Cone coffee is no con-trick: Master the drip coffee cone!
If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’d be forgiven for thinking that coffee only ever spooned out of a jar or served from an automated drinks machine. So learning to use a drip cone will yield a much finer cup of cone coffee in about the same amount of time.
Table of Contents: What will I learn about coffee cones and coffee filter papers?
- i. Coffee cones & coffee filter papers comes in different sizes & styles
- ii. If you master the beans, the roast & the grind…
- iii. Be methodical and try variations
- iv. Size guide
I. Learn about coffee cones and coffee filter papers
Drip cone coffee is a wonderful method for making coffee, quite similar to the drip bag, except the cone uses either a disposable or reusable coffee filter to hold the coffee. Drip cones come in a variety of sizes, styles and materials:
- (one ~ four cups),
- styles (flat bottom, V-shape), and
- materials (plastic, metal, ceramic)
They are ideal for making coffee for one to four cups, and require little more equipment than the drip bags. You can use them over small cups (1- or 2-cup size) or larger jugs (2- or 4-cup size).
Apart from the cone, you need a regular supply of coffee filter papers, available in bleached or unbleached paper. The bleached paper filters are white and the most common choice. The unbleached brown filters attract a more discerning crowd, but may add a weird note to lighter roasts, esp. fruitier flavors.
If you choose not to use paper, then a reusable cloth, plastic or gold filter is available. Plastic isn’t the best material because it may leave faint unpleasant tastes. But the reusable cloth coffee filter doesn’t keep so long; the oils extracted from the coffee slowly stain and discolor the cloths. So perhaps gold filters are the best.
II. Master the Beans, Roast & Grind
The drip cone is best for cone coffee that are light to medium roast. If you are buying your own coffee beans, pay attention to the grind size to make sure the grounds are medium-sized: too coarse, you’ll end up with dirty-looking, watery coffee; too fine, the coffee sludge gets into your cup, especially if you’re using plastic or gold mesh filters.
Grind to a level similar to seasalt, so you can feel the grains, about two tablespoons of your chosen coffee (25g). You may use less if you need, but the ideal ratio falls between 1:15 to 1:17 coffee to water.
A cooking thermometer helps monitoring the water temperature for cone coffee, while a kitchen scale standardizes the coffee weight, so you don’t have to rely on vague spoon estimates. Lastly, a jug or special kettle with a gooseneck will control the volume and speed of water pouring. It also cools the water.
Don’t be a big drip!
You will need about 350ml of hot water plus about 100ml for rinsing the filter and heating the cup for EACH cup you’re going to make. Then add 10% to account for evaporation and absorption. Once boiled, swirl some hot water in each cup (about 50ml) for a few seconds, then toss that water.
Fold the coffee filter along the seams to keep the filter against the edges of the cone. Now place the cone over the cup, then pour another 50ml of hot water around the coffee filter to soak the entire paper. Once the water has drained, add the coffee grains to the bottom of the cone, lightly press down with the coffee spoon. Empty the water again from the cup and replace the cone. Now is time for the bloom.
It’s blooming right!
The aim of blooming is to degas the coffee and start the extraction process. Removing the gas around the coffee grains allows the water to penetrate the coffee properly. So pour about 90ml of hot water into the center of the cone in a small circle. You’ll see the coffee rise a little as the gas tries to escape. You will note bubbles of carbon dioxide start ‘boiling’ in the cone, indicating that the coffee hasn’t been roasted or ground too long ago. This also warms the coffee and keeps the cone warm, too.
Pour over that coffee
Wait a little before beginning the second pour. This time pour in circles from the center to the outside covering the entire coffee. Don’t let the cone fill up too much with the water so pour slowly. When you sense it’s enough, you can stop pouring, then allow another 30 seconds while the water goes through the coffee.
You should repeat the process at least once more. Some recommend four separate pourings with timing between. Don’t be afraid of a few coffee grains in your cup either!
III. Be Methodical and Make Variations of Cone Coffee
At this point, you may have pretty much used up your 350ml of water, though some recommend even a fourth pour. I can only say that the more times you pour, the cooler your coffee will become because of the extended time, so I’d aim to complete within 3~4 minutes.
You will still find your coffee about 75~80 degrees, but pleasantly drinkable. If the body is too strong or dark or the volume is too little, consider adding 50ml of hot water. Drink and enjoy!
IV. Tip: Check your Paper Filter Sizes for Coffee Cones
I’m always getting those wrong… I thought you’d appreciate a simple guide, too. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve bought the wrong coffee filter size. So here it is:
Size #1 – is perfect for one small cup of coffee. It is the smallest size and makes about 200ml of cone coffee. It is tiny.
Size #2 – is ideal if you prefer a mug or want to make two cups of coffee.
Size #4 – is for small jugs of cone coffee, typically 3~4 cups of coffee.
Size #6 – is for larger jugs of cone coffee, and is typically hard to find.
I’ve included unbleached coffee filter papers, but you can also find the white papers if you prefer. Melitta isn’t the only coffee filter paper manufacturer, there are plenty of others!
Do make sure you buy the right kind! Some have a flat bottom, some a ‘V’ shaped bottom, and some are ‘square’… while some are for big coffee machines.
Kenneth Dickson started drinking cappuccino at Luvian’s Coffee Shop thirty years ago, and hasn’t stopped drinking, making and writing about coffee ever since. Taipei is his coffee heaven. Now he writes at PurelyCoffeeBeans.com about his love of coffee.
For more information and recipes on to our How To Make Coffee Page