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Is Chemex the coffee maker Spock would chose?
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break
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Posted Wed Jun 20, 2012, 10:52am
Subject: Is Chemex the coffee maker Spock would chose?
 

My parents purchased a Chemex way back in the late 1950's after seeing it on Edward R. Murrow's "Person to Person" interview with Faye Dunaway. My folks were likely also rather impressed with the fact that the Chemex's excellent  industrial design placed it in the Museum of Modern Art collection. My folks were also impressed with the device's ability to purge the grind of virtually all its oils.

Fast forward to my approaching old age....got a 12 cup as gift, complete with environmentally correct paper filters..........the coffee is thoroughly lifeless........and better served aboard a starship hurtling @ warp speed through strange, unexplored, galaxies. I only drink the stuff while watching reruns of "The Big Bang Theory"

Am I crazy? Isn't this supposed to be the ultimate, cool coffee delivery system? Apart from aesthetics, I don't see or taste it.
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frankthecrank
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Posted Wed Jun 20, 2012, 11:03am
Subject: Re: Is Chemex the coffee maker Spock would chose?
 

break Said:

My parents purchased a Chemex way back in the late 1950's after seeing it on Edward R. Murrow's "Person to Person" interview with Faye Dunaway. My folks were likely also rather impressed with the fact that the Chemex's excellent  industrial design placed it in the Museum of Modern Art collection. My folks were also impressed with the device's ability to purge the grind of virtually all its oils.

Fast forward to my approaching old age....got a 12 cup as gift, complete with environmentally correct paper filters..........the coffee is thoroughly lifeless........and better served aboard a starship hurtling @ warp speed through strange, unexplored, galaxies. I only drink the stuff while watching reruns of "The Big Bang Theory"

Am I crazy? Isn't this supposed to be the ultimate, cool coffee delivery system? Apart from aesthetics, I don't see or taste it.

Posted June 20, 2012 link

Wow. I don't know what to say. Are you sure you put ground coffee in it? I use it every morning. With ground coffee. It makes a delicious brown caffeine laden concoction. I think one might call it coffee.
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Sam21
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Posted Wed Jun 20, 2012, 11:15am
Subject: Re: Is Chemex the coffee maker Spock would chose?
 

Not sure what to say... is there a question about coffee in your post?

I might be able to help out if you offer up some information:

-coffee used
-grinder
-water to coffee ratio

Thanks

Sam
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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Posted Wed Jun 20, 2012, 2:16pm
Subject: Re: Is Chemex the coffee maker Spock would chose?
 

break Said:

My parents purchased a Chemex way back in the late 1950's after seeing it on Edward R. Murrow's "Person to Person" interview with Faye Dunaway. My folks were likely also rather impressed with the fact that the Chemex's excellent  industrial design placed it in the Museum of Modern Art collection. My folks were also impressed with the device's ability to purge the grind of virtually all its oils.

Fast forward to my approaching old age....got a 12 cup as gift, complete with environmentally correct paper filters..........the coffee is thoroughly lifeless........and better served aboard a starship hurtling @ warp speed through strange, unexplored, galaxies. I only drink the stuff while watching reruns of "The Big Bang Theory"

Am I crazy? Isn't this supposed to be the ultimate, cool coffee delivery system? Apart from aesthetics, I don't see or taste it.

Posted June 20, 2012 link

Spock doesn't drink coffee.  His heart rate is way to high to start with ...

Len

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

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TheSunInsideYou
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Posted Wed Jun 20, 2012, 4:29pm
Subject: Re: Is Chemex the coffee maker Spock would chose?
 

The Chemex product can only be as good as the ingredients you put into it. You have the chemex and the filters--you've told us this much--but what about everything else? I 2nd Sam that if you gave us a little more info, we may be able to better direct you. Technique is pretty important, temp of the water is pretty important, the grind (including the quality of the grinder doing the grinding) is very important, and the quality of the coffee is unbelievably important if you're looking for a quality output.  

