Proliferation of Percolation
Gravity fed drip coffee where water has percolated through a sedimentary filter bed produces the most clarified cups. The transparent appearance and the velvety mouthfeel are signatures of this increasingly popular and relatively new brew method. The first known exponent of paper filtered drip coffee was Melitta Bentz, who transformed blotting paper and a perforated brass colander into a billion dollar business.
Since the registration of Bentz’s original patent in 1908, filter coffee has grown to encompass many brands designed for hand and mechanical brewing alike. The majority of designs incorporate a conical shape, though the tendency is, as a brewer’s capacity grows, the filter diameter widens and the shape becomes flat bottomed. This evolution towards flat bottomed filter cones is explained by the nature of how liquid flows through the sedimentary filter bed.
Since the inception of the WCE Brewers Cup in 2011, percolation brew methods have won first place, every single year. Percolation brew methods are the chosen method of extraction for assessing coffee scientifically. The Kansas State University and their panel of sensory scientists used batch brewed drip coffee for their assessments that led to the creation of the Sensory Lexicon for Coffee in collaboration with World Coffee Research.
Drip coffee is estimated to constitute 45% of the US coffee beverage market. In emerging markets for drip coffee like Australia, the figures are far lower. We have recorded milky espresso-based drinks to still be 90% of the daily coffee output in Melbourne. However, the drinking habits of specialty coffee consumers are changing every year, as they come to appreciate the hydrating and juicy quality of percolation brew methods. New markets open up every day, as customers begin to share the opinion of world’s most qualified sensory judges, that percolation is best.