Top positive review
105 people found this helpful
Great drip maker (after some preparations)
on June 21, 2011
As I can tell from other reviews, most people use these units in the office, and I am no exception. Since my company does not allow us to use small appliances at our desks (citing, "OSHA violations"), this unit serves my purposes excellently and at a price of $6, you really cannot go wrong. However, it takes some preparation to get the unit to make excellent, damn-near Chemex quality coffee. Here's how I did it:
The unit comes with some #2 paper filters, and since I acquired the unit at my local grocery store, I picked up some natural paper filters as well. A quick trip to Starbucks for some ground beans (I have to take the hit on fresh grind due to the, "no small appliances" rule) and I'm back at my desk about to have my first cup. I use one rounded tablespoon of cone-filter ground coffee for every four ounces of water (adjust to your taste preference). Once the water is done heating up, I pour the hot (not boiling; we're not making soup here) water over the grounds and patiently await my first cup, which takes all of about two minutes (half the ideal saturation time for grounds, but given the circumstances and the alternative of nasty office coffee, I'm not going to be too picky here). Right off the bat, the taste is off. There is an overwhelming taste of plastic and a strange, pulpy taste, which I am able to conclude as the paper from the filter. After a quick Internet search, I find excellent instructions and a video on vimeo for making coffee through a Chemex drip unit, which instructs one to pour a decent amount of hot water through the paper filter to eliminate that taste. That's one off-putting aspect gone, but it's an additional step in the process. Again, circumstances, alternative, not being picky.
However, what is there to do about the taste of polycarbonate in my coffee? Well, another quick search ends up with instructions on how to pretty-much eliminate plastic leaching from plastic parts in coffee machines, thus eliminating the taste. Boil the part in 91% or higher isopropyl alcohol (or cheap vodka) for about half an hour to fotry-five minutes and then run two kettles (mine is 1.5 liters per full kettle) of boiling water through it to wash it off, followed by a weak pot of coffee to eliminate any remaining taste interference. Wear a facemask or something; it's not a good thing to be breathing when it boils.
The results speak volumes. By eliminating the plastic taste and following the Chemex drip instructions (pre-rinsing the filter, pre-soaking the grounds for about thirty seconds, and dragging out the pour time of the water as long as I can), I am able to make an excellent cup of coffee with that slightly-reddish tint that indicates a quality drip brew, all with a $6 part ($3 if you don't get the one with the mug!). If you're already fine with the taste you get from the unit without doing these things, then keep on truckin'; glad it's working out for you! But for those who want to get the most out of this unit with not a lot of effort, follow these steps. You won't regret it!