Who Invented the Coffee Maker?

A cup of coffee next to a traditional coffee maker.
A cup of coffee next to a traditional coffee maker.

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. The drink is brewed from roasted coffee beans from the coffee plant. The method of preparing coffee depends on the desired flavor and personal taste. However, almost all the methods involve the grounding of coffee beans and then mixing with hot water. One of the appliances that can be used to brew coffee is the coffee machine, commonly known as a coffeemaker. There are several varieties of coffeemakers, with each using a different brewing principle. The coffee maker was invented by Melitta Bentz in 1873. 

History of Coffee Makers

For many years, making a coffee drink was a simple process that involved grounding of roasted coffee beans and putting in a pot of hot water to allow for the infusion process. The pots were specially designed in such a way that they could trap the ground coffee beans before the coffee is poured. The infusion process soon became popular, especially in France. Soon, the idea of not boiling coffee gained acceptance. Drip brewing (making coffee using filters) became popular. Several techniques were used to make coffee fillers including use of cloth socks. However, it was not until 1908 that Melitta Bentz invented the first drip coffee maker using a coffee filter she had made from a blotting paper.

How Melitta Bentz Invented the Coffee Maker

Amalia Melitta Bentz was a German entrepreneur who was born in 1873. Frustrated by the over-brewing of coffee whenever she used percolators, Bentz experimented various means of making coffee but each of the items used failed. She finally decided to use a blotting paper from her son’s notebook and to her surprise, the paper was easier to use and produced a clean coffee. She soon started her drip coffee company and became the first person to create a coffee filter. Bentz was granted patent by the Kaiserliche Patentamt on June 20, 1908, and the company was registered in December of the same year as M. Bentz. The company managed to sell 1,200 coffee filters during the Leipzig fair in 1909. By 1928, the demand for coffee filters was so high that the employees had to work in a double shift. At the time of Bentz’s death in 1950, the company was valued at DM 4.7 million. As of 2018, the company had made 1.5 billion sales and had over 4,500 employees worldwide. The Melitta Group has operations worldwide and has numerous brands and products.

The Automatic Drip Coffee Maker

The automatic drip coffeemaker was invented and popularized by Mr. Coffee in the 1970s. The machine works the same way as Bentz’s coffee filter by dripping hot water through a finely grounded on a filter paper. In an automatic drip coffeemaker, the reservoir is first filled with cold water followed by heat from a heating element. The boiling causes the steam to rise into a tube and condense. The condensed water infuses with coffee and filter into carafe which is placed on a hot metal plate to keep the coffee warm.


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