Drip coffee makers are a great, utilitarian option for making coffee: they’re quick, easy, and affordable. While luxury models exist, you can easily get a drip coffee machine for $10 or less, making them popular across demographics. But in order to get the best drip coffee experience, you do have to think a little bit about the ground coffee you put into the machine.
So what is the best coffee for drip coffee maker brewing? My answers are primarily based on my experience–and on what automatic drip machines bring to the coffee-making process. But once you know the strengths and weaknesses of this brewing method, finding great coffee to elevate the machine is easy.
What Drip Coffee Makers Bring To The Table
Automatic drip coffee makers are one of the most basic methods of making coffee that most people are familiar with: put water and grounds into the correct parts of the machine, press a button, and the coffee drips into the carafe. It requires a little attention to proportions, but it’s safe and straightforward enough that a child can use the machine successfully. But from the point of view of the coffee experience, that’s not what makes them so popular.
Drip coffee makers differ from many other methods of brewing in that the whole process is handled for you: the water drips over the ground coffee at a consistent speed that’s slow enough to brew properly but quick enough not to take more than a couple of minutes.
This also means that the extraction level falls fairly solidly in the middle, compared to other brewing methods. You don’t get the full extraction of something like espresso or french press, but you also don’t get the quick extraction of a brewing method like cowboy coffee. As a result, you want coffee beans with enough character to come through but which aren’t so heavily roasted that all you taste is the roast.
What To Look For In Coffee For Drip Machines
When it comes to this brewing method, there’s a specific benefit to choosing light and medium roasts over darker roasts. Lighter roasts are less likely to leave you with overly smoky or burned flavors in your coffee, and while they do tend to contribute higher acidity, that gives a pleasant note to drip coffee maker coffee, as opposed to a sour taste.
You also want to pay attention to grind. Personally, I prefer to grind my coffee right before I brew (or at most a day or two before I brew), but ground coffee is a viable option as long as you can be sure you’ll get through the batch within about a week.
If you do opt for ground coffee, you have to be a little careful that you’re getting the right grind: grinds for paper filters are slightly finer than those for metal or permanent filters, and the degree of extraction (or potential over-extraction) also differs for the two. If you grind your own coffee, keep that in mind and pay attention to any presets your grinder may have.
The Best Coffee For Drip Coffee Makers: My Choices
Drip coffee maker brewing is one of the places where light roasts really shine, so my top choices for this method definitely slant in that direction. I also tend to prefer blends to single-origin coffees because their balanced flavors perfectly complement the brewing method’s strengths and weaknesses. Here are my picks:
Allegro Coffee Breakfast Blend: As I mentioned before, a drip coffee maker is where light roast coffees, and especially blends, tend to shine the best. This blend by Allegro Coffee has balanced acidity from a combination of Latin American and Ethiopian beans.
That combination also contributes a nuanced flavor profile with chocolate and caramel notes and a hint of citrus to brighten everything up. While it’s great for any time of day, it definitely lives up to its name–it’s great first thing in the morning.
Cooper’s Cask Bright Light Ethiopian: While Ethiopian coffees have primarily been given the dark roast treatment in most markets, there has been an increasingly popular trend for light roast Ethiopian beans, like this pick from Cooper’s Cask. The light roast brings out the bright, citrusy flavors in Ethiopian coffee. While I typically prefer blends for the drip coffee maker, this is one single-origin coffee I appreciate even more in this brewing method than many others.
- Single-Origin Coffee: Ethiopian Bright Light Roast Coffee, Grade 1 Single Origin.
- Vibrant Taste Profile: Intensely bright and clean, lemon tart, raw honey, floral nectar.
- Quality Sourced Beans
- Small Batch Roasters
Stumptown Coffee Hundred Mile Blend: A medium roast blend, Hundred Mile takes the best traits of African, Central, and South American coffees to provide a nuanced and subtle harmony of flavors that works perfectly in a drip coffee maker. It’s well-rounded, rich, and complex with notes of toffee and jam that pair just as well with breakfast as they do with dessert, in my opinion.
- Contains one (1) 12 Ounce Bag of Stumptown Hundred Mile Organic Whole Bean Coffee
- A breakfast blend that offers a versatile cup of organic coffee, comprised of African, Central and South American coffee beans. 100% Arabica coffee with tasting notes of jam and toffee