Melitta Bentz

If you’re lucky enough to live with an early riser, you probably wake up most mornings with the aroma of it filling your nostrils as it gently coaxes you awake. Millions of people prefer you not talk to them until they’re had their first cup each day. We’re talking about good old joe, or coffee as it’s formally known, and the filter drip system that’s used to brew it was invented by a woman named Melitta Bentz in 1908.

Have you ever been talking with someone who had something stuck in their teeth? What do you do? Point it out and risk embarrassing them? Ignore it? This was the dilemma Melitta was in while conversing with a friend at a coffee klatch one day. The friend had coffee grounds stuck in her teeth, and was oblivious to the fact. Melitta saw them and knew loose coffee grounds in the cups and consequently teeth were common problems for those who drank coffee.

Melitta knew the solution was to create some kind of filter that would prevent the grounds from leaking into the coffee. Using a nail, Melitta punctured holes in the bottom a brass pot, and then lined it with blotting paper taken from the notebook of her oldest son. The result was exactly what she had hoped; perfectly filtered coffee without bitterness or grounds. She filed for and received her patent in 1908, and started the Melitta Coffee Company, one of the leading coffee companies in the world today.

Tomorrow morning when you’re laying in bed and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee is filling the air, or you’re reaching across the counter as the barista hands you that cup of coffee you’re craving, take a minute to thank a woman. Thank Melitta Bentz.