How-To Geek

The Physics of Drip Coffee Makers [Video]

The design of the ubiquitous drip coffee maker takes advantage of basic physics to keep costs down with minimal parts. Watch the video and you’ll never look at the old pot the same again.

Water goes in and coffee comes out. Simple, right? Although a coffee maker might be simple to use and employ minimal parts to get the job done (and keep the cost down in the process) the physics of the process is fascinating. Check out the above video to see how a coffee maker is engineered.

Coffee Maker: Pumping Water with No Moving Parts [YouTube via Geeks Are Sexy]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/7/11

Comments (5)

  1. andy

    Cool, simplicity at work.

  2. Snert

    I wonder what genius figured this out.
    A Bubble Pump? Would that be something similar, kinda maybe, to a hydraulic ram?

  3. truckdriverfritz

    A quick study of Leonardo’s sketches and you will find variations of the physics of the “bubble pump”… The serendipity of this discovery along with the conception of “Italian Roast” lead to one of art’s greatest enigmas, when he was memorialized asking, “Mona, where the hell do I plug this damn thing in ??”

  4. SteveK

    I remember years ago, reading in a book that described how common household gadgets worked, and the coffeemaker’s bubble pump mechanism was called a “gurgleator”, I guess because it makes a gurgling sound. It’s really a direct copy from the principle of the coffee percolator. Your old Farberware electric percolator is therefore the father of the modern drip coffeemaker!

  5. 1hamsalad

    Wonderful. Beautiful demonstration. Now if I could just find as clear an explanation for the old percolator which doesn’t have the “bubble pump.”

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