The Addict’s guide to How a Coffee Machine Works

The highlight of my morning begins with that magical gurgling sound soon followed by those first drops in the pot, the aroma engulfs my kitchen. My first pot of coffee is ready. We all know the end result, but what about the mechanical process of this wonderful liquid?

What machine should I choose? 

The perfect cup of coffee begins with the perfect machine.

  • How much are you going to drink?
  • How fast will you drink your coffee?
  • What is your budget?

These are vital questions to ask before investing in the right machine. There are multiple options in the marketplace and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer quantity and bright shiny stainless steel. Before you buy, understand what you will be using it for and search out machines that satisfy your basic needs.

Drip coffee makers the most popular coffee machine sold today that is what this article will focus on. The good news is that you can find great drip machines at an affordable price that offer you all the features you are looking for.

Your basic drip machine consists of a reservoir that holds the water, a filtration system that transports the water to the coffee basin, the basin which holds the coffee grounds, the drip head, the pot and the heating unit to keep your coffee hot.

The structure is basic and what adds to the cost of your machine are the bells and whistles. As great as that 2,000 dollars espresso/latte/coffee maker looks, before investing a vacation into your coffee, ask yourself how often you will actually use all the functions. Most likely the answer is not often enough to justify the price.

Now that I have chosen my machine, how does it work?

The basics of your coffee machine involve suction. As soon as you turn your machine on a suctioned hole at the base of the reservoir creates a vacuum that sucks the water up the tubing to the basin where the coffee is. As the water flows through the tubing it is heated. The ideal temperature for coffee is between 195 F (91C) and 205 F (96C). You want to ensure the water in your machine reaches this temperature range so the coffee grinds have a chance to mix properly with the water and create the right chemical reaction to achieve a frothy, creamy cup. 

As the heated water drips into the coffee basin it mixes with the grinds. To produce the best tasting coffee the drip portion of the process needs to be slow. If the water runs through the coffee basin too fast the mixture does not have a chance to set and the end result is coffee flavored water and no one-even fans of Dunkin Donuts, wants that.

How long can my coffee sit after brewing?

If you have invested in a good machine then your coffee is coming out nearly perfect. It will not remain like this for long. The easy way is to brew a lot of coffee and let it sit around until you are ready to drink how. This is a mistake. The longer coffee sits on the heating coils the more bitter it will become.

If you are brewing a large amount of coffee for a gathering, the better strategy is to get an insulated coffee carafe. By pouring your freshly brewed coffee into a carafe you are removing it from the direct heating source that will turn it bitter yet still keeping hot enough to enough for an extended amount of time.

Selecting the right coffee machine is only half of the battle. It gives you an advantage but there is still more you need to do. Your beans have to be great quality and ideally whole beans. If you take coffee as serious as I do you do not want to mess around with pre-ground coffee. Buy whole and grind fresh. You also want to use water that is as cold and clean as you can get it. Cold water will enhance the taste.

Finally, brew your coffee, relax and enjoy it. Reflect on the journey your beans have taken to give you this pleasure. Smile, you are having a cup of the greatest beverage ever created.