Drip coffee

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Water seeps through the ground coffee and the paper filter and is then collected in a container placed below a holder used for drip brewing.

Drip coffee is made by pouring hot water onto ground coffee beans, allowing it to brew. There are several methods for doing this, including using a filter. Terms used for the resulting coffee often reflect the method used, such as drip-brewed coffee, filtered coffee, or immersion-brewed coffee in general. Manually brewed drip coffee is typically referred to as pour-over coffee.[1][2] Water seeps through the ground coffee, absorbing its constituent chemical compounds, and then passes through a filter. The used coffee grounds are retained in the filter, while the brewed coffee is collected in a vessel such as a carafe or pot.


Paper coffee filters were invented in Germany by Melitta Bentz in 1908[3] and are commonly used for drip brew all over the world. In 1954, the first electric drip brewer, the Wigomat invented by Gottlob Widmann, was patented in Germany.[4] Drip brew coffee makers largely replaced the coffee percolator (a device combining boiling, drip-brewing and steeping) in the 1970s due to the percolator's tendency to over-extract coffee, thereby making it bitter.[5] One benefit of paper filters is that the used grounds and the filter may be disposed of together, without a need to clean the filter. Permanent filters are now also common, made of thin perforated metal sheets, fine plastic mesh, porous ceramics or glazed porcelain sieves that restrain the grounds but allow the coffee to pass, thus eliminating the need to have to purchase separate filters which sometimes cannot be found in some parts of the world. These add to the maintenance of the machine but reduce overall cost and produce less waste.


Brewing with a paper filter produces clear, light-bodied coffee. While free of sediments, such coffee is lacking in some of coffee's oils and essences; they have been trapped in the paper filter.[6] Metal, nylon or porcelain mesh filters do not remove these components.[7]

It may be observed, especially when using a tall, narrow carafe, that the coffee at the bottom of the coffeepot is stronger than that at the top. This is because less flavor is available for extraction from the coffee grounds as the brewing process progresses. A mathematical argument has been made that delivering comparable strength in two cups of coffee is nearly achieved using a Thue–Morse sequence of pours.[8] This analysis prompted a whimsical article in the popular press.[9]

Cultural impact[edit]

Coffee drips through coffee grounds and filters into several jars in a specialty coffee shop.

Filter coffee is central to Japanese coffee culture and connoisseurship.[10]

In South India, filter coffee brewed at home is known as Kaapi and is a part of local culture. Most houses have a stainless-steel coffee filter and most shops sell freshly roasted and ground coffee beans. Some popular filter coffee brands include Mysore café, Hill coffee (Suresh healthcare), Cothas Coffee (Bangalore) and Narasu's Coffee (Salem). It is common in South India and Louisiana to add an additive called chicory to coffee to give it a unique taste and flavour.[11]


There are a number of methods and pieces of equipment for making drip-brewed coffee.

Manual pour-over coffee preparation[edit]

Manual drip (pour-over) coffee

Pour-over methods are popular ways of making specialty drip coffee. The method involves pouring water over a bed of coffee in a filter-lined conical chamber typically consisting of a filter and a suitable filter holder. The filtering can be with paper, cloth, plastic, ceramics, or metal.[12][13]

The quality of the resulting coffee is extremely dependent on the technique of the user, with pour-over brewing being a popular method used in the World Brewers Cup.[13][14]

The pour-over coffee preparation method typically starts by pouring a small amount of hot water over the coffee grounds and allow it to sit for about half a minute before continuing the pouring. This pre-wetting, called blooming, will cause carbon dioxide to be released in bubbles or foam from the coffee grounds and helps to improve the taste.

There are several manual drip-brewing devices on the market, offering more control over brewing parameters than automatic machines, and which incorporate stopper valves and other innovations that offer greater control over steeping time and the proportion of coffee to water. There also exist small, portable, single-serving drip brew makers that only hold the filter and rest on top of a mug or cup, making them a popular option for backcountry campers and hikers. Hot water is poured in and drips directly into the cup.

Different filter shapes and sizes exist, most notable the (paper) coffee filter systems introduced by Melitta (1908, 1932, 1936, 1965), Chemex (1941) and Hario (2004).

