Drip, Drip, Drip

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by: (268 pts)

DripperIf it were a faucet dripping in the middle of the night I would be annoyed, but if it’s the Hario Dripper, (sounds like the name of a WrestleMania champion), brewing a superb cup of coffee, not so much.

Around the world the most employed method of making coffee drinks is the drip method. Whether you use an automatic drip coffee maker like the Bunn STX or a Hario Dripper using fresh grounds or a Keurig B31 Mini Single Serve using K-cups, the process has some basic principles: hot water poured-over coffee grounds. That’s the science, now the art.

For a coffee aficionado there is nothing better than a single cup brew made from fresh grounds. Grinding the coffee correctly is perhaps the most critical part of the process. Getting the coffee to a precise fineness often takes a lot of trial and error to get it right for your taste. Investing in a good grinder is a wise decision if you want to get to drip-coffee nirvana.

The next critical element is clean fresh water at the proper temperature. Coffee brewers everywhere will tell you that the proper temperature is usually between 190° and 205° F, definitely no cooler than 190°F, and that you must have clean water.  And finally the pour-over method; the grounds must be thoroughly saturated quickly and then drained at a precise rate so that over-extraction doesn’t occur creating a bitter brew. The manual pour-over method gives you the most control of all of the facets of the process of the water engaging the grounds, turbulence, dwell time, ratio of water to grounds to name a few.

It can quickly become a ceremony like Japanese tea if you really get involved in controlling all of the steps to drip brewing and providing the proper ambiance for the event. (I can just see it now, a special room of the house with muted earth tones and fine art on the walls, the sweet sounds of a symphony orchestra on the air from a hidden sound system, a single small table in the center of the room, an urn of precious arabica beans, and a silver tray with drip coffee paraphernalia arranged in precise order). Sproing! OK, snap back to reality.

Besides choosing a coffee of a particular roast and origin, just deciding on a type of filter can be daunting. Should you use cloth or paper or fine mesh gold-tone screen? Which ones retain the most grounds? Which pass the essential flavor oils? Do they impart any taste to the brew? Oh the debate can rage on and on. There are many variations of the equipment used for drip brewing around the world ranging from Japanese drippers, to Vietnamese filter pots to single-use folded paper cones, but they all have the same goal: make a perfect cup of fresh coffee. Oh and don’t forget the elaborate drip towers for making iced coffee, what a slow process that is! Paint dries faster. It can take up to 6 hours to brew 600ml of iced coffee!

So I will put on my ceremonial sweatshirt, with the true believers coffee stains, wend my way to the kitchen, grind some blue mountain beans, prepare the dripper, boil some clean fresh water, and wait for the drip, drip, drip, to subside and enjoy the best cup of the day. Which one is the best one? Why the next one of course!

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