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Immersion Drip Brewer How To - a How-to
Immersion Drip Brewer How To
Author: Christos Andrews
Posted: June 1, 2014
How-To rating: 9.8
feedback: (15) comments | read | write
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I've talked to many folks who have used french press as a way to start brewing fresh coffee by-the-cup and become more engaged and excited by the process. I know I did. I remember growing up, my Dad had a stainless-steel french press and a blade grinder. This was -- without a doubt -- a big influence on how I got into taking coffee more seriously. The ritual of smelling the freshly ground coffee, watching it puff up when the water hit it (the bloom), and enjoying the freshly made highly-aromatic elixir that came from it made drinking coffee an exciting part of my day.

As I started reading blogs and articles from other baristas and coffee professionals, tasting coffee from better roasters, and learning about coffee-making competitions, I started to take each step more seriously. Scales, timers, burr grinders, roast dates, this all became very important to me. But it was the ease and hands-on engagement of this process that got that ball rolling. So when I started expanding my coffee brewing repertoire, there was one device that was easy to transition to: the Clever Dripper (Amazon, $22).

The Clever Dripper is great because it steeps very similarly to the french press, except instead of pressing the screen down to separate the grounds, a little trigger on the bottom of the brewer drains it through a paper filter. This results in a much cleaner tasting, brighter, more distinct cup of coffee. For bonus points, the ease and simplicity was still there, which makes it an approachable way for home consumers to start brewing better coffee.

This style of brewing is called "full-immersion", meaning the ground coffee is fully immersed in hot water for all or most of the brew, and then filtered at the end (think steeping tea). The previously mentioned press pot method is full immersion, as is the siphon brewing method and even the cowboy coffee method (full immersion steep, followed by pouring the brew through a kettle's built in rudimentary filter).

The other category of coffee brewing is called pour over, or flow-through This means that hot water is slowly introduced to the ground coffee during most of the brew cycle as it drains slowly through a filter. A standard Mr. Coffee type machine does this, but also the Chemex, v60, and Melitta cones are common examples. This style of coffee is often championed by third-wave coffee nerds, and generally takes a bit more finesse while brewing.

Both of these styles make great coffee. Full immersion tends to produce good body and depth to the cup, and is consistent and easy. Pour overs tend to highlight the brighter and more vibrant characteristics to the cup. But what if I told you that you could have one brewing device that did both, and you didn't have to buy any fancy add ons? And you may even be able to combine both techniques in the same brew?

Is it too good to be true? Is this real life??

This can all be done with the Bonavita Porcelain Immersion Dripper (Amazon, $40). I'm going to walk you through two recipes. One is easy, and the other is super easy. You ready? You will need:

  • Delicious coffee
  • Burr grinder
  • Scale
  • Timer
  • Kettle
  • Clean water

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And of course, you will need the Bonavita Immersion Dripper. It is a porcelain walled dripper / immersion brewer that takes standard #4 Melitta style filters and has vanes on the sides to help with coffee flow. It has a easy to use on-off switch, can brew up to 450ml / 16oz, though as you will see below, I have a method for brewing even more volume (600+ml) with this brewer. It also includes a lid which, depending on your creativity, can be used to retain heat and allow you to experiment with lower starting brewing temperatures with a slower temperature decline.

So let's get to our two methods!

Full immersion (best for single cup brewing)

We're going to be using a 16:1 ratio of brewing coffee - that is 16 parts water (by weight) to 1 part ground coffee (by weight).


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1. Rinse paper filter to remove paper taste/heat brewer
2. With the Bonavita Immersion Dripper open/closed switch set to the closed position, place 25 grams of coffee in the filter, ground to a fine sea-salt size grind.
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3. Start timer, add approximately 100g of water just off of boi
4. Stir to ensure even moisture throughout the grounds.
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5. At 30 seconds, add more water until you reach 400g, making sure everything is submerged.
6. Open the lever and start straining out the coffee at 2:30
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7. Target brew time is 3:30-4:00. If it drains the coffee too quickly, adjust the lever slightly to slow down the dripping.
8. Give the pot a quick stir, then serve. It's enough for one big cup, or two medium cups.

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You'll find you'll master this brew method in no time. It's pretty easy, and you'll be enjoying really delicious coffee. However, if you have the attention span that I do, you'll eventually want to try something new. So let's mix it up.

Combination pour-over/immersion (good for larger volume)

This is a method I was experimenting with for a while. I really enjoyed the flavor profile I was getting, and other friends who tried brewing this way seemed to get great results as well. This tends to give me the clarity and complexity of pourover brewing, but with a little more body and roundness of immersion brewing. It's a very balanced cup. It still is one of my favorite ways to make coffee at home.


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1. Rinse filter to remove paper taste/heat brewer.
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2. Measure out 40 grams of coffee.
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3. With the switch on the Bonavita Immersion Dripper closed, add 40g of coffee to the filter, ground to a fine sea-salt size grind.
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4. Start timer, add approximately 100g of water just off of boil.
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5. Stir to ensure even moisture throughout the grounds.
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6. At 30 seconds, add 200 more grams of water.
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7. Let steep between 1:00-1:15, then open switch.
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8. Add more water until you reach 640g.
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9. Target brew time is 3:30-4:00. If it drains the coffee too quickly, adjust the lever slightly to slow down the dripping.
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10. Give the finished brew a quick stir, then serve!

The coolest thing about the Bonavita Immersion Dripper is that you can toggle the switch to have more control over your brew time. This adds more versatility and consistency to this device.

These recipes are a great way to get started on the different possibilities. Try different brew volumes and steep times. What works best with what coffees? Be creative, and of course, enjoy!

Where to Buy

The Bonavita Immersion Dripper is available at Amazon.com in the US ($40) and Amazon.ca ($40CDN, making it cheaper than the US pricing!). Your purchase via Amazon helps support this website.

All photography for this article by Jeff Scott Shaw (Twitter: @JeffScottShaw)

Author Bio: Christos Andrews is a professional barista in Seattle, WA. He is very active in the coffee community through competitions, events, and helps to run the Cup Taster's League.

See our other Guides and How Tos

How-To rating: 9.8
Author: Christos Andrews
Posted: June 1, 2014
feedback: (15) comments | read | write
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