If you’ve been part of the coffee-loving community, you’ve probably heard the saying, “Anything’s better than drip coffee.” What’s funny though is that while drip coffee gets a lot of hate – especially from coffee connoisseurs – is that it’s still the top choice across households in both the Philippines and abroad. Not only is drip coffee the most accessible, but it’s also the fastest and most hassle-free. This is especially applicable for out-of-the-box drip coffee machines that you can get anywhere, whether from appliance centers or department stores. But before we give you the verdict of whether drip coffee deserves the hate, let’s first define what drip coffee is, learn what machines are used to brew this type of coffee, and how does drip coffee stand against other coffee brew types.
What Is Drip Coffee Brewing?
Drip refers to a coffee brewing method that entails slowly pouring boiling water on coarsely ground coffee beans. Drip coffee can be brewed through both automatic and manual drip equipment or machines, including single-use drip coffee bags and traditional electric coffee machines. For people on-the-go, drip coffee brewing may be the best choice, since all they’d need to do is to grind coffee beans, pour a few scoops of ground beans into the cone filter, fill the tank with water, and then leave the machine to brew a batch.
However, because drip coffee has minimal contact between coffee and water, the flavor and concentration of coffee may seem a bit underwhelming compared to other brewing techniques. This is also probably one of the reasons why a lot of coffee lovers don’t really choose drip coffee as their primary brewing method.
Is Anything Really Better Than Drip Coffee?
Now, is anything really better than drip coffee? This depends, really. Coffee connoisseurs who are extremely specific in the quality of their coffee would probably say that drip coffee produces bland and watered-down batches, while casual coffee drinkers would say drip coffee isn’t that bad. This is still entirely dependent on your preferences and coffee needs. While drip coffee brewing does produce batches that pale in comparison to the flavor and strength of other types of coffee, it still offers tasty batches that can help you get your daily caffeine fix. If you’re planning on getting a drip coffee machine, here are a few benefits and characteristics that set it apart from other brewing equipment:
- Fast and easy to use – One of the most hassle-free coffee makers available in the market today, drip coffee machines offer an almost hands-free experience. You won’t even need to monitor the brewing process or go into the specifics of how to use drip coffee All you have to do is wait for a few minutes and you can get a delicious hot cup of coffee.
- Affordability – Most standard drip coffee machines come at very affordable prices. You don’t need to splurge that much money just to start brewing at home. Because of its affordability, a drip machine is actually a good entry-level coffee machine for people who just want the hassle-free brewing experience for their personal space.
- Large brew batches – Much like how coffee percolators work, drip coffee machines can also brew large batches of coffee. This may come in handy, especially for households that have multiple coffee drinkers. Depending on the capacity of your drip maker, you can brew up to 10 cups of coffee in one go, eliminating the need for repeat brews.
- Programmable – Not a fan of the morning rush? One of the benefits of drip coffee machines is that they now come with programmable features that let you set a brewing time. All you need to do is to pour ground coffee into the filter, fill the water tank, and then set the timer the night before. With this, you can remove this morning task and expect a piping hot cup of coffee when you wake up the next day.
Just a word of advice though: drip coffee is tasty and can help you get through long days, but don’t let your batch sit on the hot plate too long. Some coffee brewers often prefer brewing large batches at one time and leaving them on the hot plate for the whole day. While this might seem like a lifehack, especially for those who don’t want the hassle of brewing coffee over and over again, it also scorches your coffee – and scorched coffee just doesn’t taste right. As much as possible, keep brewed batches on the drip coffee machine for at most two hours, and then brew a new batch so you’re not stuck with drinking burnt coffee.
Drip Coffee Versus Pour-Over Coffee
If you’ve dabbled in different brewing methods, you’re probably curious how drip coffee and pour-over coffee differs – especially since they both technically rely on gravity. In some ways, the technique in which coffee is brewed is pretty similar, but they do produce different batches that vary in flavor and quality. Here’s how drip coffee machines fare against pour-over equipment:
- Quality and Flavor – While both of these brewers entail pouring boiling water onto ground coffee beans, pour-over yields more flavorful batches of coffee because of the longer coffee and water contact. This allows the coffee flavors, oils, and micro-grounds to seep into your coffee better, which offers better quality and flavor. While drip coffee is a good contender, it offers a much subtler flavor than pour-over.
- Control – Compared to drip coffee, pour-over coffee offers maximum control over all elements that come into brewing. You can monitor the temperature of the hot water you’ll be pouring over coffee groups to get maximum extraction. You can play with the coffee to water ratio to find the perfect blend. You can even experiment with the different types of coffee filters to find which one offers the best flavor turnover – would the Hario V60 coffee filter paper do a better job than a reusable metal filter?
Drip coffee machines, on the other hand, offer little to no control over how your coffee is brewed. While you can play around with the ratio, you can’t set the temperature of the machine’s water or how fast the water gets poured into the vessel. In short, your daily coffee is at the mercy of your coffee machine.
- Durability – Drip coffee machines, especially high-quality ones, are extremely durable and can last for a few years before you’d need to switch them out with a new one. The same goes for pour-over dripping cups. A lot of pour-over equipment is made with durable materials, including metal, ceramic, and thick plastic, so you won’t have to worry about them breaking. Just make sure you don’t drop them, of course.
- Brewing Speed – For brewing speed, drip coffee and pour-over coffee both perform well. Drip coffee machines typically take about 4 to 5 minutes to brew, while pour-over coffee might take about 5 minutes. But because pour-over coffee needs a much more meticulous process, the preparation of the tools and materials may take longer compared to operating an automatic drip coffee machine. One of the best benefits of drip coffee machines is the speed. Throw in ground coffee beans, pour in water, and you’ll just have to wait a few minutes.
Do the Benefits of Drip Coffee Outweigh the Cons?
While drip coffee isn’t a popular choice for coffee aficionados, it still offers some impressive benefits that can justify why it’s still a top choice amongst coffee drinkers. Do the benefits of drip coffee machines outweigh the cons? In our opinion, yes, it does, especially for the comfort and ease it brings. Having a hot cup of drip coffee is better than having no cup at all, right? Additionally, you’re always free to switch to other coffee brewing equipment any time if you want to level up your coffee experience. Check out Curated PH and browse our high-quality coffee tools and machines that you can use to elevate your love for coffee.