This classic but still widely used dripper was invented German house wife Melitta Benz about a century ago. It is the very first conical dripper which all others later copied, reinvented, and redesined.
The dripper features one small hole on the bottom, and there are ribs on the wall. The ribs keeps some space in between the paper filter and the dripper. By maintaining the space, the dripper enables coffee to be filtered through any part of the paper. The small bottom hole optimizes the speed of drip so that poured water extracts right amount of coffee substance out of the grounds with minimal attention.
The physics of Melitta dripper contains elements of both infusive brewing method such as french press and permeative brewing method such as Hario V60 or Chemex. The drip brewing is generally recognized as a permeative method, but logically, Melitta dripper, in which the coffee grounds are infused in the water for a reasonable amount of time, is a hybrid of permeation and infusion. The cool thing about Melitta dripper is that depending on how you control the brewing, you could weigh on either permeation or infusion elements.
Infusive Pour-over Brewing
A normally instructed way of Melitta brewing is more of infusive brewing than permeative. As you do to all other hand drip method, start off of an initial blooming of 30 seconds or so. The purpose of the blooming is to release the gas out of coffee grounds as well as even extraction. The next step is dumping all the water into the dripper. The recommended temperature is close to boiling point and the grind level is medium to medium-fine.
The resulting cup tends to be watery, yet the unfavorable flavor is noticable. The floatation of the grounds in the flooded water gives enough agitation to the grounds, and unfavorable flavor is extracted rather than favorable complexity that beans potentially have. It takes less time than more careful hand drip and requires little skills. Melitta dripper obtains easiness and steady cup results by sacrificing freedom of control. It always results the same regardless of the brewers’ skills.
Permeative Pour-over Brewing
In contrast to the infusive brewing, by controlling the drip speed, Melitta dripper can enhance different flavor notes. It is the what Hario V60 is good at. Since the dripper isn’t designed for the permeative drip brewing, it is a little harder than Hario.
After the initial saturating drip which gives just enough water to get all the grounds saturated, softly pour hot water on to the grounds. In this brewing, you need to steadily keep the water level which barely soaks the grounds’ surface wet. By doing so, the coffee grounds can keep the layer made at the initial blooming pour and minimize the agitation from floating around in the flooded dripper. The drip should start from the middle and make a spiral going outward. A centimeter or so before the drip spiral hits the edge, it should start coming inward. Once the coffee reaches the amount you need, remove the dripper before all the water is dripped into the cup. The last drip tend to contain unfavorable bitterness and harshness.
From my experience, the permeative Mellita brewing has better extraction than infusive Melitta brewing. It enhances the body, and the least agitation results cleanliness in the cup.