Top positive review
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AMAZING! Didn't know what we were missing!
on February 17, 2016
Ok, I wanted to give this coffee maker a little time before I posted my review; in order to get used to this new (old) way of making coffiee. After having it for almost 2 months now, I can say that we LOVE it! Our 2 year old, 100 buck, "high end" POS maker crapped out. So we were looking for an alternative to the norm, tired of vinegar cleaning, and spending $$$, and boy did we find it! Thoughts below:
Quality of item - It is very high quality and has held up very well. BE SURE that you buy a genuine Chemex brand and NOT a cheap knock off! They exist out there. A friend of ours mistakenly bought a knock off, and its quality is no where near the quality of Chemex. The knock off is too thin and easily cracks and breaks. Beware! As for this brand, no complaints at all. It has held up beautifully, and we make at least 1 pot a day.
Time it takes to brew - Ok, the MAIN thing is that you have to boil water in a kettle, and manually feed it water of course. So, whatever time that takes on your stove to boil a kettle, that's the time you can add to what it would normally take you to make coffee in an electric maker. For us, we timed both. What we found is that it takes us approximately 5 minutes longer to make a pot of coffee in the Chemex, due to the time it takes to boil the water, mostly. Manually pouring it is a sunk cost, obviously. As for the maker itself, it takes about the same time as an electric maker, or perhaps even less. BUT, the difference in the quality of coffee is AMAZING! We use Folgers Columbian and when brewing via the Chemex, it tastes, smells, and "feels" like Starbucks! No joke. Never got that quality out of an electric maker, ever. So, is it worth the extra 5 mins and a bit of labor? YEP!
Filters and such - When we bought this maker, we also bought the traditional Chemex paper filters to go with it. We also took the advice of others and bought the metal mesh filter for it too, which is a bit costly. Using the traditional papers filters was rather time consuming. They are thick and, while they do produce an amazing coffee, they are very slow. So, we decided to use the metal filter. Problem with using the metal filter alone is that the holes in it are large enough to let fine sediment through, and it's also too quick; meaning that the coffee grounds do not get a chance to really saturate and release the coffee robustness, and flavor... So... what to do? Well, what we found is that if we buy standard #4 cone type coffee filters, combine it with the metal filter (placing it on the inside of the metal filter of course), we get the best of both worlds. The #4 filters are thick enough to hold the water in longer, but not too thick so the flow is better. The metal filter "stiffins" the #4 filter and also catches any loose particles that might escape the #4 filter. The result - We capture the full flavor of the coffee, and save $ in the long run because #4 filters can be bought anywhere, and cheaply. We use the unbleached #4's.
Keeping coffee hot - When we brew a pot in the Chemex, we immediately transfer it from the Chemex to a thermos type coffee carafe. Since the temperature is near boiling when the pot is brewed, the coffee stays hot in the carafe all day long. We bought the glass lid for the Chemex, but mostly use it to keep dust out of the Chemex when it's not in use. Plus, it looks nice on top of it ;)
Clean up - We simply rinse it out after letting it cool down a bit... done.
Looks on the counter - Ok, here's a NICE side benefit! The Chemex is like a beautiful art glass sculpture. It looks WAY better than that ugly, clunky, looking device that we used to have. Plus, it takes up about 1/2 the room on the counter! So, we have more space now ;) And, we didn't have to sacrifice quantity of coffee. This 10 cup Chemex is precisely the amount our old clunker made.
Bottom line - Never knew what we were missing. AWESOME coffee, even using cheap brands, every time! The aroma that fills the air in the home when we brew is amazing. Love the smell! AWESOME looks in the kitchen! NO MORE "vinegar clean out, stinking up the house - finally self-destructs" coffee makers! This baby, taken care of and not dropped or thrown across the room, should last a lifetime! This means NO MORE spending 80-100 bucks every couple of years on ugly mechanical, mad scientist, POS devices. Talk about saving $$$!!! Is it worth the upfront costs, and spending 5 more mins to make coffee, and feeding the maker as opposed to automatically doing it for you? Um..... YES! Totally worth this minor, manual, labor and costs in my opinion. I can't tell you what a great feeling it was to toss that 100 buck, mechanical, coffee maker wannabe POS into the recycling bin! My joy was palpable :)
A side note - This is making coffee like most people living today have little experience with. You've likely never experienced coffee made like this ever in your life, nor know anyone who has. I know we hadn't, and didn't! Therefore, the process IS different and it DOES take some getting used to. This is why I waited nearly 2 months to write this review. Give it time... get used to the process... follow the directions they provide, and you'll likely never go back to an electric maker again. It is well worth the benefits we believe and whats more is, at least for us, the manual process seems to lend itself to a more "personal" and "creative" experience with the coffee making process. I know that sounds strange, but for us it's more like we're "creating" a wonderful coffee to enjoy. Like a painter with their brush. The Chemex is a tool, and a beautiful one, but the "artwork" you create with it is up to you ;) Enjoy.
Hope this review helps! Also, thanks to all the others who have left reviews! You helped us to make our decision! Glad we did!