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What Coffee to Use in a Drip Coffee Maker: A Complete Guide

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Choosing what coffee to use in a drip coffee maker is relatively simple and has a significant bearing on the coffee you produce.

There are a couple of essential factors to think about before settling on a store-bought blend.

In this guide, we’ll explore the many benefits of drip coffee and how you can make your own with little expertise.

What Is Drip Coffee?

Drip coffee is also commonly referred to as pour-over coffee. If you’re someone who enjoys a cup of joe first thing in the morning, this is an entirely new experience.

It is one of the best beverages that you can order from specialty baristas, and it offers plenty of flavors.

The process is quite the same as using a percolator or a coffee maker; however, it provides a fuller flavor profile.

When the water is applied, thermally induced pressure is pulled through the coffee grounds, allowing most of the oils to be trapped in the filter.

Whereas with a French press or percolator coffee, it will typically be filled with different oils. This process sets itself apart by how it’s done, as it’s done entirely by hand.

You will manually pour the water over the coffee grounds in the filter, a technique that has been used since the 1900s.

The Benefits of Drip Coffee

You might be wondering, why should I bother with drip coffee if it’s almost the same thing as using a coffee maker?

There are a few notable benefits of drip coffee to consider.

1. Ideal for Single-Origin Coffee

If you’re someone who consistently uses single-origin coffee, you’ll find that this brewing method lets them shine.

By focusing on the aromas and flavors from the coffee, you’ll have a fuller-bodied cup to enjoy.

A properly constructed pour-over coffee is consistent, allowing the fragrances and oils to extract at consistent timing.

2. Learning a Specialty Practice

If you’ve been hunting for a way to take your coffee making to the next level, drip coffee is a great alternative.

It’s a relatively intricate process, especially when it comes to pouring the water over the coffee.

Novice baristas are prone to experience channeling, which is when the water pours through in one spot.

Unfortunately, this can cause the majority of the grounds never to get immersed, and it will damage your final cup.

It truly is a skill that you can master to improve your coffee-making skills.

3. Enjoying Hidden Nuances

The one thing to note about drip coffee is that it doesn’t change the flavor of the grounds you choose.

For example, with cold brew, you’re bound to find that your coffee flavors will seem different and bolder.

Drip coffee, on the other hand, heightens the nuances that are already present in the coffee. You’ll enjoy the regular tastes of your favorite blend with a couple of added hints of flavor.

What Coffee to Use in a Drip Coffee Maker

Before you even begin thinking about the equipment needed for drip coffee, you’ll want to make sure you have the best coffee.

As with any other brewing technique, the coffee you choose can make or break your final cup.

There are two main things to consider when choosing drip coffee: its roast profile and its grind size.

Roast Profile

Remember that drip coffee helps to heighten your experience with subtle aromas and notes. Hence, you’ll want to make sure you choose a light roast with bright and acidic flavors.

You can always use dark or medium roast, but you won’t have the full experience.

With light roasts, you are far more likely to notice the more subtle and naturally airy flavors.

Whereas, medium and dark roasts will have substantially deeper flavors that will cloud the lighter aroma.

Grind Size

As with cold brew, the grind size you choose has a lot to do with how your coffee is extracted.

When you’re pouring hot water over the grounds, the water and coffee touch for far less time than an espresso, for example.

You’ll want to make sure the water has more than enough time to touch the coffee’s entire surface area.

This ensures the water that filters through into the cup has extracted as much coffee as possible. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with a substantially more bitter brew.

Ideally, you’re going to want to start with medium grind size, especially as a beginner.

If you find that your final product is too sour or watery, you can opt for a finer grind. On the other hand, if it’s too bitter and lacks pure sweetness, opt for a coarser grind.

It’s highly recommended you find a high-quality grinder that allows you to customize the particles of your coffee.

It’s also essential that all of the grounds are the same size to prevent over and under extraction.

What Do You Need to Make Drip Coffee?

Once you have the perfect coffee type for your brew, it’s time to get your hands on the other equipment you’ll need.

Fortunately, drip coffee is a relatively inexpensive hobby, although it can quickly get expensive, depending on the tools you choose.

1. Brewing Device

The brewing device you choose is likely the most expensive item on this list.

There are plenty that you’ll find, regardless if you need something small for a single cup or large for multiple drinks.

The four most popular include Chemex, Kalita Wave, Melitta, and V60.

Some of the more expensive brewing devices have unique technology to offer optimal extraction with little effort.

You will also find specific designs that are best for extraction and flow, which can significantly impact your brew.

Fortunately, as they are so widely available, you can find very inexpensive models, as well.

2. Filters

Another essential part of making drip coffee is the filter that you select. You’ll have to choose between paper or cloth, as well as bleached and unbleached.

Typically, the brewing device you choose will have recommendations for the filters that work best with them.

Also, you might find specific brewers require the use of particular filters, limiting your choices. For example, Chemex requires filters up to 30% heavier than other standard filters.

Still, even though they might be a little more expensive, they can be well worth the investment.

The perfect filter gives you the ability to retain more oils when the coffee is brewed to avoid sour flavoring.

It’s also likely that, over time, you’ll find specific filters that you prefer over others.

For example, some suggest that paper filters add a paper-like taste to coffee, which is quite unappealing.

3. Scales

This item is particularly essential, especially if you want to make sure you have your ratios correct when working with coffee.

It’s best if you’re able to get your hands on a digital scale, as they are easier to read and more accurate.

You’ll find its best for determining how much coffee and water you’ll be using so that you can make the best coffee possible.

Also, a digital scale will help you to improve your skills significantly. If you find your brew tastes a little off, you can adjust the amount of ingredients you use next time.

4. Kettles

Of course, you can use a standard metal kettle for drip coffee, but baristas prefer specialty kettles.

One of the most critical aspects of drip coffee is consistency, which isn’t something regular kettles offer.

Specialty designs allow you to pour an even amount of water over the coffee without overly submerging the grounds.

They have specially designed spouts and handles, too, allowing you to take advantage of consistent extraction.

One of the most common features is a gooseneck spout, which allows you to control the water flow.

Many drip coffee kettles are also known for their incredible heat retention to ensure every cup is consistent.


There isn’t a single answer to what coffee to use in a drip coffee maker, as everyone’s preferences differ.

You can use an assortment of blends and flavor profiles, especially if you already have coffee you prefer.

If it’s your first time, consider using coarsely ground light roast coffee to extract the best flavor profiles.

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