the coffee since the machine tends to pass water only in the center, over-extracting this zone. It also helps to lower the temperature a little bit in case, after several minutes, it starts to get too hot.

I have tried making four cups with 60 grams of coffee and 1 liter of water, and it took about 5 and a half minutes. Making up to the maximum capacity of the coffee maker should never take more than 8 minutes.

If you do not drink all the coffee right after the preparation, you should keep it in a thermos to maintain the temperature, but never leave it on the hot plate since, as I mentioned before, it damages the coffee.

This is a super simple and ideal method to prepare a good amount of coffee and share it with friends or family. In addition, you can make a big difference with a few small changes. If you know someone with one of these coffee makers, you can share this article with him or her.

Written by Pablo Barrantes Nevado
I am Pablo Barrantes, a coffee lover. I decided to start this website to solve all the doubts that arise every day when preparing our favorite drink: coffee. I am an industrial engineer by profession, but I have worked in coffee shops for many years, where I have learned all the secrets about coffee machines and coffee. My passion for coffee has led me to investigate and study beyond the obvious, and thanks to this, I can offer solutions and give news about coffee and coffee makers. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I research, document and write here.

Leave a Comment