Melitta Bentz Changed The Way We Brew Coffee Forever

There are many types of coffee drinkers: daily K-cup or pod consumers, instant coffee makers, espresso fans, Italian-coffee maker enthusiasts, strong Turkish coffee drinkers, ardent Aeropress users (who are a minority in the world of coffee lovers), French press loyalists, and those pour over patrons who most enjoy an old fashioned cup of drip coffee.

While there have been various methods of preparing coffee throughout history, from boiling crushed beans to using a coffee bag (which is just like a tea bag, except filled with coffee) to using a percolator, a deviceĀ invented in 1825 that uses the force of boiling water into an upper chamber through coffee grounds before dripping back to the lower chamber according to How Products Are Made. Many consider the percolator to be the original coffee brewing device, but less than a hundred years later came the invention of the popular Melitta filter, which is so ingeniously low-tech that it forever changed the course of coffee history.

The mother of filter coffee: a housewife from Dresden, Germany

According to the Melitta website, its filters and drip coffee contraptions were invented by ingenious housewife, Melitta Bentz. Necessity is the mother of invention, and this housewife and mother of three was driven to invent because of her need to find "a better way to make a cleaner cup of coffee." Her solution was to make holes in a brass pot and then used blotting paper from her son's homework as a makeshift filter.

One summer day in Berlin, Bentz filed a patent on July 8, 1908 for a "coffee filter with a domed underside, recessed bottom and inclined flow holes", as reported by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. Once the patent was granted, Bentz immediately launched her own company out of her apartment and started off with a stock of just 50 filter receptacles and 100 cartons of paper filters which she and her husband Hugo shopped to local stores. Despite the inconvenient setback of there being no coffee importation during WWI, Bentz's son later patented the paper filters as well in the 1930s. So the next time you enjoy your own cup of pour-over, think of Melitta Bentz, the enterprising German housewife who forever changed how coffee is brewed.