There are almost as many different ways to make coffee as there are different types of coffee. Sometimes, it can seem almost overwhelming and impossible to keep everything straight. Two terms you might have heard for ways to make coffee include “drip coffee” and “Chemex.”
Drip coffee is made when hot water that drips through coffee grounds to brew it, generally by way of an automatic machine. Chemex, by contrast, is a brand of pour over coffee maker, for which water still drips through the coffee grounds and paper filter, but no machinery is involved.
Keep reading to learn more about the various ways to make coffee. We will discuss drip coffee, pour-over coffee, immersion brewing, and many of the brands that use each brewing method.
What Is Drip Coffee?
Some people use the term “drip coffee” to refer to any coffee that’s made by dripping water through coffee grounds and a paper filter. However, others get a little more specific with it and use the term only for coffee machines that drip water through coffee grounds and filters. This distinguishes it from similar methods such as pour-over coffee.
In less technical terms, drip coffee is one of the most common types of coffee, and if we have to call any method of making coffee standard, it’s drip coffee.
The technology behind it is very basic and hasn’t really changed over the decades. It hasn’t had to! Standard coffee makers heat water to the right temperature (usually near to but below boiling), then let the hot water drip through the coffee grounds and filter paper, with coffee brewed and dripping out the other end and into your coffee pot or mug.
Drip coffee falls firmly into the realm of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
What Is Pour-Over Coffee?
Pour-over coffee is very similar to drip coffee, and some people consider it a variation on drip coffee. For pour-over coffee, which includes the Chemex coffee maker, hot water is still poured over the coffee grounds and filter paper, with freshly-brewed coffee dripping out the other side and into your container.
However, with pour-over coffee, there’s no machinery involved. This can make for a simpler process, mechanically and technically.
On a small scale, the coffee drips into your mug. The simplest pour-over method is to take a coffee paper filter, fit it into the top of a mug, add a scoop of coffee grounds to the filter paper, then pour hot water through it.
This method is great because there are virtually no parts to break, nothing you need to take apart to clean, and very little that can go wrong.
What’s the Difference Between Pour-Over and Drip Coffee?
As discussed above, pour-over and drip coffee are very similar, and some even consider pour-over to be a type of drip coffee. However, generally speaking, the big difference between pour-over and drip coffee is that drip coffee uses machinery and pour-over coffee doesn’t.
Pour-over coffee has several tools and devices that can help make the process even easier, less messy, or simpler to scale. Still, they’re generally non-mechanical and variations on different containers.
Why Do We Love Drip Coffee?
Drip coffee is simple, cheap, and can be brewed in large batches. Automatic coffee makers almost exclusively make drip coffee, and these are easy to program so that you can wake up to freshly-brewed coffee without having first to be awake enough to do the work.
Drip coffee is usually considered quite tasty, although some people prefer other methods. We’ve refined drip coffee to the point that most people can make a palatable cup of coffee with little or no effort, and that’s quite appealing.
What Is Immersion Brewing?
Immersion brewing is a little different than drip coffee or pour-over coffee. Instead of the water just passing through the coffee grounds, the coffee grounds (or even whole beans, in some cases) are immersed in water for a little while during the brewing process.
It isn’t immersed very long, especially when using hot water (over-extracted coffee doesn’t taste great), but it spends some time immersed, and this makes the difference.
Like drip coffee and pour-over coffee, there are several different brands and slightly different methods that use immersion brewing, and we’ll discuss that in further detail below.
What’s the Difference Between Drip Coffee and Immersion Brewing?
In addition to whether the water moves through the grounds , there’s another big difference between drip coffee and immersion brewing. Immersion brewing methods are typically simple and don’t require machinery or electricity.
However, immersion coffee usually involves more moving parts than pour-over coffee does because the coffee grounds need to be separated from the coffee itself unless you like a very gritty drink.
Why Do We Love Immersion Brewing?
Immersion brewing is great because it gives the water a bit more time to properly extract the coffee’s flavor and nutrients from the beans or grounds.
This gives us a better flavor profile and some potential for a really good cup of coffee. It also gives us more control over how long the coffee is brewed; we, not gravity, control how long the coffee grounds are in the water.
It can take a bit more work, but there are several different tools to help make this process easier for people who prefer the taste and control of immersion coffee.
What Types of Coffee Makers Are Available?
