Filter coffee from a traditional drip filter machine is often underrated. In comparison to the drama, performance, and complexity of the espresso machine or the hand pour-over it can seem a little elementary. However, most filter machines with just a bit of care can reliably produce delicious, smooth, very consistent coffee.
Unlike espresso machines, there’s a whole range of coffees at your disposal: any roast, any origin, any farm. It is not hard to do well, but it is easy to do badly. A few simple steps will make sure every pot you brew of drip filter coffee is great.
What You Need
- About 55g to 60g of coffee per litre of water you are brewing is ideal. This works as out just less than 2 tablespoons per full mug of water, but if you can, measure it out. You want the coffee to be as freshly roasted as possible. The older the coffee is, the slightly less predictable and uneven the brewing can be
- Filtered water for coffee can be a good option, but may not be necessary – have a good read here.
- For most automatic drip coffee machines you want a four cup/size four paper flat bottomed cone filter. Have a read here for our breakdown.
- A flat bed of coffee in the cone or basket is ideal.
Brew Time for Drip Filter coffee
Brewing time of around 5 to 6 minutes is good. As a rule of thumb, if the coffee is too thin, sour, weak, or sharp, it may be brewing too fast. If it is too bitter or heavy then the brew time may be too long.
If you are using pre-ground coffee, then the main thing you can do to adjust is use more or less coffee.
Grinding for Filter Coffee
If you are grinding your own coffee then you have options.
A good rule of thumb is a finer grind means:
- A longer brew time
- A more heavily extracted brew – potentially sweeter, and rich, but also more bitter, or heavy
A coarser grind means:
- A faster brew time
- A less heavily extracted brew – potentially more acidic, and delicate, but also possibly insipid, sour, or weak.
If you aim for a brew time of between 5 to 6 minutes you are hopefully hitting the sweet spot, but this can depend on your particular machine. Some will brew hotter and faster, and this is fine.
Above all, use taste to judge!