Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Chemex Slayer

I try to keep up with the coffee and coffee maker selection at mainstream retailers now that we're back in the U.S. and while in Wal Mart today I picked up this Bodum 1 liter pour-over for $20. I'd seen the smaller pint size version at a Starbucks display but wouldn't have touched it since [the bane of all attempts at single cup/small batch drip brewing]  the contact time between grounds and water would've fallen far short of the required 4-6 minute range. 

This brewer comes with a stoutly-made, ultra fine-mesh permanent nylon filter. The pot I just brewed using a liter of water and 61 grams of coffee took exactly 5:30 to brew using standard drip grind. 

Here's a photo of the unit with the included Bodum 7 gram scoop (which I recommend replacing with a CBC 2 Tablespoon scoop, or better yet a gram scale) and a nifty top to keep in warmth and aroma and help with pouring. 

Personally I think the Bodum looks much nicer than the clunky unit below with its Depends-size paper filter. Note that the Bodum uses a cork (or in some models neoprene) collar to avoid contact with hot coffee, whereas Chemex, knowing full well there's no chance your coffee will be anything more than tepid after the mega-filter strips out most of its flavor,  goes with wood (which has the added "benefit" of ensuring a retail price with serious snob appeal). 

I'm not really wild about brewing into glass given its fragility and so-so heat retention, but at $20 this Bodum brewer costs less than half of my preferred manual setup (see photo). Plus no paper filters to buy with the Bodum, vs. ten cents a pop for the obscure #6 size the Nissan thermos brewer requires. 

Throw in a $25 best-in-class Bodum blade grinder (also at Wal Mart) and a $5.88 Bosch-valved can of the rather excellent coffee below and you've got a world-class home brewing set-up - including the coffee - for less than the price of one 8 oz. bag of cinnamon-roasted Panama Gesha at your local third wave roastery. Pretty darn cool. 

As a p.s. I also noted with delight that at the opposite end of the price spectrum Bodum has finally introduced an electric vacuum pot that gets the grounds and water contact time right, with a full four minutes once grounds and water have mixed before the vacuuming begins. Looks like a pretty good value at $200, though the Behmor Brazen (see last photo) has come down in price to $169 now and is certainly far more practical on a day-to-day basis. Still, that's the price of 10 Bodum pour-overs, so I'd probably ultimately rather keep it simple and spend the other $180 on coffee. 


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