Drip is the most common form of coffee served in the United States. This method essentially pours near-boiling water over medium-course coffee grounds to produce coffee. This is probably the easiest method of making coffee.
A few words about filters: There are two types of filter available for drip coffee. One type is paper. The other is a metal or plastic permanent filter. Neither is innately better but they do produce different coffee flavors. A paper filter will hold some of the essential oils that are being released from the coffee. Some people have a preference for this. In paper filters there are several brands that have various thickness and types of paper that will absorb more or less of the oils. One selling point for paper filters is that they are very easy to clean up; just throw them away. This of course means more landfill and more trees being cut down. Some people also feel that paper filters give coffee a papery taste. The permanent filter has some obvious advantages and disadvantages in relation to paper. I will add just a couple of ideas about them here. One, use metal; plastic won’t last as long and may give your coffee an off flavor. Two, permanent filters require a slightly courser grind and you may get some sediment in your cup. This is comparable to the sediment in a coffee press.
The most common form of drip coffee maker is the automatic electric drip coffee maker. This is what you will be seen in almost every American diner and coffee house for brewed coffee. One problem with these coffee posts is that many do not get the water hot enough to extract all of the flavorful oils from the coffee. You can probably thank the American legal system for this. Equipment manufacturers as well as establishments that serve coffee are just not comfortable with the liability of serving a drink that is near boiling. Most US restaurants serve coffee at 135 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The brewing temperature is not substantially higher. The brew temperature of many home machines is not much higher. There are manual pour over drip coffee pots on the market. With these devises you have the ultimate control of your coffee’s brew temperature.
Everything in a cheapo drip coffee pot is also wrong for excellent coffee. If you want excellent coffee from a drip pot you can’t buy the cheapest thing on the shelf at the discount store. At the same time the most expensive machine may also make lousy coffee. Check the reviews or even better buy from a store that will allow you to try the product in store or has a liberal return policy. The biggest problem with drip pots is that they just don’t get hot enough. Some also brew too fast or too slow.
One other consideration with a drip coffee maker is the coffee warmer (or burner). If you have a pot with a burner you will want to get the coffee off of the burner as soon as possible after brewing and into a vacuum bottle or a carafe. Another option is to buy a coffee maker that brews directly into a carafe and has no burner.
I know what you are thinking. I don’t want to spend a ton of money on a coffee maker when there is one available for less than $10 at the discount store but, if you are paying $10+ per pound for coffee (absolute low end of what I have seen “gourmet” coffee sold for in the United States) doesn’t it make sense to go ahead and spend a few dollars on a coffee maker that can get everything good the bean has to offer? A cheap drip pot will fall short of this.
Also do not forget to clean your coffee maker regularly. You can get more info on cleaning over here.