There are coffee makers for virtually any type of coffee you’d like to make. Upon hearing the term, most people picture standard drip coffee machines or perhaps a Keurig coffee maker.
However, there are many ways to make coffee, and a lot of those ways involve coffee makers that aren’t the same as a coffee machine. Several are branded and widely sold, and we discuss some below.
Which Coffee Maker Should I Use?
Which coffee maker works best for you will depend on your specific needs. None of the coffee makers listed here are terribly difficult to use, and all are available at a reasonable cost, so it comes down to personal preference.
If you like brewing your coffee with pressure for a higher extraction rate, try the Moka Pot or AeroPress. If you like a design that makes cleaning easy, then the Chemex coffee maker might be the product for you.
The French press has earned a lot of popularity among coffee enthusiasts, and drip coffee is considered standard for a reason. Whichever of these you’re considering buying, you’re not likely to go wrong.
What Is a Chemex Coffee Maker and How Do I Use It?
A Chemex coffee maker, as discussed, is a type of pour-over coffee maker. This is a coffee maker instead of simply a brewing method because it’s a dedicated system that lets you brew and store coffee.
The Chemex device is like a large glass pitcher with a built-in funnel at the top. The filter goes in the part that looks like a funnel, and then you can make a great deal of pour-over coffee, as much as will fit in the pot-like part of the device. This can then be stored in the refrigerator if you haven’t consumed all your coffee.
Chemex works best with medium-coarse coffee grounds.
What Is an AeroPress and How Do I Use It?
An AeroPress is a device that works with immersion brewing. It has several parts, but they all fit together neatly and take up little space. It makes 1-3 cups at a time, and the coffee is espresso-style in its concentration.
The AeroPress is arranged over the top of a coffee mug, with an included filter situated before the device’s cap. Coffee grounds (ground medium-fine) are placed on top of the filter.
Water is added and stirred according to the directions (timing varies based on whether the water is hot or cold), and then a plunger forces the water through the grounds and into the mug.
What Is a French Press and How Do I Use It?
A French press is a very popular way to make coffee. It’s generally glass, much like the Chemex, but it’s an immersion method of brewing.
Coarse grounds are placed in the bottom of the French press. Then, hot water is added at two different times, and then a plunger presses the coarse grounds against the bottom of the device.
The plunger also serves as a container to hold most of the grounds. This helps to keep the excess sediment in your coffee cup.
What Is a Moka Pot and How Do I Use It?
A Moka Pot is a little different than the other devices listed here. It uses a form of pressure cooking, letting boiling water and steam move up through very fine coffee grounds, rather than using gravity like most other methods.
Because of the pressure and the way the water passes through the grounds, it’s very similar to espresso.
To use it, fine coffee grounds are placed in the appropriate basket or container, while water is placed in the bottom part of the device.
When the water reaches boiling for long enough to activate the pressurized mechanism, it moves up through the grounds and forces coffee into the top part of the device, where it can then be poured into your cup.
What Is Melitta and Why Is It Important?
Melitta is a brand that has been around for quite some time. They make many different coffee supplies. In fact, Melitta Bentz, the company’s founder, invented the very first paper coffee filter, which is essential to drip coffee and pour-over coffee methods of brewing. Without her work, we might not have the kinds of coffee we have today.
What Is the Wigomat Coffee Maker and Why Is It Important?
The Wigomat Coffee Maker was the very first electric drip coffee maker. It was the first of its kind, and served as the foundation for what is now considered a standard coffee maker. This makes it essential in coffee’s history.
Questions Answered Here
- What Is Drip Coffee?
- What Is Pour-Over Coffee?
- What Is Immersion Brewing?
- Why Do We Love Drip Coffee?
- Which Coffee Maker Should I Use?
- Why Do We Love Immersion Brewing?
- What Is a Moka Pot and How Do I Use It?
- What Is Melitta and Why Is It Important?
- What Is an AeroPress and How Do I Use It?
- What Types of Coffee Makers Are Available?
- What Is a French Press and How Do I Use It?
- What Is a Chemex Coffee Maker and How Do I Use It?
- What’s the Difference Between Pour-Over and Drip Coffee?
- What Is the Wigomat Coffee Maker and Why Is It Important?
- What’s the Difference Between Drip Coffee and Immersion Brewing?
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