Manual drip-coffee makers[edit]

Cafetière du Belloy and similar coffee makers[edit]

Enameled metal French drip coffee pot
Porcelain French drip coffee pot, with round drilled holes of the filter visible

Manual drip coffee makers include the so called French drip coffee pot (invented in 1795 by François Antoine Henri Descroizilles [de] and manufactured by a metal-smith in Rouen,[15][16] then popularized by bishop Jean-Baptiste de Belloy[15][16] for why it became known as Cafetière du Belloy [de] in Paris since 1800[17][18] to the point that it was sometimes incorrectly attributed to the bishop himself[19][18]), the Grègue [fr] (café grègue, café coulé, etc.)[20] originating from La Réunion and also common in Louisiana, and the so called Arndt'sche Caffee-Aufgussmaschine (Quedlinburg, Germany, c. 1900). French drip coffee pots don't use paper filters but a permanent filter featuring many small round drilled holes made out of (enameled) metal, ceramics or porcelain. A cafetière du Belloy was originally made out of tin, later versions were made out of silver, copper, ceramics or porcelain. The Grègue and the Arndt'sche Caffee-Aufgussmaschine are build out of (enameled) metal. To avoid sediments in the coffee coarsly ground coffee has to be used.

Around 1895, enameled metal coffee pots named Madam Blå [da] were introduced in Denmark by Glud & Marstrand [da]. They looked similar to French drip coffee pots, but used cotton filters and were available in 18 sizes for up to 50 cups of coffee.

A complete Drip-O-lator unit

The Drip-O-lator is an American coffee pot for making drip coffee patented in 1921 and in 1930 and manufactured in Massillon, Ohio,[21] or Macon, Georgia,[22] United States. The production of Drip-O-lators ceased in the middle of the twentieth century. The pots have become collectibles similar to bric-à-brac.[23]

In the 1930s, the German company Melitta produced a series of coffee makers called Kaffeefiltriermaschine ("coffee filtering machine"). They worked on the principle of French drip coffee pots, but used a paper filter and allowed to pour the whole amount of water at once instead of having to pour several times.

Karlsbad-style coffee makers[edit]

A variant of the category of French drip coffee pots is the group of "Bohemian" coffee pots including Karlsbad coffee makers (1910), Bayreuth coffee makers (2007), the Walküre cup filter (2011) and the Walküre aroma-pot (2016).[24] In contrast to French drip coffee pots they all use a special double-layered finely cross-slitted strainer made from through-glazed porcelain as well as a water spreader with six (or, in the larger models, more) large round holes. Before World War I, they were very popular in the Viennese coffee house culture. The special kind of drip coffee they produce is called a Karlsbader ("Karlsbad coffee").

Karlsbad coffee makers were historically manufactured by many porcelain manufacturers including Thun Karlovarsky [cz] (TK) (Karlsbad), Haas [de] & Czjzek [de] (H. & C.) (Schlaggenwald), Carl Tielsch (Altwasser), Max Thürmer (Dresden, Germany), Hutschenreuther (Bavaria, Germany), Rosenthal & Co. (R. C.) (Bavaria, Germany) / Rosenthal (Weiden/Kronach, Germany), Bauscher [de] (Weiden, Germany), Fayencerie Sarreguemines [fr] (France), Pillivuyt [fr] (France), and Siegmund Paul Meyer (SPM)[24] / Walküre [de] (Bayreuth, Germany)[24] / Friesland [de] (FPM) (Varel, Germany). Karlsbad coffee makers exist in a number of different shapes of unknown origin. The original shape appears to have been a cylindrical filter with two squarish handles combined with a ball-shaped pot.[24] Another style featured a somewhat trapezoid shape known as neukonisch ("neoconic"). In 1910, SPM incorporated the slitted Karlsbad filter into the design of a coffee maker with cylindrical filter form (523). In 1913, SPM introduced the now classical somewhat pear-shaped rounded form (599).[24][nb 1] This design was copied by other porcelain manufacturers.

In 2007, the so called Bayreuth coffee makers were created by designer Daniel Eltner for Walküre. A slick modernized form following the same construction principles as the traditional Karlsbad coffee makers, the design received the "Good Design Award 2008" of the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and the "Coffee Innovations Award 2008" in the category "coffee machines and mills" at the domotechnica fair in Cologne. It has been available in two sizes produced by Walküre up to 2019,[25] and since 2020 by Friesland.

