Who Invented the Auto-Drip Coffee Maker?


A lot of people love to drink coffee. Whether it’s with breakfast, lunch, or right before bed. Of course, not all coffees are the same. Some are a lot better than others. One way to have a great cup of coffee is by using an auto-drip coffee dispenser.

Not everyone has the time or the means to brew coffee manually. This is where an auto-drip coffee maker comes into play. The invention of an auto-drip coffee maker has been a major breakthrough in the field of electrical appliances. Companies such as Hamilton Beach have grown exponentially due to their invention of the world’s most popular coffee makers. No matter what you’re looking for, there is a perfect product available for you. 


Ms. Melitta Bentz was an avid coffee drinker. One day she thought about the time being spent on brewing coffee. She wanted to improve the time and taste of the coffee by creating a machine that performed this procedure. 

Melitta Bentz’s idea for an auto-drip coffee maker became public in 1905 when she received a patent for the coffee brewer. In 1911, the patent expired and Bentz’s invention became a public commodity. 

John P. Barrett was next in line to create an auto-drip coffee dispenser. His invention was patented in 1950 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Barrett was a ceramic tile and floor contractor. He worked as the president of his own company which made the first drip coffee maker.

As time passed by, Barrett created and patented an automatic coffee pot that had a timer. His invention had an auto water heating mechanism. This process was performed in a tank coupled with a heat strip system that produced steam. This steam sprayed the water through the machine’s heating coil to produce hot coffee. By 1950, he held 34 other patents for gadgets and materials such as pottery and tape measuring devices.

Special Features of the Auto-Drip Coffee Maker

In addition to making coffee quickly in the morning, it can also warm up water and sterilize it well. Such machines are more advanced and have a thermostat feature to prevent the spoilage of coffee grains from creating a burned taste. These makers can turn off automatically after a set length of time or when they are in an empty cycle. As you know, water will remain hot for hours if left unattended in your kitchen.

The first patents for an auto-drip coffee maker were filed in 1915. The inventors, Jonathan E. Cornell and Samuel R. Crocker called their device ‘The Coffee Master’, claiming to have been inspired by Thomas Edison’s invention of a “self-filling bottle” that used gravity to feed water into the container. In 1928, General Electric introduced its model DCC-3100 or “DeLuxe 3100” Coffee Maker with a glass carafe version of Crocker and Cornell’s original system design.

The invention of the paper coffee filter is incorrectly credited to Melitta Bentz, a German housewife who accidentally invented it in 1908. Although she recognized the commercial value of her idea and patented it, her patent was not the first. Englishman Edward Mason invented his “filtron” or “paper filter” two years earlier in 1906.

Mason’s filters were quickly popularized around the world. In 1908, James A. Folger, founder of Folgers Coffee (now owned by JAB Holdings) was given a filtron by his father-in-law, Dr. John Pemberton (Coca-Cola fame).

There are two ways of making coffee: drip coffee maker (also known as French press, Melitta, Chemex) and Espresso. Their technology is the same. The main difference between the drip coffee maker and Espresso machine is the number of cups that the machines make. Drip Coffee Maker makes a single cup of coffee while Espresso makes 1 or 2 cups. 

Although both have a single boiler, many people confuse it as they are different machines. Some say that Espresso makers are expensive and difficult to use while others say they are simple and cheap.

Auto Drip Coffee Maker – Who Invented It?

There is a debate on the invention of an auto-drip coffee maker as to who was the pioneer. The first factor includes the American culture. Before introducing Espresso machines, drip coffee became very popular in the United States and especially in college cafeterias. 

Many people consider drip coffee makers to be old-fashioned and they have a negative perception of Espresso makers.

The second factor that influences this issue is its usage and how it works. Different inventors have worked upon the machine in different ways. Melitta worked up her version with a two-part filtration system while Barrett used his unique methods.

Paper Filter Mechanism

Paper filtration is an old invention and it is still in use because it is effective and cheap compared to other methods, such as steel or platinum filters. However, Melitta Bentz made her machine better by inventing a drip of hot water through the coffee powder and improving the filtration process. 

This way she managed to provide an easier way of making coffee. The invention of Melitta Bentz is a significant part of the American coffee culture. In 1942, she received a patent for her machine. A classic example of the auto-drip coffee makers is Melitta filters and they are still popular around the world. 

Many other brands have their machines – BUNN, Bodum or Mr. Coffee are prime examples. 

Is Auto-Drip Coffee Maker Expensive?

In reality, these machines are not that expensive. Prices range from about $30 to about $100 depending on each model’s brand and additional features. The cost of your auto-drip coffee maker depends on its quality and the desired characteristics. You can find these machines in all price ranges, from very cheap to highly expensive. They are inexpensive compared to other coffee makers such as Espresso makers or French presses (also known as manual drip coffee makers).

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using an Auto-Drip Coffee Maker?

There are many advantages and disadvantages of using a drip machine compared to other methods to make coffee. Following are some of the main benefits:

1. It is easy to make coffee.

2. It doesn’t need much preparation time.

3. You can make a single cup or multiple cups (depending on your skill level).

4. It doesn’t require electricity.

There are a few disadvantages as well

1. Your coffee will be ready only when the machine is properly cleaned.

2. It may not be able to prepare several cups at the same time.

3. It takes a lot of time to learn how to make the perfect coffee in a drip machine.

4. You need to keep watch on the filter’s cleaning capacity. If it gets clogged, then it needs to be washed or changed. 

All in all, whether an auto-drip coffee maker is expensive or not, what matters is the satisfaction of using it for making a cup of your favorite morning drink.

