Recently, I loaned a Chemex, Sowden, and some other brewing devices and grinders to a friend who is just starting to take her coffee making to the next level. While putting together some favorite instructional videos for her, I decided it might be fun to create a blog with links to some of these.
Rule of Thumb. I weigh my coffee (medium grind, ground with a burr grinder...blade grinders are okay for spices but not for coffee...in the Chemex video below he is grinding with the Baratza, the same one that I use as my default grinder) and start out with the SCAA recommendation ofa ratio of 16:1, essentially 6 grams of coffee per 100 ml of water (I use a very accurate digital scale by Acaia that I treated myself to a few years ago). I boil my water in a Hario electric kettle that I recently got from a friend. Gooseneck type spout design. Water for coffee. Good water is critical to great tasting pour over coffee. You need the right concentration of magnesium, calcium and sodium to make a "slippery" water to extract all the flavor. I make my own water using formulas from the web. There are lots of recipes there but you need epsom salts, baking soda, distilled water and calcium carbonate and a very good digital scale. But there are some other ways to have better water for your drip coffee. Some people speak highly of the Crystal Geyser brand water one can pick up at Dollar Tree. I've used it and like it. Matt Toomey of Little Dreamers Coffee likes Glacier brand bottled water. I've also made excellent coffee doing a 50/50 of filtered Houston tap water and distilled water, probably the most economical route to go other than Crystal Geyser which is a buck at Dollar Tree.
Here is how to test a digital scale that you may be considering. A dollar bill weighs 1 gram. If your scale accurately reads out 1 gram when you drop a dollar bill on it, it's a good one.
If you want an easier method for making good coffee (but still want more control over your coffee making), consider the immersion method and a Clever coffeemaker. It has a valve that won't release the coffee until you set it on top of your cup or carafe. This allows you to steep your coffee for four minutes before extraction.
Brewing with the Clever Dripper
More Instructional Information:
James Hoffman's Technique for the Hario V60 (Recommended)
The Scott Rao Hario V-60 - The "Rao Spin" (Read This First)
Hario V-60 Instructions and the Rao Spin
(Chemex Video : Baratza setting 18. 24 grams of coffee. 400 ml water)
Seattle Coffee's Guide to Pour Over Methods
Seattle Coffee - Chemex
Stumptown Coffee - Chemex
Kalita versus Hario versus Chemex
(I have switched to the Kalita 185 for my daily coffee making. I do a 300 ml to 18-25 grams extraction with it, which is enough coffee for my wife and I to enjoy in the a.m.)
My Kitchen in my Home:
My new, beloved, Acaia digital scale (awesome). Bluetooth. Programmable. iPhone app. My Chantal pour over electric kettle (I came into possession of a Hario gooseneck electric and that is now the one that I use 100%). My Javelin digital thermometer (also highly recommended). And my Kalita 185.
A NEW option for shopping for coffee makers and other coffee related products is Wish dot com. The stuff is really cheap. Your purchases mostly ship from China so be prepared for a slightly longer delivery lead time. Hasn't been a problem so far. Having said that, I have had no problems with anything that I have ordered. Recently, I bought this adorable little mini Chemex knock-off for around $11. It works perfectly with Hario V60 filter paper, and it does come with a metal filter that works pretty well too (I was surprised). I've also picked up a laser digital thermometer for a couple of bucks there and it works great, too. I've seen a Hario V6 knock-off on the site, too (for not much money). Use 'coffee maker' or 'glass coffee maker' as your search words.
The can is here to give you a size perspective. Wish is downloadable as an app or on the web.
The Sowden SoftBrew (as good as a French press) is a favorite method, especially for cold brew. Note: The coffee is a little thinner than with a French press so you will probably need to adjust by adding more coffee.
Note and Update: I recently played around with one of my numerous French presses and found that I needed to revise my previously lower opinion of this method. The coffee silt in the bottom does not annoy me as much these days and I enjoyed my French press brew. If you buy a French press, consider one that is double walled in order to keep the coffee warm. French presses show up ALL the time at 2nd hand stores so don't pay retail.
The Hario product line (V60), et. al. I go to 2nd hand stores a lot and recently found a V60 carafe and filter at the Goodwill on 20th for only $8! You never know where you will find something good!
(More coffee making photos for your viewing pleasure)