Posted Thu Jun 28, 2012, 5:22am Subject: Re: Is Chemex the coffee maker Spock would chose?
Thanks for the suggestions.........I think I'll lean toward the heaping Tbspn notion.....and a finer grind
As an aside....I can't see why the Melitta isn't more popular...perhaps it's because it is so straightforward....and sexless..........no flash, faux pro look, etc.
For those old enough to remember coffee culture in the 1960's...............perk ruled the roost......and for the most part it was slag.........though I'm sure it has its devotees and if carefully made can yield a nice cup............no self-respecting newly wed couple from my NYC milieu went without getting a jet-propelled Farberware percolator as a gift. It made coffee at warp speed......and burned up after about a year. Maxwell House created a jungle out of the simulated sound of the perking pot. Chemex seemed to be the anti-perk..........at first received as a blasphemer and then eventually a crusader for quality brewed coffee. Revisiting the method after a rather long hiatus prompted my question and snarky assignment of the Chemex as the Klingon brew of choice.
aecletec Senior Member Joined: 10 Dec 2010 Posts: 195 Location: Australia Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Presso Grinder: Faema A6 Drip: Chemex
Posted Thu Jun 28, 2012, 5:57am Subject: Re: Is Chemex the coffee maker Spock would chose?
The melitta is popular... e.g. (600k google hits vs 800k) and useful as per Click Here (theotherblackstuff.ie) and all the other blog posts written about it in specialty coffee. Talking about style rather than results is, to me, the antithesis of specialty coffee. I brew in a chemex primarily because that's what was available in my area when I was shopping. With a reasonably high dose of 70g/L and a coarse FPesque grind I get what I consider to be very tasty coffee with a minimum of fuss. My grinder doesn't seem to like finer grinds for drip, even though I sift - so I adapt. If you want to drink good coffee you should adapt your recipe according to what tools you have.
Posted Thu Jun 28, 2012, 8:11am Subject: Re: Is Chemex the coffee maker Spock would chose?
Chemex is NOT just a piece of glass. The filters are not merely paper...... I assume it was and is still hailed as a well conceived brewing approach that addressed several issues in coffee preparation and results.
Perhaps we mean to emphasize different things. My point wasn't to say that the Chemex was nothing special, or didn't really factor into the equation. I'm just saying it's a tool. It doesn't make or break the coffee, you do. There is ample evidence to suggest the humble vessel is quite capable of pleasing choosy coffee brewers. If there's a problem, I'd humbly put forward that it's either expectations (that is, that it would be remotely similar to press pot coffee - it won't) or technique (addressed at more length later).
I KNOW that water heated to make coffee is expected to be @ 200F.
Let's correct this point for starters. Shoot for the water temperature that's right for your coffee bean, it's age, grind, and preparation method. Expect that to be between 195-205ºF.
I heat water to that temp AND if the brewing device is not up to maintaining that temp I place the brew in a vacuum insulated carafe.
Filtered Water? As a public official in a metropolitan area known for its high quality water, let's just say that filtration "post- faucet" is a bit much.....perhaps a neurotic indulgence....but for those who know better/best...filtered is good. I imagined if I lived in a really hard water world I'd go for filtered..........
We agree. My water tastes good, hot or cold, so I don't bother.
Now we come to the grind...do I grind? Yes...on a per brewing basis.......and then, only very shortly before the water meets the grinds..i sleep poorly agonizing over the lone exception....preparing a small amount of coffee in an auto drip machine set to program and filled prior to bedtime...set to brew @ 4:30 AM......poured into an insulated "go cup" @ 5:00 AM.
Chemex is theoretically a classic, non-electric/automatic drip process...like its pedestrian cousin Melitta.
I use a grind just a bit coarser than a machine drip....perhaps 1/3 of the way toward French Press.
I'm going to say that's probably too coarse. My grind is finer than I'd use in an auto-drip. Much finer for single cup, actually - but if I'm doing a whole pot (1L, or ~34oz) then it's closer to the fine side of auto drip. Try finer.