Why Is It Called Drip Coffee Maker?

There are different views regarding this topic. One of the most common is that Melitta Bentz didn’t want to call her machine a “filter” because she believed it was better to call it an auto-drip machine. She wanted the filtration process to be automatic and mess-free. 

Another explanation is that she used to take her coffee with cream in a goblet so she chose the “drip” word as there was no spoon requirement for drinking cream (like with Espresso). However, the answer remains dubious as to why it is called a drip coffee maker. 

Differences Between Filter Coffee Maker and Drip Coffee Maker

The main difference is in how they work. A filter coffee maker works the same way as a percolator. Boiling water is poured over coffee grains and it makes its way through them. It then drips back into the cup. On the other hand, a drip machine uses a water chamber separated from the coffee compartment by a filter to make it “drip” into your cup.

It changes the design of the water chamber as well. The filter element in a drip brewer allows dripping rather than percolating. Some designs have a heating element underneath to maintain brewing temperature. 

Top Brands For Auto Drip Coffee Maker 

There are many brands to choose from these days. Among them are DeLonghi, Cuisinart, Breville and Bunn as the leaders. All these brands produce high-quality products that are durable and reliable. They have an affordable price tag from about $30 to $150, depending on the model you buy. 

1.  DeLonghi Auto Drip Coffee Maker 

A semi-automatic machine, it also has the option of using pods. The machine comes with a separate water tank that holds up to 10 cups of water. This unit can make approximately 10 ounces of coffee per cup. It has a modern design and can be used all day long without any breakages or problems while making the quality coffee you desire. 

2. Braun Brew Sense Drip Coffee Maker 

This is an auto drip coffee maker with a thermal carafe. It features a control panel with an option of 12 cup settings and temperature control as well. The machine comes with a Brew Sense indicator which lets you know when the coffee is ready to drink. You can set up your time for the machine to work automatically. 

3. Breville Precision Auto Drip Coffee Maker 

This coffee maker is easy to use, with a compact size and a dual water tank. It comes with various options regarding the grinder and quality of the grind. The machine also comes with easy-to-use controls, including a switch for pouring the coffee and the brew button. 

4. Cuisinart Burr Grind and Brew Automatic Coffee Maker 

A great product from Cuisinart, this auto drip coffee maker can also grind your coffee and brew at the same time. You can control the temperature and serve your coffee at a precise temperature as well. This machine is also programmable and can start brewing coffee at any convenient time. 

5. Mr. Coffee Grinder and Brew 

The feature that makes Mr. Coffee stand out from other auto drip coffee makers is that it comes with a single-serve coffee maker. It can make up to 12 cups of coffee in just one go. You don’t need to spend a lot of time making the perfect cup of coffee with this machine. 


In the end, what matters is that it has a positive effect on your health. A cup of coffee in the morning can be an excellent start for your day and is also a great way to energize yourself after an exhausting night. A drip machine is just as good as other coffee makers, but you need to make sure to find the one that would work best for you. Auto-Drip Coffee Makers are available in all kinds of shapes and sizes and they function according to the type of coffee you prefer. 


Q. Who Invented The Auto-Drip Coffee Maker?

A. “Melitta’s first patent for her coffee makers was called the Drip Coffee Filter. It was modeled after a device invented for pulling water from wells. Bentz’s invention went on to become the De Facto standard in modern coffee filters.”

Q. What Was The Reason For Inventing Auto Drip Coffee Machine?

A. In the early 1900s, Melitta Bentz was well known for her work in chemistry, especially her work with soap and perfumes. In her spare time she worked with coffee machines. She was so impressed that she decided to design and build a coffee machine of her own. This machine is known as Melitta Bentz V60 and it was patented in 1903, making it one of the first coffee makers made by a German woman inventor.

Q. Who Invented The Drip Coffee Pot?

A. For many years, the Melitta brand was mainly known for its coffee makers. The first coffee maker introduced in 1923 was an instant coffee machine. It was featured as part of a popular advertising campaign of the early 1920s and is still remembered as one of the best-selling Melitta products ever.  

Q. What are the advantages of an auto drip coffee machine? 

A. 1. The most important advantage is its usage. Beginners can even learn it in a few minutes.

    2. It allows you to prepare a cup of coffee in a fraction of time. 

    3. The coffee needs no preheating and you can simply put the cold water in the machine. It will get cold enough for brewing and then pour into cups after brewing. 

Q. How do I clean an auto drip coffee maker?

A. By and large, auto drip machines are easy to clean as they have fewer components than other best coffee makers do. All you need to do is to pull off the filter holder and remove the filter. 

Then, take out the unit’s water container and pour out half a cup of water over it. This should be enough to remove all coffee stains and odor that are inevitably left behind in an auto drip coffee maker.

Q. How Can I Maintain My Coffee Machine?

A. First of all, make sure that you clean it regularly to avoid any bacterial or mold growth. After each use, empty the pot, remove the filter basket and wash it well. You should also rinse off the water tank after use so that it is free of any residue that may result in poor flavor extraction in your next brew.