4 Rules for Brewing the Perfect Drip Coffee

Brewing drip coffee is an artform of its own, and a great place to start for newfound coffeeholics. Drip coffee is also relatively easy to prepare, especially with the right drip coffee machine. No particular experience is required — or so say barista experts, but a little guidance is always helpful when looking for perfect results.  

Here are 4 rules for brewing the perfect drip coffee:

Rule 1: Start with a good bag of beans

When brewing drip coffee, it’s important to start with good coffee beans. Even with the best technique, your results will still vary if you are not building upon a good foundation in the first place.

Fresher beans are always preferred, especially when they are pre-ground. Coffee releases oils and gases when grounded, and the flavours in the beans can degrade as time passes. Whenever possible, you should grind your beans right before using them to minimise flavour loss through oxidation.

Rule 2: Keep it hot but not too hot

A coffee machine delivers the correct temperature at every pull, but you need to keep an eye on your water temperature if you are brewing your drip coffee manually. The hotter your water, the quicker the oils, acids, and caffeine is extracted from your coffee beans — each of these substances will have an impact on your drip coffee’s overall flavour. At temperatures that are too low, you may not extract enough of these substances to create a flavourful cup of drip coffee. However, if it is too hot, it also gets difficult to control the rate of extraction.  

The best temperature for brewing drip coffee is between 90°C to 96°C. If you don’t already own a drip coffee machine, investing in an electric kettle with temperature control will take a lot of the guesswork out. A popular trick used by baristas is to heat the water slightly hotter, to the boiling point, and let it sit for a minute before use. This way, the water doesn’t fall below the target temperature during the pouring phase.

Rule 3: Size matters, at least when it comes to grinding size

When grinding your beans for drip coffee, always use a medium grind. Fine coffee burns easily, and burnt coffee tastes bitter. Be careful not to go too coarse though, as that would result in under-extraction, giving you weak and bland coffee. The good news is most coffee grinders nowadays have presets for different brewing methods, so it may just be a matter of pushing a few buttons to get the size you want.

Grind size also affects how the water behaves during extraction. Generally, a finer grind will prolong steeping time since the water takes longer to pass through. Of course, these are just general guidelines; the grind size you choose should ultimately relate to the taste you are going for when preparing your drip coffee.  Like most things in art, it comes—or, in this case, boils—down to experimentation and personal tastes.

Rule 4: It’s all in the technique

Remember, the quality of the coffee prepared is intrinsically tied to the barista’s skill. While a coffee machine does make things easy and convenient, you still have to possess a degree of knowledge and expertise to fully leverage your machine’s capabilities and produce a perfect cup of drip coffee.

This is especially so when preparing something more intricate. For example, the pour-over is a form of drip coffee that is known for its intense and aromatic flavour, and can be manually prepared via the following measured steps:

  1. Set up the filter and brewer on the scale.
  2. Weigh your coffee bean grounds.
  3. Bloom the coffee. Pour hot water on the filter, about twice the amount of your coffee grounds, making sure to cover them thoroughly.
  4. Wait 45 seconds, or until you notice bubbles on the surface.
  5. Continue pouring the hot water in a slow circular motion. Take occasional pauses to let the water level drop, ensuring that the brewer doesn’t overflow.
  6. Once you start seeing sediments drop into the cup, remove your brewer immediately. Usually, the extraction should take a total of 2.5 to 3.5 minutes.
  7. Serve and enjoy.

Alternatively, you can also invest in a good pour-over coffee machine, such as De’Longhi’s Clessidra Pour Over Coffee Maker, which can automatically replicate the aforementioned process at the simple touch of a button.

Getting great coffee has never been easier

Now that you know the secrets behind drip coffee, you should be on your way to unlocking whole new flavours to your beans. With De’Longhi’s Active Line 5-Cup Drip Coffee Machine, preparing drip coffee is made all the more convenient, in terms of both ease of preparation and consistently attaining quality taste in every cup of drip coffee you prepare at home. As for the days when you find yourself in need of a bigger boost, De’Longhi’s Dedica line of espresso machines make for the perfect companions.  

Dive deeper into the art of coffee-making with your very own coffee expert advisor from De’Longhi. Be it bean selection guides or suggestions for a cool coffee spot, our experts have answers for everything caffeine-related. The best part? These sessions are completely free! So, wait no longer and book a one-on-one session with a De’Longhi Coffee Expert today.