-Dave-
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JPDyson
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Posted Fri Jun 22, 2012, 6:26am
Subject: Re: Is Chemex the coffee maker Spock would chose?
 

A chemex is a piece of glass. The filters are pieces of paper. You need to evaluate the coffee you put it in, the water you pour over said coffee, and how go about doing that. In other words, it's not a brewer at all. You are.

 
--Josh
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Posted Wed Jun 27, 2012, 10:08am
Subject: Re: Is Chemex the coffee maker Spock would chose?
 

OK...I expected the response tone(s) here...........first allow me to lift my knuckles up a bit so as not to drag along the floor.............

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.

OK...for starters:

I KNOW that water heated to make coffee is expected to be @ 200F. 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. Back in the day, my folks bought the pot with its accessory brass/copper pan that when filled half way with water held the brewed Chemex at a stovetop simmer.

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..........however, it never hurts to try something new...recommendations on brand-specific filtered waters?

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.

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.

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.

Now, here's where it gets personal....(" what beans do you use ?").....................if this was 1960 I'd be lucky to be using whole arabica beans...but more likely to give a nod to the immortal Mrs. Olson of Folgers' lore and used their gourmet ground coffee. Perhaps one of Chemex's major goals was to filter out oils & assorted detritus that accompanied major supermarket brands (well, perhaps "Chock Full of Nuts" was exempt). My parents, being the NYC progressives that they were in those days, schlepped up to Yorkville on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to Rohr's Coffee Roasters where they bought a pound or so of freshly roasted beans...I can't speak to the provenance, as I was 6 yrs old.....but the aroma drove me nuts on the ride home to Queens. We ground them by hand in an antique grinder my mother got at an antique shop on Long Island. They'd serve it to "company".....when we drank it privately the family would don black turtle neck sweaters and quietly enjoy our hip pleasure....with a Coltrane LP on the hi-fi

Today....I purchase a number of bean varietals and blends from several sellers. All time favorite is Chicago's Intelligenstia...Black Cat when in the mood. I often get various blends at Stauff Rosters in Columbus, Ohio. I've purchased Peet's Major Dickinson beans when in a city with that retailer..or have sent for them. Here in Cincinnati there are a number of roasters, with Coffee Emporium being the leader...and in that case I get Raven Blend or Ethiopian Sidamo....whole bean, grind before brewing. Though I  usually take the Fifth on this,  there have been times when I caved and bought half a pound of Starbucks Gold Coast Blend...before they sold out completely and re-named the stuff "Morning Joe"...in defence to the morning TV guy.

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...?

It should be noted that I measure for 2Tbsp of grounds for each 6 oz water.

Please advise...............
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Netphilosopher
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Posted Wed Jun 27, 2012, 11:31am
Subject: ...
 

...
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Sam21
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Joined: 20 Sep 2011
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Posted Wed Jun 27, 2012, 11:33am
Subject: Re: Is Chemex the coffee maker Spock would chose?
 

Netphilosopher Said:

Absolutely a difference.  The fines change the perception of body, no doubt.

Yer brew ratio looks right.  Ish.  Is that 2Tbsp heaping or scraped level (i.e. actually 30 ml or more like 40ml?)?.  May want to pop it a bit to heaping just to try it.

I don't own a Chemex (probably "yet"), but I've used one many times.  Other than the filter, I don't see a ton of advantage over the cone-shaped percolation vs. the melitta envelope shape of other pourovers.  I find it easier to overextract than under with a Chemex.  YMMV.

Try grinding finer than drip.  I've found lifeless coffee suddenly perk up with significant increase in aroma and body just by fineing up the grind.  The Chemex (for whatever reason) seems to respond more to this than others.

One other thing to try:  bump the bloom strike temperature to around 205F instead of 200F.  


Good luck!

Posted June 27, 2012 link

+1 Small temp and grind size changes can have a huge impact on the cup.
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steprock
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Posted Wed Jun 27, 2012, 3:36pm
Subject: Re: Is Chemex the coffee maker Spock would chose?
 

Spock would use a siphon pot.

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No doubt about it.
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