What is a Manual Drip Coffee Maker?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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A manual drip coffee maker represents one of the simplest ways of making coffee. If you know how to measure by tablespoons and can boil water, you can easily make excellent coffee with this simplest and frequently most inexpensive of machines. The manual drip coffee maker can be used for making a single cup of coffee, and some are designed for just that purpose. Alternately, larger styles can be used to make up to eight cups of coffee at a time.

In most cases, the larger type of manual drip comes with a glass coffee carafe, which can then be used for serving the coffee. The drip part is a conical shaped basket, where one usually puts a coffee filter. The basket is then filled with the desired amount of coffee. For stronger coffee, usually a generous tablespoon per cup is recommended. The basket sits on the carafe, or on an individual mug in small sizes.

When the basket has been filled and the water is boiling in whatever pot or pan you have available, the hot water is gradually added to the basket, creating very fresh coffee. Do be a little patient when adding water. Too much water can flood the coffee, causing grounds in the finished results or causing the coffee to drip too quickly into the collection device.


In large manual drip devices, aim for pouring in about a cup at a time, since the basket only has a small hole at the bottom to drip through. Coffee should not be floating on top of the manual drip basket, but should begin to adhere to the sides of the filter. A pot of eight cups of coffee probably takes about four minutes to make, plus whatever time it takes to boil the water.

Since many people prefer to make a single cup of coffee at a time, there are individual coffee packages sold that resemble teabags. Veteran and discriminating coffee drinkers may find these bags a little bit on the weak side. They may instead choose to add the coffee themselves to control strength. With a single cup manual drip maker, about a quarter of a cup should be added at a time to avoid flooding the grounds and producing inferior coffee.

Many find both small and larger manual drip coffee makers to be quite easy to use and they certainly are inexpensive. One doesn’t run the risk of burning the coffee since it is never exposed to open fire. Newer electric drip coffee makers also have coffee burners that now turn off to avoid such, but these are likely to be a bit of a drain on the pocketbook and can cost up to or more than 100 US Dollars (USD). A manual drip device, on the other hand, can usually be purchased for less than 10 USD.


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Post 1

If you're looking into a manual drip coffee-maker, invest in more than pre-measured bags of coffee. You obviously want fresh coffee, but having pre-ground packaged coffee completely defeats that purpose. Buy whole bean coffee and grind it medium-fine just before brewing. That's fresh coffee. Use 1oz coffee per 16oz water. Weigh it. It'll be worth it.

Coffee should be in contact with the water (steeping) for four minutes. For the Melitta, this means pouring for four minutes, like the author stated. The mechanism on the Clever just makes this easier.

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