How to prepare coffee with an electric drip coffee maker

You have probably had coffee often from one of these coffee makers, either at home or at a friend’s or relative’s house. And I am 100% sure that your memory of that coffee’s quality is not very good. Generally, electric drip coffee makers do not produce very good coffee.

However, all coffee can be improved through the proper technique. I have created modifications to the traditional way in which these drip coffee makers are used, and I have managed to improve the final result a lot.

But remember that the raw material is fundamental; without quality coffee and water (filtered), it does not matter how much effort we put into the preparation since the final result will not be of quality either. Also, if your drip coffee maker is not well sanitized, forget about obtaining a fresh and clean taste in your cup.

What is the perfect ratio for the drip coffee maker? My ideal recipe

As I always say, having a personal recipe for each type of machine and coffee you use is very important. From here, you can add small modifications according to your tastes or other circumstances that affect the final taste of the coffee.

In this recipe, I am going to brew coffee for two people:

  • Coffee beans: 30 grams.
  • Grinding: Coarse (size between sand and sea salt).
  • Filtered water: 500 grams.
  • Filter: Standard paper filter.
  • Water temperature: boiling*.

*After many tests, I have discovered that adding boiling water to the tank of the drip coffee maker is very beneficial to the extraction process. Cheap electric drip coffee makers do not have enough power to heat the water to the necessary temperature, so if we put cold water in the tank, the coffee will not be extracted correctly, and we will have a flat and sour taste.

Weighs the coffee beans on a scale
Weighs the coffee beans on a scale

Important: Using a scale and a chronometer is fundamental to control that the ratio and extraction time is respected according to our recipe.

Importance of grinding in the preparation of coffee with an electric filter coffee maker

The electric drip coffee makers have a Melitta-style filter holder with a small hole at the bottom. This restriction in the drainage will allow more contact time between the coffee and the water, unlike other methods such as the Chemex or the Hario V60.

Because of this restriction in the filter outlet, we must use a coarse grind, so if you have a burr grinder, we will look for a texture between sand and coarse salt. If you do not have a grinder, buy ground coffee with a coarse grind.

Coarse grind - size between sand and coarse salt
Coarse grind – size between sand and sea salt

First modification to the traditional use of the electric filter coffee maker.

These electric drip coffee makers have a heating plate in their base that we do not want since it generates too much temperature and is like overheating the coffee. This produces a bitter and astringent taste, in addition to eliminating the volatile components of the coffee that are the ones that make us feel the flavors.

The idea is to place some thin pieces of wood between the decanter and the heating plate; in this way, the decanter is not in contact with the plate, and the coffee does not overheat:

Place some small pieces of wood between the heating plate and the carafe
Place some small pieces of wood between the heating plate and the carafe

Preparation of coffee with a drip coffee maker. Step by step

  • Fold the filter and place it inside the coffee maker.
  • When the water comes to a boil, we pass a little water through the filter to eliminate the taste of paper, and in passing, we heat the carafe. Then discard the water.
  • Add the 30 grams of ground coffee, shake a little to level it, and cover it.
  • We turn on the machine and begin the extraction.

The second modification to the traditional use of the electric drip coffee maker

After a few seconds, we will see the first drops fall, and it is then that we will turn off the machine. We open it, and with a chopstick or other tool with round edges (so as not to crack the filter), we will stir the coffee well, ensuring all the parts are moistened.

  • Then we let it rest for 30 seconds. This is the most important part since it prepares the coffee beans for extraction. After this time, we turn on the machine again, leaving it quietly until it is finished.

Note: I recommend leaving the timer on while the extraction is taking place to know how long it takes to finish. The whole process for this recipe should take between 3 and 4 minutes since we use a 1:17 ratio. For each gram of coffee, we use 17 grams (or milliliters) of water.

Recommendations when varying my drip coffee maker recipe

If you want to prepare more than 2 cups of coffee, I recommend that in the middle of the process, when a few minutes have passed, you turn the machine off again and stir a little. Then cover and turn it back on.

This will help the water to pass through all the parts of the coffee since the machine tends to pass water only in the center, over extracting this zone. It also helps to lower the temperature a little bit, in case, after several minutes, it starts to get too hot.

I have tried making four cups with 60 grams of coffee and 1 liter of water, and it took about 5 and a half minutes. Making up to the maximum capacity of the coffee maker should never take more than 8 minutes.

If you are not going to drink all the coffee right after the preparation, you should keep it in a thermos to maintain the temperature, but never leave it on the hot plate since, as I mentioned before, it damages the coffee.

This is a super simple and ideal method to prepare a good amount of coffee and share it with friends or family. In addition, with a few small changes, you can make a big difference. If you know someone who has one of these coffee makers, you can share this article with him or her.