Drip coffee is the most common way to brew coffee but it is a recent one considering the long history of coffee. It was only in the 50s when home-automation boomed world-wide and the markets were filled with home appliances promising practicality and technological innovation. Many of the products of this time are now extinguished, but the drip coffeemaker is still fairly common and popular. This invention has endured largely due to its practicality, but take into account that it never promised to offer the best coffee brew ever. Its promises are only a matter of practicality; not to mention that many allow you to schedule your brewing for the next morning.
The first patent for the drip coffee paper, which eventually welcomed the invention of the drip machine, came about in Germany in 1908; when the intelligent home-maker and coffee snub Melitta Bentz patented the first paper-based coffee filter. Before her invention, coffee was mainly filtered with linen, but keeping the linen clean was tiresome and over-used linen ruins the purity of the coffee. Another popular precursor method was a punctured metal sheet. This metal sheet is still part of the percolator and the espresso machines, and it has the great advantage of maintaining the oils and essence making its coffee bolder and more flavorful. Many coffee snubs refuse to use Melitta’s invention for this reason alone.
Before her invention, the most common methods of brewing were the french press and the percolator (both still widely popular), but the first leaves grounds in the bottom and the latter makes the coffee stronger than Melitta enjoyed it. Once patented, Melitta Bentz turned into a successful entrepreneur. She designed a brass pot precursor of the drip coffee machine, hired a tinsmith to manufacture it, and started selling it at local fairs. Her business still exists and the company is run by her descendants.
Interestingly enough, Melitta’s invention is relevant to both the drip coffee machine and the pour over method. Perhaps one could say, Melitta’s invention is the link in-between both methods, as the pour over method has been in use for centuries and the electrical coffee maker was first introduced through the Wigomat machine in 1954, and yet, both methods use Melitta’s paper filters these days.
When it comes to quality, the Pour Over equipment wins by far. The slow process allows a better extraction of the flavors and tones of the coffee. When it comes to practicality, the Drip Coffee machine takes the gold. While many snubs can differentiate coffee by just smelling it, you don’t have to be a pro to taste and differentiate drip coffee, pour over, and the espresso and percolator methods. It is incredible what paper vs. metal, time, and pressure can do to your brew! Do you have a favorite? And can you tell the difference?