How Does a Drip Coffee Maker Work?

Drip Coffee Makers Explained

Most of us who love our morning coffee take for granted that our drip coffee maker is going to be sitting there on our counters ready to get to work the minute we are ready for it. The drip coffee maker has become our best friend. Each morning without thought we scoop up the coffee, put it in a coffee filter and add some water to the drip coffee maker, then flip the switch. Then we wait for that first cup of morning coffee.

However, how often have you ever wondered about what’s actually happening inside of that drip coffee maker to produce that delicious brew? Have you ever stopped to wonder what exactly happens in your drip coffee maker and how the water gets from the drip coffee maker reservoir, then over the filter and into the pot?

Ever Wondered How Your Drip Coffee Maker Does Its Magic?

Do you ever wonder how the drip coffee maker heats up the water so fast or even wondered what the heck that gurgling noise is? More than likely you’re answer is going to be no to all of these questions about your drip coffee maker. Well here is a little bit of information about how our drip coffee maker works and gives us our morning jolt.

Modern Drip Coffee Maker: Simple

When it comes to the modern day drip coffee maker there really couldn’t be a much simpler device than the one that serves us faithfully every morning when we get up to face a brand new day. Manufacturers of our drip coffee maker have had well over 30 years to improve their designs and not much has changed. A drip coffee maker is a pretty straightforward machine when you take a look at them on the inside.

Inside A Drip Coffee Maker

Inside A Drip Coffee Maker

When you take off the top of any drip coffee maker you are going to find all three of the following things:

  • Heating Element – This just a simple wire that is coiled and is quite similar to a filament inside of a light bulb or even the heating element you might find in your toaster. It simply gets hot as soon as you run some electricity through it.
  • Plaster – The coil of a drip coffee maker is embedded in some plaster in order to make it tougher. The heating element has two specific jobs that it does. First when you put the water into the drip coffee maker it heats up the water. After the coffee has been brewed this same heating element helps to keep the coffee warm.
  • Grease – The heating element is usually sandwiched between the drip coffee makers warming plate and water tube that’s made of aluminum. The heating element presses against the underside of this warming plate and then there is white, heat conducting grease makes sure that the transfer of heat is done efficient. You will find this same kind of grease in all kinds of items like stereo amplifiers and other power supply devices.

Can’t Get Simpler Than A Drip Coffee Maker

As you can see a drip coffee maker is quite simple, in fact you can’t get much simpler than a drip coffee maker. But, how on earth does it work?

Can't Get Simpler Than A Drip Coffee Maker

Drip Coffee Maker: Water Flow

When you put in your cold water into the drip coffee maker it then flows from the coffee makers reservoir through a hole and into an orange tube. After that the water will flow through a one way valve and into an aluminum tube that is found in the drip coffee maker heating element. Then it goes partially up through a white tube. This all is happening with the help of natural gravity.

Drip Coffee Maker: Heating Element

As soon as you turn on the switch of your drip coffee maker the heating element will immediately start to heat the aluminum tube and the water in the tube will begin to boil. After the water is boiling there are bubbles that will rise up into the white tube of the drip coffee maker.

Hot Water Dispersed Evenly Over Coffee Grounds

The next thing that happens is much like what happens in an aquarium filter. This white tube is just small enough and the bubbles created are just big enough which will together cause a column of water to ride up on top of those bubbles. As the water continues to rise of the tube it is dispersed evenly over the coffee grounds in the filter.

Drip Coffee Maker Demystified

This water then will flow through the coffee and picks up the oil essence of the coffee on its way back down into your coffee pot. Simple as that. The next time your friends hang around your favorite drip coffee maker in the office you can rest assure you know exactly what is going on and explain to your friends as well how a drip coffee maker works. If you enjoyed reading “How Does a Drip Coffee Maker Work” please like, share and follow us for more great articles.


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How Does a Drip Coffee Maker Work?

Ref: Air-N-Water, Reference, How-To-Geek

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