Video: A Spanish Look at the Chemex

02.25

 

The Madrid-based coffee bar, Toma Café partnered up with Visual Shakers, a local film studio to develop this short and hypnotic look at the Chemex brew method. The process is beautifully filmed, edited and will easily inspire you to brew another cup. Enjoy.

chemex_toma2

chemex_toma

posted by on 02.25.2013, under Videos

Darth Vader & His Moka Pot

12.26

Darth Vader, a moka pot and Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport are combined with the dark side of coffee brewing and stop motion animation in the latest video from Coffee Circle.

Using the Force to bring a bit of light (and quality) to one of the evilest of brew methods, the moka pot, this video will make Star Wars fans and coffee lovers alike grab their AeroPress Lightsabers to protect the Empire from terrible coffee.

posted by on 12.26.2012, under Brew Methods, Videos

The Impress Coffee Brewer: Potentially Impressive

10.09

There’s a new coffee brewer vying for attention on the internet, but without an $11,000 price tag, this one has received much less fanfare. The Impress, a stainless steel AeroPress-like contraption, is the latest coffee product to raise production costs through pre-orders on Kickstarter. The campaign will have most likely reached its $50,000 goal by the time you read this post—with 25 days remaining.

This latest attempt to improve how we brew coffee comes from Raleigh-based Gamil Design. The husband and wife led design team have taken elements from several brew methods to create a simple and streamlined product with curiosity inducing potential.

The primary concept is based on full immersion brewers like the French press and Eva Solo—pour in hot water, ground coffee and steep—but the Impress utilizes a new way of separating the grounds from the water. It uses a plunger like contraption resembling one from an AeroPress, with an inverted portafilter basket attached to the bottom. After the proper amount of time has passed (3-4 min), pushing down on the plunger will draw the coffee through the microfilter, while trapping the grounds at the bottom.

The tight seal of the plunger combined with the more precise holes in the metal filter, are designed to allow far less sediment through than a French press (an AeroPress using a Disk filter comes to mind). Once the plunger has been pressed all the way down, the Impress becomes a 12oz travel mug that carries your freshly brewed coffee.

While my immediate thought was the over extraction that would occur from continuous steeping, the designers claim that it’s virtually nonexistent because of a much more prominent barrier created between the coffee and extracted grounds than what you find in a French press—if nothing else, the affect is most likely reduced a fair amount.

The double-walled exterior, combined with the steel plunger create 3 walls of insulation that’s sure to keep your coffee temperature stable and offers an attractive new coffee brewing option for traveling and camping (although its current design can’t be used to boil water). The designers experimented with a version that worked with interchangeable filter baskets, including VST baskets, but ultimately decided to use a proprietary filter design that screws in place for added durability while plunging.

Without having tested the Impress, it’s hard to say how well it brews a cup of coffee, but the idea was intriguing enough to support and I look forward to giving it a try.

Impress Coffee Brewer

posted by on 10.09.2012, under Brew Methods, Design, Products

The Able Kone 3

08.26

Less than three months after Able launched their successful Kickstarter campaign to fund a production run of its latest Kone coffee filter, their beautifully designed white boxes have begun appearing in mailboxes and Instagram feeds around the world.

The new Kone and soon to be released ceramic brewer raised $150,000 more than the initial $5000 requested for tooling and production costs. Now with over 1200 backers supporting Keith Gehrke, the founder of Able Brewing, it’s become clear that his company’s new life after Coava, will create a bright new path on its own.

The Kone is a reusable, stainless steel coffee filter originally designed to fit the Chemex coffee maker, but can really be used with any vessel that supports its size and shape. The filter uses hundreds of thousands of micro-sized holes, created using a process of photo-etched steel, to form a precise filter pattern for uniform extraction.

I prefer not to compare the Kone with Chemex paper filters, because there is little comparison in the resulting coffee. The Kone is a unique brew method that incorporates pour over techniques to produce a heavier, oil-rich brew that’s still cleaner than a French press, which many people enjoy more than paper.

I’ve used the Kone since the first version was released more than 2 years ago. It’s been great following the progression of the filter and the company as it’s been refined over the years. The third and newest version is no exception.

The most obvious changes in the new design is the black plastic ring around the edge along with a new blunted tip. My reaction to the black ring was negative at first for altering the elegant, streamlined aesthetic of previous versions (it also slightly affects how well it sits in a Chemex).

However, once I handled the new Kone, the extra rigidity added to the shape and structure by the plastic ring becomes obvious and appreciated. For the coffee shops who use the Kone all day long, the new lip will greatly improve emptying spent grounds and seemingly extend the filters overall life.

The new blunted tip not only makes the Kone safer to handle, but it eliminates the small gap found on the tip of older versions, which was a clear path for fine grounds that increase sediment in the cup. This new “cap” plays a part in catching fines and helping produce a cleaner cup overall than the previous Kones.

With even smaller holes and a new pattern that becomes more concentrated near the tip, the new Kone offers more uniform passthrough as well. More of the water makes its way to the bottom, instead of leaking dramatically through the sides of the filter.

When the first Kone came out, I thought it looked incredible and worked great. It was new and there was nothing to compare it with. Once version 2 came out, the first one suddenly looked and felt like a prototype and the quality of the brew greatly improved.

The latest version, while losing some of its elegance, looks like a retail-ready product that could be sold on the shelves of Williams-Sonoma. From the packaging to the product itself, there’s a much greater feeling of value.

Below I’ve run an experiment to illustrate the progression of the Kone and how much the sediment has been reduced with each new version.

