Unplug your coffee machine

Unplug your coffee machine and rediscover the coffee dripper

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The coffee machine, of whatever kind, is a power hog, let's face the fact, and after more than a cup, or maybe two, the coffee “burns” being kept warn and thus no longer taste nice and fresh, to say the least.

Kaffeefilter_web Often, despite of that, the jug keeps sitting there, being kept warm, though no one is drinking any of that stuff, until the next batch is being made and the cycle is being repeated, and the waste goes on and on. Waste in coffee and especially energy.

The humble coffee dripper, in a variety of forms and designs, is certainly not new. In fact all of them are, basically, based on the original design by Metitta in Germany.

Melitta is a company, based in Germany, selling coffee, paper coffee filters, and coffee makers. It is the parent part of the Melitta Group, which also has branches in other countriesof the world. The company is has its headquarter in Minden, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

It is named after Melitta Bentz (1873–1950) who founded the company after she invented the drip brew paper coffee filter (German patent granted July 8, 1908). Bentz later ran the company as a family business.

In 1908, Melitta Bentz, a housewife from Dresden, Germany, invented the first coffee filter. On July 8, 1908, Melitta Bentz received a patent registration for her "Filter Top Device lined with Filter Paper" from the Patent Office in Berlin. The 35-year-old housewife was transformed into a businesswoman and, during the same year of her invention, the company bearing her name was established.

In the 1930s, Melitta revisited the original filter top and tapered the filter into a cone-shape. This new filter top created a larger filtration area, which was lined with ribs to allow for improved extraction of the ground coffee. A few years later, Melitta introduced cone-shaped filter paper to fit inside the new cone-shaped filter top.

Melitta continued to develop new techniques to improve the shape, performance, material and production process of the Melitta filter systems. In 1989, Melitta introduced Natural Brown filter paper, the first coffee filters made from unbleached pulp. These new and improved filters kept unwanted by-products from leaching into the environment. In 1992, due to the popularity of white filter paper, Melitta developed an oxygen-bleaching process to produce white filter paper without chlorine. In 1997, Melitta developed another filter with Flavor Pores, microfine perforations that allow more coffee taste and aroma to come through while filtering out unwanted sediment, particles and oils. Melitta improved the Flavor Pores filter in 2002 by adding a second Safety Crimp for extra strength and durability. Bamboo Filters were introduced in 2007. Later that year, Melitta took Flavor Pores one step further and released new patented Flavor Enhancing Micro Perforations, which enhanced the filter process to allow for a richer cup of coffee.

Melitta Bentz was, as said, the inventor of the coffee dripper and all others but followed and copied, in one way or the other, whether by way of drippers or filter papers.

Aside from the simple dripper Melitta and others also, for some strange reason, decided that they had to make machines. The customer was always more and more in a hurry and could not wait for the kettle to boil and the drip cycle, the pouring water over the coffee, to complete. However, we should, nay must, return to this simpler way of making real coffee.

The dripper is much cheaper to run than any coffee machine, however cheap it may have been to buy, the machine, not the dripper, and you can get good coffee drippers at a range of prices and a variety of makes.

The cutest, for lack of a better word, coffee dripper that I have recently encountered is a collapsible one from Wacky Practicals (review to follow) which is made from food grade silicone and comes in a number of colors. It folds down to a disc of less than 1/2 inch thickness to about 6 inch in diameter. Fits even into a jacket pocket.

The “pour over” method of making coffee is regarded by coffee specialists to be by far the best method and using a dripper like this means you always have the very best coffee with little impact on the environment and your pocket.

© 2012

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