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January 09, 2015 · Untitled

Fed up with inconsistent results, I spent the morning fiddling with my coffee apparatus. I have come to the following conclusions:

  1. Making good coffee is not difficult per se;
  2. however, mixing imperial units of liquid volume and metric units of mass is a pain in the ass.

I use a Chemex 8-cup coffee maker (with official Chemex™ filters, natch); a Capresso burr grinder; an electric kettle and, now that I’m getting all scientific, a scale. My beans are delivered relatively freshly roasted (< 1 wk) by Blue Bottle, which is a silly luxury, considering that I do most of my brewing in Toronto.

Through the laborious application of MATH, I have created a formula that results in a very good pot of coffee:

  1. Heat 1.1l of water to 200°F (yeah, yeah, but my kettle only has imperial temperature settings);
  2. with the grinder on the Medium coarseness + 1 click setting, grind for three seconds or so;
  3. moisten a Chemex brand Chemex™ filter in hot water and put it into the Chemex, with three layers towards the spoutA Chemex brand Chemex™ filter is a square sheet of filter paper folded twice; it forms a square with four layers, so you separate it into a sort of cup with three folds on one side and one on the other.

  4. transfer 33g of ground coffee to the filter;
  5. once the water reaches 200°, pour a small amount over the grounds, to let them “bloom” in what is undoubtedly an exercise in magicial thinking;
  6. wait 30 seconds;
  7. pour the remaining liter or so of water into the Chemex.

This produces a fine cup of coffee, although you’ll need to put it into something insulated, or drink eight cups of coffee very quicklyNot recommended.

. And now you know much more than you probably care to about how I spend twenty minutes every morning.

Yes, it takes considerably more time and effort than a K-Cup machine; however, as I am not really time-constrained in the morning, and I like ritualistic behaviors, I find it an enjoyable way to start my day. It also results in enough coffee to share, and I think it tastes better than any automatic machine I’ve tried. In addition, we have an Aeropress, but I rarely want just a single cup of coffee, and – more importantly – I don’t find that it does that great a job, compared to the pour-over.

I suppose the next logical step is roasting my own beans, but I haven’t gotten there yet. I am not doing this for cost saving reasons, so I am willing to trade money for the time and hassle (and, let’s be honest, stink) of someone else roasting the coffee for me.

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