As of 2023, Friesland is the only remaining manufacturer of any of them.

Napoletana flip coffee pots[edit]

A less familiar form of drip brewing is the reversible or "flip" pot commonly known as Napoletana (1819) and late-19th century variants like the Russische Eikanne ("Russian egg pot"), Potsdamer Boiler ("Potsdam boiler"), or the Arndt'sche Sturzmaschine (c. 1920).

Büttner and Bauscher coffee makers[edit]

Various historically patented System Büttner coffee makers manufactured in the first half of the 20th century by Büttner (Berlin, Germany) and Bauscher [de] (Weiden, Germany) for Maschinenfabrik Bremen (Bremen, Germany), Georg Schrader & Co. aka Geschraco (Bremen, Germany), Ferd + Eichhorn [de] and Heimbs & Sohn Co. [de] (Braunschweig, Germany) with special permanent porcelain filters combined steeping with drip-brewing.

Electric drip-coffee makers[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Porcelain manufacturer Siegmund Paul Meyer (SPM), based in Bayreuth, Germany, originally referred to the two different types of filters as Berliner Kaffeetrichter mit Karlsbader Seiher, geschlitzt oder nach französischer Art gebohrt. ("Berlin coffee-cone with slitted Karlsbad strainer or drilled according to the French method.")[24] indicating that the main difference between French drip coffee pots and Karlsbad-style coffee makers is the special construction and material of the double-layered finely cross-slitted through-glazed porcelain filter, not the general shape of the device, and further suggesting that Karlsbad-style filters were not invented by SPM in 1910, but were already known in the area of Karlsbad. However, Walküre [de], the successor of SPM, claimed that the pear-shaped form of the Karlsbad coffee maker is their original factory design.