I brewed coffee with each version of the Kone using the same parameters and technique: 40 grams of coffee to 600 grams of water, 30 second bloom followed by a slow and steady center pour, using a medium grind (5-O on a Baratza Vario-W).

After each coffee was done brewing, I poured the result through a rinsed, white V60 filter to capture the sediment. Results pictured below begin with version 1.

From my highly unscientific experiment, you can clearly see how much the sediment is reduced with each new version, but there is always some sediment. With a refined technique, it’s likely possible to minimize the sediment even more, but I don’t find the current amount distracting and have been surprised by the clarity achieved.

Overall, the new Kone is a great improvement over its predecessor. From its reinforced new structure to the increased clarity in the cup—if you were a fan of previous versions then you’ll love the latest. If you’re just now discovering the Kone or have been waiting to purchase one, this is definitely the best version so far and you’ll be happy you waited.

Able Brewing Equipment

[DCILY tip: Dry & store the Kone upright with an unused AeroPress funnel]

 

posted by on 08.26.2012, under Brew Methods, Products

Cartel Coffee & The Chemex

08.20

Since the early days of brew method videos, there’s been an impressive evolution in the quality of the videos being produced. From the academic, to the clever to the action packed—tutorial videos have become a way for coffee companies to educate consumers, market themselves and have a bit of fun in the process.

The latest addition to the brewtorial archive comes from Cartel Coffee Lab in Arizona. Using the same “Stranger Than Fiction” notations as their earlier video, their latest—also produced by Ah Dios—gives the mid-century modern Chemex a southwestern flair.

posted by on 08.20.2012, under Brew Methods, Brewtorial, Coffee 101, Misc., Videos

AeroPress: How MacGyver Brews Coffee

07.18

 

Stunts, explosions, & coffee. This may be the greatest coffee brewing video ever. From the same people who brought you syphon brewing in the dark, comes this explosive 80′s throwback to my favorite brew method—the AeroPress. Huge thumbs up.

[via CoffeeCircle]

posted by on 07.18.2012, under Brew Methods, Brewtorial, Videos

The Subtle Beauty of Syphon Brewing

07.03


Here’s a beautifully simple video of a syphon pot in action—capturing all its romantic serenity—only to be shattered with an odd and unexpected ending. Bonus points for being unique? I hear the clubs in Berlin are fantastic. Enjoy.

[via CoffeeCircle]

posted by on 07.03.2012, under Brew Methods, Brewtorial, Videos

MadCap’s Method: Espresso

02.27

 

I don’t brew espresso at home, and I’m not in the market to begin doing so anytime soon. However, once the ZP Machines start shipping, there will probably be a lot of people making espresso for their first time—or in need of a refresher course.

For anyone looking to improve their espresso technique, the guys at MadCap Coffee and Hybrid Media Co. have teamed up again to produce a follow up to their popular V60 tutorial. So grab your favorite tamper and take some notes from Sensei Knapp.

posted by on 02.27.2012, under Brew Methods, Brewtorial, Coffee 101, Videos

MadCap’s Method: The Hario V60

12.16

Hario V60 from Hybrid Media Co. on Vimeo.

I’m a big fan of all the previous MadCap videos released in partnership with Hybrid Media Co. But until now, most of them have just been really pretty coffee footage. This time MadCap adds their own addition to the growing library of roaster produced brew method videos—starring the ever handsome 2011 NCRBC winner Ryan Knapp.

Like their other videos, it’s really well made with a great soundtrack. Be sure to stick around for the outtakes at the end—they’ll blow your head off.

Past MadCap videos:
Latte Art
Green Bean

posted by on 12.16.2011, under Brew Methods, Brewtorial, Coffee 101, Videos

Brew Method: The Chemex

11.14

The Chemex is possibly the most elegant looking of all brewing devices and one of my favorite ways to make coffee. It was designed in 1941 by a German chemist, Dr. Peter Schlumbohm, who immigrated to the United States in 1935. The modern hourglass shape of the Chemex, hugged in the middle by a wooden collar and leather tie, became a part of MoMA’s permanent collection in 1944—just a few years after its invention.

Apart from its sophisticated design, it makes an equally great cup of coffee when it’s not looking beautiful on your counter or the walls of a modern art museum.

The upper portion of the Chemex cradles a thick, bonded filter (also made by Chemex) that resembles lab parchment more than a typical coffee filter. This filter is what helps create such a clean cup of coffee that really highlights the brightness, clarity and sweetness in certain coffees that I personally enjoy very much.

The design is nearly identical to the original product, except the glass is no longer made by Pyrex. There is an alternate, glass-handled design that is easier to clean and allows a better view of the coffee brewing process—or there’s the handblown versions for three times the cost of the mass produced ones, if you’re a purist with extra money to spend.

Apart from the design itself and the quality of coffee it makes, I also like the Chemex for its ease of use. In regards to pour over devices, I find the Chemex to be one of the easiest for beginners to take up. The thickness of the filter and slower brew time allows for a greater margin of error, while the one-piece design reduces spills and can be less intimidating to handle. Although the larger ones are not ideal for smaller servings, there are several sizes of the Chemex available depending on your needs.

There are many variations on how to use the Chemex, but at its simplest, add a bit of hot water and let bloom for 30–45 seconds, then pour the remaining water in a circular motion, keeping all the grounds wet. I generally stick to a “60g of coffee/1 liter of water” ratio for the Chemex—but as always, adjust to taste. There are a number of tutorials on BrewMethods.com, but this one from Intelligentsia has always been my favorite.

Shop for a Chemex.

Further reading on the Chemex and Dr. Schlumbohm:
New York Times Magazine & Gourmet

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
posted by on 11.14.2011, under Brew Methods, Design, Products, Videos