COFFEE AWARENESS MONTH, DAY 4: Smooth Style, Smooth Substance
Behold the Chemex Coffee Brewer. Invented nearly 70 years ago by a somewhat mad scientist, this simple-yet-elegant piece of glass still makes some of the best brewed coffee around. Available in 3-cup, 6-cup, 8-cup and 10-cup sizes, all you need is the vessel ($50 or less), hot water, and the specialized Chemex filters ($10 or so for 100).
You might be thinking, “That’s a lot of money for filters!” But the filter is the actual innovation: Made from ultra-heavy paper and then oxidized to reduce paper taste, Chemex filters block almost all the oils, sediment and “fines” that make their way into most other brews — and the result is the cleanest, lightest-bodied coffee that you can make.
Like coffee with your cream and sugar? Then the Chemex may not be for you. But if you want a pure coffee experience with a side of modernist style, then a Chemex should definitely be in your brewing arsenal. It’s a great conversation piece (and can double as a fabulous vase — just ask my wife!) and works well regardless of whether you want coffee for one or for four. Just grind “medium” (think the size of cracked pepper) and slowly add hot water — it takes about 4 minutes, but it’s well worth the time and effort. You’ll taste nuances in your coffee that you’ve never noticed before, and cleanup is a breeze. 70 years old, but it tastes new every morning to us. For more on the Chemex, including a pretty good brewing guide, check out this 2010 article in the New York Times.
Visit us at 1 p.m. this Saturday for “Better Brewing at Home,” a free demonstration and tasting at Spencer’s Coffee. We’ll be brewing with the Chemex, as well as one or two other devices, and experts will be on hand to answer any questions or concerns!