  1. ^ https://www.barniescoffee.com/blogs/blog/the-difference-between-pour-over-and-drip-brew-coffee
  2. ^ https://www.kitchenaid.com/pinch-of-help/countertop-appliances/drip-vs-pour-over-coffee-whats-difference.html
  3. ^ "The History of How We Make Coffee". About.com. Retrieved 2012-02-13.
  4. ^ "Sixty years of the Federal Republic of Germany – a retrospective of everyday life". Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  5. ^ "Perfectcoffeemakers.com". www.perfectcoffeemakers.com. Archived from the original on 2014-03-18. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
  6. ^ "How to Use a Pour Over Brewer" Archived 2011-10-23 at the Wayback Machine CoffeeGeek.com. 2005-10-21.
  7. ^ Cornelis, Marilyn C.; El-Sohemy, Ahamed (November 2007). "Coffee, caffeine, and coronary heart disease". Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. 10 (6): 745–751. doi:10.1097/MCO.0b013e3282f05d81. ISSN 1363-1950. PMID 18089957. S2CID 35221890. Diterpenes present in unfiltered coffee and caffeine each appear to increase risk of coronary heart disease. A lower risk of coronary heart disease among moderate coffee drinkers might be due to antioxidants found in coffee.
  8. ^ Richman, Robert (2001). "Recursive Binary Sequences of Differences" (PDF). Complex Systems. 13 (4): 381–392. Retrieved 2013-02-19.
  9. ^ Abrahams, Marc (2010-07-12). "How to pour the perfect cup of coffee". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-02-19.
  10. ^ Strand, Oliver (2011-02-09). "Coffee's Slow Dance". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019-12-07.
  11. ^ Thomas, Rans (2012-01-11). "Chicory: A Powerful Perennial". Quality Deer Management Association. Archived from the original on 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  12. ^ Carman, Tim (2014-02-08). "For Coffee Fanatics, Only The Best Will Do". The Modesto Bee. Retrieved 2022-08-22.
  13. ^ a b Hoffmann, James (2014). The world atlas of coffee: from beans to brewing: coffees explored, explained and enjoyed. Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. ISBN 978-1-77085470-3.
  14. ^ Cadwalader, Zac (2017-07-19). "6 Coffee Recipes From The World Brewers Cup". Sprudge. Retrieved 2022-08-22.
  15. ^ a b Duval, Clément (October 1951). American Chemical Society ACS (ed.). "François Descroizilles, the Inventor of Volumetric Analysis". Journal of Chemical Education. ACS Publications. 28 (10): 508–519. doi:10.1021/ed028p508. ISSN 0021-9584.
  16. ^ a b de Lérue, Jules-Adrien (1875). Notice sur Descroizilles (François-Antoine-Henri) - chimiste, né à Dieppe, et sur les membres de sa famille (in French). C.-F. Lapierre Rouen. pp. 14–16. une cafetière qu'il avait fait fabriquer par un petit ferblantier de Rouen
  17. ^ Ukers, William Harrison [at Wikidata] (1922). "Chapter 34. The Evolution of Coffee Apparatus". All About Coffee (1 ed.). New York, USA: The Tea and Coffee Trade Journal Company. pp. 621–622. De Belloy's (or Du Belloy's) coffee pot appeared in Paris about 1800. It was first made of tin; but later, of porcelain and silver
  18. ^ a b Bramah, Edward Roderick; Bramah, Joan (1995) [1989]. Kaffeemaschinen - Die Kulturgeschichte der Kaffeeküche [Coffeemachines - The cultural history of the coffee kitchen] (in German). Translated by Auerbach, Georg (Special ed.). Stuttgart, Germany (originally: Munich, Germany): Parkland Verlag (originally: Blanckenstein Verlag). ISBN 3-88059-826-6. (168+2 pages) (NB. Original 1989 edition "Coffee Makers: 300 Years of Art & Design" by Lucchetti editore, Bergamo, Italy.)
  19. ^ "(33) 5. BELLOY, Jean-Baptist de (1709–1808)". he invented the filter
  20. ^ Cohen, Patrice (2000). Le cari partagé - titre=anthropologie de l'alimentation à l'ile de la Réunion. Collection Hommes et sociétés (in French). Karthala éditions. p. 148. ISBN 978-2-84586017-9. (358 pages)
  21. ^ U.S. Patent 1,370,782 (direct link)
  22. ^ U.S. Patent 1,743,925 (direct link)
  23. ^ "Drip-O-lator". OhioRiverPottery.com. Archived from the original on 2007-04-14.
  24. ^ a b c d e f Seißer, Peter [in German]; Zehentmeier, Sabine; Meyer, Rudolf; Siemen, Wilhelm [in German]; Symossek, Ronja (1999). "Das Formensortiment des feuerfesten Walküre-Porzellans. 2. Spezialfabrikate: Kaffee- und Teemaschinen" [The variety of forms of the fireproof Walküre porcelain: 2. Special products: Coffee- and tea machines]. In Siemen, Wilhelm [in German] (ed.). "Mit der Zeit gehen" - 100 Jahre Porzellanfabrik Walküre (1899–1999) - Ein mittelständiges Industrieunternehmen im Wandel ["Going with the time" - 100th anniversary of porcelain manufacturer Walküre (1899–1999) - A medium-sized industrial company in transition]. Schriften und Kataloge des Deutschen Porzellanmuseums (DPM) (in German). Vol. 58 (1 ed.). Hohenberg an der Eger, Germany: Deutsches Porzellanmuseum. pp. 27, 70–72, 118, 152–154. ISBN 3-927793-57-4. (1+195+1 pages) (NB. The print run is limited to 1000 pieces.)
  25. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20201025065809/https://www.br.de/nachrichten/bayern/die-bayreuther-porzellanfabrik-walkuere-ist-geschichte,Rmz2xt7

Further reading[edit]

  • Bersten, Ian; Bersten, Helen (1993). Coffee floats, tea sinks. Through History and Technology to a Complete Understanding (1 ed.). Sydney / Roseville, Australia: Helian Books. ISBN 0-646-09180-8. (284+4 pages)
  • Beutelspacher, Martin (July 2006). "Techniken der Kaffeezubereitung. Auf dem Weg zu einer Optimierung des Kaffeegenusses". In Mohrmann, Ruth-Elisabeth [in German] (ed.). Essen und Trinken in der Moderne. Beiträge zur Volkskultur in Nordwestdeutschland (in German) (1 ed.). Münster, Germany; New York, USA: Waxmann Verlag GmbH / Waxmann Publishing Co. [de]. pp. 125–146. ISBN 978-3-8309-1701-4. ISSN 0724-4096. (159+1 pages)

External links[edit]