How Does Your Drip Coffee Maker Work? Men’s New Guide

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It’s the only smell that can get most people out of bed in the morning, the smell of coffee waiting for them. This experience is so normal for most people that we rarely think about how it actually works. How does your coffeemaker work exactly?

A Brief History

Drinking coffee is hardly a modern habit. According to a timeline provided by Arab traders were brewing coffee in a pot as early as the 5th or 6th century. Early coffee makers date back to around 1780 and drip coffee makers as we know them date back to 1972 when Mr. Coffee was introduced to consumers. How exactly does a drip coffee maker work?

The Parts

In order to understand how a coffee maker works, we need to know what it is made of. There are 5 main parts to a coffee maker (left picture). The first is the reservoir where you put the water. The next is the heating element. This is located at the base of the machine along with the rest of the electrical equipment. The heating element is comprised of an aluminum extrusion made up of two parts: the first is a resistive heating element which is usually a simple coiled wire, and the second is a hose that allows water to flow. The next part is a small tube, different from the one in the heating element that starts at the reservoir and leads to the heating element. Then there is a tube that leads up from the reservoir giving water access to the drip area, the drip area being the last major component of our coffee maker.

Press “On”

Now that we know the parts of the drip coffee maker, what happens when we turn the machine on? When you first pour in the cold water it flows into the tube that links the reservoir and the heating element. In doing so the water will pass through a one-way valve and up partway into the tube that connects the reservoir base and the drip area. This all happens as a result of gravity. When you press the “on” button the heating element begins to heat causing the water in the tube to boil. The boiling water then climbs up the tube to where the water is released into the coffee grounds. It then filters through the coffee grounds extracting the coffee oil as it goes before landing in the pot, and eventually your cup.

Coffee Thoughts

There are many other features that modern coffee makers offer, from timers, to built in grinders, to self-cleaners, but the essential make-up of drip coffee makers hasn’t changed much since the seventies. It’s a simple machine that doesn’t need much improving upon. It’s the simplicity and the lack of moving parts (it’s really only the on the switch and the valve that move) make coffee makers incredibly durable. If you’re still having trouble visualizing this process take a sip of joe and watch this video from Crazy Builders as they take apart and reassemble a drip coffee maker:



  • 1.) History Of The Coffee Maker:
  • 2.) How Coffee Makers Work:
  • 3.) A Guide To How Coffee Makers Work:
  • 4.) Diagram of a Coffee Maker:
  • 5.) How It Works: Coffee Maker:
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