Since the invention of the first drip coffee maker, the market has been flooded with hundreds of different coffee maker types. That has made drip brewing somehow ambiguous, unlike the immersion and espresso methods, which are more candid. Drip coffee lovers now have to choose between auto-drip coffee makers and manual coffee drippers. Therefore, what is auto-drip coffee?
Auto drip coffee is the brewed coffee you make using a coffee machine that automatically controls the entire brewing process including the brewing duration, amount of water, and temperature. The auto-drip brewer sets the temperature and determines the brewing duration. Some auto-drip coffee makers have inbuilt grinders and milk frothers.
Understanding Auto Drip Coffee
It refers to brewing drip coffee using a coffee maker that automatically controls the brewing process. The auto-drip machine determines the brewing duration, water quantity, and temperature.
It is pretty easy to make automatic drip coffee. All you have to do is put your ground coffee in the brewer’s filter basket. Then add water to the reservoir and press a brew button. Depending on compatibility, most homebrewers use either paper filters or mesh filters.
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How an Auto Drip Coffee Machine Works
Most auto-drip coffee makers have a filter assembly, water reservoir, and coffee dripper. In some auto-drip brewers, you may find an inbuilt milk frother and coffee grinder.
Coffee makers come in different sizes and differ in their abilities. You may buy a carafe only, a single-serve, or a hybrid with the ability to make both carafes and single cups.
The carafes come as either thermal carafes or glass carafes. An automatic coffee machine with a glass carafe comes with an inbuilt heat plate.
When brewing, the auto-drip coffee machine heats water and pushes it to the coffee grounds. The coffee grounds are often in the filter basket.
At this point, the heated water mixes with coffee compounds, making coffee. The resulting brew drips via the filter into the carafe or cup beneath.
With these auto-drip brewers, you press a button, and the coffee machine does the rest of the work. Also, in terms of convenience, they are unmatchable. Because of that, most offices, homes, and even coffee shops opt for these coffee machines.
How to Make Auto Drip Coffee Taste Better
Even though the auto-drip coffee machine gives you less control over the brewing process, it is still possible to generate the tasty cup of choice. Here is how you can make your auto-drip coffee taste better:
1. Go for Fresh and High-Quality Coffee Beans
If you can, get your coffee beans from coffee roasting companies. You can as well buy green coffee beans and roast them at home. Those open sacks of coffee beans at your local grocery might be stale because of over-exposure to air.
2. Select the Correct Grind Size Depending on Your Filter Type
The best thing to do is to purchase your own grinder. That way, you can grind for yourself a small amount you need at a time. Besides, you can adjust the grind size to meet your preferred intensity of flavors.
3. Use Filtered Water to Brew
Tap water contains chlorine and excess minerals. If you use it to brew coffee, these chlorine residues may remain in your cup, creating a bitter, bleach-like smell and taste. Besides, the minerals may build up in your brewer, clogging it in the long run.
Filtered water is the best for coffee brewing because it is free from contaminants and boosts the taste of your coffee.
4. Properly Clean and Maintain Your Auto-Drip Coffee Machine
Clean all the removable parts like carafe and water reservoir after brewing. Also, flush out coffee oil residues with water after every brew cycle. Leaving these coffee oil residues to stay in your brewer for long may cause your next cup to have a funky taste.
Further, develop a consistent descaling schedule for your coffee maker. For instance, you may decide to descale it after every 3 to 6 months.
5. Avoid the Heating Plate
Warming your coffee on the heating plate makes it lose its flavor and aroma. Instead, allow your coffee to cool down and only reheat when ready to drink.
Auto-Drip Coffee Grind Size
The ideal grind size for an auto-drip brewer with a reusable filter is medium-coarse. With the paper filter, a medium to medium-fine grind does perfectly well.
The metallic filter produces a full-bodied cup of coffee, though you may get some sediments. But with the paper filter, you get a clear, light-bodied coffee. For those people with cholesterol problems, using paper filters may help filter out the cafestol and kahweol in coffee oils. Thus, you will lower the risks.
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Advantages of Automatic Drip Coffee Machines
Beginner-friendly – Unlike manual brewers, using an auto-drip coffee maker doesn’t need prior experience. Just ensure you have the correct ingredient amounts and that it. In fact, the auto-brewers with inbuilt grinders to the grinding and dosing of the coffee grounds for you. And with the inbuilt milk frothers, you press a button and foam your milk.
Ease of Use – The brewer doesn’t have many buttons that can confuse you. You plug and press the brew button.
Convenience – You can set the programmable auto-drip brewers to brew coffee at a later time automatically.
Versatility – Some automatic drip coffee makers serve more than one function. They can grind coffee beans, brew coffee, and still have settings for frothing milk.
Carafe coffee makers are ideal for large families and offices – That’s because they brew large coffee amounts in just a single cycle.
Disadvantages of Auto-Drip Coffee Makers
Little control over the brewing process –That’s especially with the entry-level automatic drip coffee machines. You can’t adjust the temperature or strength of the brew.
Energy consumption – With these coffee makers, you pay more for your electricity bill.
Costly – Premium brands are expensive to buy than pour-overs. Besides, replacement and maintenance costs are just on another level.
Frequent breakdowns – Most automatic drip brewer users face frequent problems like clogging, heating, and pumping issues, among others.
Bulky – Automatic drip coffee makers are huge than their manual counterparts. Therefore, you need to consider the available space before buying one.
Automatic drip coffee is one of the easiest coffees to make. Therefore, if you are still new to brewing, the automatic drip coffee maker would be the best option for you. The coffee brewer provides convenience, ease of use, and high versatility.
Besides, you can choose whether to go for the single-serve or carafe, depending on your family size. It is also possible to enhance your auto-drip coffee taste by using fresh coffee grounds, filtered water, correct grind size, and cleaning your brewer regularly.