You would have to spend unspeakable sums of money to get an electric device that even comes close to what the Chemex brews for $35.
Positive Product Points
You will never ever ever drink a better cup of coffee. I use filtered water, freshly ground home roasted beans, and this Chemex to produce the finest coffee I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. And this coffee is a pleasure! In fact, I've totally given up using cream and sugar because my coffee no longer has anything to hide.
Another up side: clean up means swishing the Chemex with warm water and then tossing the rinse water down the drain. You can also wash with a bottle brush but this is rarely necessary. A brief swish is really all it takes to get your Chemex looking factory new. Try that with your electric drip machine! Ha! That thing will NEVER look brand new!
And while I'm talking about looks, I should point out that this coffee maker has won design awards based on its aesthetics. It is a beautiful and elegant device that looks like a useless but beautiful decoration. People won't realize that is in fact quite useful unless they happen to like coffee, in which case you will not be able to resist showing off.
Oh, here's a final upside: this Chemex brews the best coffee you'll ever drink, and it costs less than just about anything. You are probably already spending more money than this every month at Starbucks!
Negative Product Points
This coffee maker requires a more manual procedure than what you are used to, and it may also take a couple of pots to learn how to use it most efficiently. The first time I tried to use mine, I had ground my coffee way too finely and it just took forever! The big time consumers: you have to boil your water separately (you do have a water kettle right?) and then you have to gradually pour the boiled water through the Chemex. This means that while the coffee is brewing, you are pouring, or watching, or giving the filter area a bit of a stir.
Here is one more negative point: the smell of brewing coffee is not nearly as strong when using the Chemex as it is when using an automatic drip machine. I attribute this to the fact that the fumes tend to get trapped in the bottom of the Chemex with the coffee, which may be true and may be part of why the coffee is so delicious. I could be completely wrong about that, though. The fact remains that the brewing coffee is not as aromatic. (But boy that coffee tastes good!)
I have been using a Chemex 10-cup coffee maker for several weeks and have never had such good coffee before in my life. I am constantly looking forward to my next pot of coffee!
Despite the extra effort required, the results from using this device are undeniably excellent. I personally do not mind the extra work. It doesn't really take any longer than an electric drip coffee maker, it just requires you to stand there the whole time and pour. This is relatively insignificant and I have come to enjoy my morning brewing ritual. It's like a miniature science experiment every day! (And the coffee is so good...)
Go ahead and buy yourself one of these. If necessary, wake up 10 minutes earlier to make your coffee. Better yet, wake up 20 minutes earlier. And when your coffee is ready, instead of dumping it into a travel cup and bolting out the door, sit down and enjoy your first cup for the next 10 minutes. You deserve it!
I ordered this from Sweet Maria's. They know what they are doing there and they have good prices. Unfortunately they are on the left coast, so I had to wait an entire week for the package to arrive. (I went with the skinflint shipping option.) But it was worth the wait!