The brew/pour: as I remember Eva Marie Saint (confused in my intro remarks with Faye Dunaway) doing it on TV...the same as the salesperson in the Greenwich Village shop where we purchased our Chemex........cover the grounds, don't simply drown them......a bit at a time...and let the grounds "bloom" first before [beginning ] to pour the balance of the water. With proper restraint, this takes all of two -three minutes...quite efficient........and come to think of it...this coukd be my go-to brewing method if the results are improved.
Can't say I know those dames, but the approach sounds reasonable. 2-3 minutes is a HUGE difference, though. A 2 minute brew will be coffee-tainted water. A 3 minute brew, and we're probably in business. My full pots take even longer.
Filters: While the off-white, non-bleached variety is a reflection of one's dedication to purity, Chemex cognoscenti have repeatedly advised to go with the lowly white ones........and I do...and will until otherwise directed/advised.
The white ones taste best. The brown ones taste like grocery bags.
Now, here's where it gets personal....(" what beans do you use ?")
I really only have one comment here. VarietY, not VarietAL. A VarietAL (in wine drinking parlance) is a wine made from a single VarietY of grape. I suppose if you want to make a claim to the word varietal within the coffee world, consider Counter Culture's Variety: Bourbon (exclusively bourbon variety, so I suppose you could call the coffee brewed with it a bourbon varietal). But that's fairly technical, and of course doesn't affect the taste of the brown liquid you're making. Use good, fresh coffee (within two weeks of roasting if you can manage it).
OK...bottom line question: what grind? And................will anyone agree that there's close to 180 degrees difference between French Press with its heightened mouth feel...and Chemex brew's rather thin sensation...?
As I said, try a finer grind. This will slow down extraction and produce a more flavorful cup. You can go too far with this, of course, but the Chemex is somewhat forgiving, thanks to the filter. The resultant cup will be cleaner and less oily than that from a french press, so expect a very different sensation/mouthfeel and taste.
It should be noted that I measure for 2Tbsp of grounds for each 6 oz water.
I'd suggest a scale, and measuring your ingredients by weight. 60g of coffee per 1000g of water (1 liter, or 33.8oz). Coffee does not have a uniform density, so a "scoop" or any volumetric measurement will be less precise. There are approximations to be found, and I'll leave you to those.
Posted Fri Jul 6, 2012, 11:04am Subject: Re: Is Chemex the coffee maker Spock would chose?
First of all, thanks for your advice...I've found that the Chemex can take a relatively fine grind as you suggest.........the finished product tastes better...in terms of more coffee flavor vs, over-extraction.
To be perfectly honest...and not to offend those who have designated this the best cup to brew, I think the Chemex is much more attractive as a work of industrial design than as a brewing approach. This truly disappoints me, as the design and overall concept seem so appropriately intuitive.
There are times when this brew could truly hit the spot for me...perhaps its forte is as an after-dinner beverage...after all, it doesn't jump out of the cup and smack you in the face, it goes nicely as a beverage accompanying both sweet and savory dessert courses. First thing in the AM? Not for me.
Someone in the midst of all this discussion (and most others on these forums) has voiced the rock-solid notion that in the final analysis, though there is much technical adjustment and other variables, the style of coffee one favors and drinks boils down to a matter of taste.
A moderately egalitarian approach to coffee brewing is fine. I draw the line, however, at the commercial coffee brewers...the ones who have the resources to market both product and the conditions under which it is presented to the public.
Look for my rant on Starbucks' concepts and [at least, perceived] philosophy on espresso.............
Posted Mon Jul 9, 2012, 9:00pm Subject: Re: Is Chemex the coffee maker Spock would chose?
If you want more of a press style of brew but want to use your Chemex, I'd highly recommend getting the newest Able Kone (V3) when it comes out. It should give you the body and mouthfeel that you're looking for with a more pronounced flavor profile that I find a press tends to produce. It should be much easier to use than my V1, which is very finicky, or the V2.
On another note, I second what Josh said about a scale for brewing. It will give you a level of precision and consistency you cannot get any other way.
and Spock would use a Siphon unless he didn't have time, which would relegate him to the replicator. 8)
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