Get more from your automatic drip brewer.
By far the most common way to enjoy coffee in North America is by an automatic drip brewer. It’s a really simple method that is quick and can give you some really good results. Today I want to cover 3 things that can take your home brewing to the next level.
1) Water. (it is important)
2) Your machine. (how they differ)
3) Coffee. (do we have to say it should be fresh?)
You can almost find an automatic drip brewer in every household. There are many different models of brewers and it’s worth finding out the difference between each machines performance and how it will affect the representation of the coffee.
Your coffee is about 98% water, so it is very important that you give this some attention. Simply, use some sort of filtration system (Brita or some sort of carbon system. Do not use distilled) because you want to reduce the amount of TDS. This will vary on the water in your city, but almost everyone struggles with this other than people on the coast, who often have the opposite problem.
“Higher end” machines will sometimes be equipped with full control of the water flow rate. This allows you to control the variable of brew speed, resulting in experimentation on optimum extraction ratios (steep times.) Also very popular is the pre-infuse options and pulsating brew parameters, which are becoming more and more common in automatic drip brewers. A pre-infusion is a method of pre-soaking your coffee by spraying them with water while they’re in the basket, it will then wait a few seconds before brewing. This causes the coffee to “bloom,” (given it’s fresh coffee) which is the coffee expanding, releasing the C02 and evenly saturating the grinds to allow an even extraction when the brewing process begins.
By far the biggest problem with consumer automatic drip brewers is the water temperature. There are only a handful of brewers that actually bring the water to a proper brewing temperature. (about 200 – 205 degrees.)
Get your coffee as fresh as possible. You most likely have access to good, fresh coffee without looking to far. If there is no roaster or high-end coffee shops in your area serving coffee no older than 30 days, then check online and sign up for a coffee subscription from your roaster of choice. And of course, only grind what you need at the moment.
I know what your thinking… I didn’t cover anything on storage, grind settings or water to coffee ratios but that’s because I’d like to do that more in-depth in the future.
One thing you could experiment with is the type of basket you use. The mesh and paper filters both come in two forms, cone style and flat bottom. Mesh filters are nice in the way that they allow the oils from the coffee to pass through whereas paper filters hold back lots of the oils. It’s worth the experiment. You can also experiment with layering multiple paper filters into the basket to slow down the flow rate and let the water be in contact with the coffee longer and see how that affects the extraction.
Today’s take away: Implement experiments with different filters or why not try different grind consistency as well? You will definitely find a new taste to your coffee, if it ends up being more desirable or not, that is up for debate.
Are there any tricks you have tried that has had good results?