Example SOP

TITLE: Preparation of the Perfect Cup of Coffee by the Drip Method
Date of Preparation:


Date of Revision: N/A Revision No.: N/A
Submitted by: Ay Dot Student Approved by: Professor Ex

Purpose:Provide an example of a standard operating protocol or SOP that can be appreciated by undergraduate research students from all academic disciplines.

Scope and Applicability: The following protocol can be used wherever quality coffee beans, good drinking water, and a drip coffee maker are available.

Introduction: Coffee is the beverage of choice of many college students. Properly prepared the beverage provides an invigorating and revitalizing effect. One of the most frequently used methods of preparation is the drip method. In this method, water, heated to near boiling temperatures, is slowly added to finely ground coffee beans held in a filter unit. The coffee beverage is collected below the filter unit in a glass carafe. Today this procedure is frequently accomplished using a semi-automated process in an electronic coffee maker. The procedure below outlines a reliable method for preparing drip coffee using any commercially available drip coffee maker, high quality ground coffee beans, and filtered water.

References: For information on coffee beans, the standard methods of preparation of coffee, and recipes see:

Materials and Supplies: Freshly ground Starbucks® coffee (any flavor you prefer; medium grind works best with most commercial coffee makers), commercial 4-c drip coffee maker including filter (gold mesh preferred but high quality paper filter may be used), good quality drinking water (Polar Springs®, Brita®-filtered, or similar quality source recommended), coffee cup, and additives (as desired: sugar or sugar alterative, cream or milk).

Cautions: Hot coffee can scald and burn. Water is an electrical conductor. If spills occur during the brewing process, wait until the brewing process is complete, turn of the electricity, and disconnect the unit from the electricity before attempting to clean up any spills. Accidental spills may be cleaned up with a kitchen sponge and dish washing detergent such as Dawn®, Dove®, or Ajax®. Used coffee grounds can be disposed of in the regular trash. Be sure to carefully read the directions that accompanied your coffee maker unit before attempting to use it. In particular, it is important to find out if your unit has (1) a pause feature that will allow you to remove the carafe while the coffee is brewing; and (2) an auto-off feature that turns off the heater unit located beneath the carafe at a set time after the coffee has been brewed.

Personnel Qualifications: No special knowledge or training is required to make coffee. However, due to the potential risk of burns, it is recommended that anyone performing this procedure who is less than ten years old be actively supervised by an adult.


1. Make sure that the coffee maker is off. Locate water reservoir unit on coffee maker and carefully add 4-cups of clean drinking water to the reservoir. Note that the outside or inside of most quality coffee makers’ water reservoir units are marked for the user’s convenience.

2. Locate the coffee filter assembly on the coffee unit. If you are preparing the standard 4-c carafe of coffee, carefully measure one coffee measure of ground coffee into your units coffee filter assembly. Note that one standard coffee measure is equivalent to 1/8-c of coffee. Close the coffee filter assembly.

3. Plug in the coffee maker and turn the unit on. Wait until the carafe located beneath the coffee filter unit is filled with coffee. Note that some units may have a “pause” feature that will allow you to temporarily remove the carafe and pour a cup of coffee while the unit is working. If you are unfamiliar with your unit, be sure to wait until the unit is done filtering before attempting to remove the carafe.

4. If coffee spills beneath the base of the carafe unit, be sure to turn off the unit and disconnect the electricity before attempting to clean up the spill.

5. Pour yourself a cup of coffee. Most coffee units will keep the carafe warm for a set period of time before turning off automatically. Some however, do not turn off automatically. Be sure to read your coffee maker’s instructions beforehand. If in doubt, be sure to turn off the electricity to your unit after the brewing process is complete.