This is a follow up of a great article by Pablo at the Treehugger http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/11/electric-kettle-stove-or-microwave.php where he tested the efficiency of different ways of boiling water. By bringing 350ml of 17°C water to a boil and measuring the energi used, he found the efficiency of using a pot on the stove to be 30.5%, a microwave 47%, and an electric kettle 81%.
I have been thinking of how to make coffee in the morning. I can use the drip brewer or the Frensh press pot. So I first repetead the Pablo test with our 2000W electric kettle. It took 77 seconds to bring the water the 83 C° up to a boil. Actually slightly shorter, but I timed it to the point where the kettle turned it self off. The specific heat of water is 4.180 kJ/kgK, which means that it takes 4,180 kWs to heat one liter one C°. Needed energy transfered to the water is then 0.350 l * 83C°*4.180 kWs which is 121.4kWs. The kettle averaged 2000 W and used 77 seconds, which is 154 kWs. From this I get the efficiency of my electric kettle to be 78%, which is close to what Pable got. Then I tried the drip brewer. It averaged 950 W and after 153 seconds it was done, but the next 15 minutes it turned it self on again four times for 6 seonds each time. So at the time of automatic shut off it had been running for 177 seconds. 168.2 kWs turns out to be an efficiency of 72%. I did this test with 350 ml so it could compare to Pablos test.
For us, a more realistic water use is typical 700ml, so after waiting for an hour, I redid the tests with twice as much water. The result from this was that the drip brewer was 95% efficient and the electric kettle 88% efficient. So for our family, the drip brewer is the most efficient way boiling water for coffee.
Summary in Norwegian: Det kreves store mengder energi for å varme opp vann. Derfor er det lønnsomt å være bevisst på hvordan man varmer opp vann. Konklusjonen fra denne testen er at en kaffe trakter er den minst energikrevende måten å lage kaffe på.