The Chemex – how does it compare to the AeroPress?

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We met up with our dear friends yesterday for a late lunch at Barque Smokehouse. It was my first time and I was looking forward to it as it has received good reviews, and who doesn’t enjoy tender, smoked meat? The four of us each ordered the sampler. I chose the brisket and pulled pork, while hubs chose the brisket and wings.

SAMPLER FOR ONE
choose two meats and one side
$16.00

OUR SAMPLER MEATS:

12 HOUR BRISKET

POMMERY PULLED PORK

SMOKED DRY RUB CHICKEN WINGS

BABY BACK RIBS
lemon pepper rub

The brisket is super tender, but with at least half the portion being fat. Sure, it adds flavour, but it also means that it’s closer to a half portion. That was ok because I also had a generous helping of pulled pork with my side of potato salad. I was sufficiently satisfied. The wings were fantastic. I love dry-rubbed wings, and hubs thought that of all the options, the wings were the tastiest because they had some texture contrast (crispy skin, tender meat). Our friend had the ribs, which was also dry rubbed, and he very much enjoyed it. This is a great place if you are in a BBQ mood. It has a very social atmosphere, and we each found something on the drink menu. Portion sizes are hearty – you won’t leave hungry. If you still have room at the end, they have a limited dessert selection, but we skipped on it as our bellies were full. I also like that there are places to hang your jackets near your table.

During lunch, my friend handed us a belated Christmas gift. She knows that hubs and I are coffee drinkers, so she gave us a Chemex coffeemaker! It’s beautiful, and looks part art and part lab vessel. We were informed that it would make one smooth cuppa joe.

Coffee brewing and our coffee taste preference has changed immensely over the years. We started out with my small percolator –  I think it was a Black & Decker – the type where you pour water in the top and once the water is heated up, it drips through the grinds in the filter. Back when I had this, we weren’t coffee drinkers. We had some coffee grounds from Hawaii stored in our freezer. Next came the Bodum French Press accompanied by the Bodum electric grinder. Through taste testing, we unanimously preferred the darker roasts. I also enjoy a good espresso with a little bit of steamed milk. I like the darks because I love the chocolaty and bolder aromas. The coffee grinder was purchased by hubs because he wanted the freshest cup possible each time. We’ve cycled through a number of different beans and our current bean is Farmers’ Blend by Balzacs. Our coffee brewing method is currently the AeroPress, and we have the brewing technique down (to our liking). The drawback of this coffeemaker is that it brews a small volume, but this is not a problem for us. Hubs usually has a mug of coffee, whereas I enjoy a small cup – about a 3/4 cup (unit of measurement). For us, the AeroPress is perfect. We use a fine grind, about 3 slightly rounded tablespoons of beans. The finished product is smooth and rich.

Enter the Chemex. The vessel we received was the 8-cup maker. The sexy shape and wood collar make this a decorative piece. My friend joked that all the hipsters were using this. I watched and followed a video (hosted by a hipster). 

 

I had to alter a little as 700g of water would make way too much coffee for the two of us, so I scaled back to 500g of water to 37g beans (about 4 Tbsp). Although the filters we picked up at Williams Sonoma were different from the ones used in the video (we used the natural, pre-folded squares), I still followed the video instructions and rinsed the filter.

The coffee ends up also being smooth, like the AeroPress, but lighter in flavour, even though we used more beans. This could be attributed to the grinds being coarse. I’ll have to play around and try using a finer grind, just to see if it does make a difference. Overall, the Chemex does make a good cup of coffee, but it takes a little more time, and more beans.

Cleaning the AeroPress is a breeze, whereas I cannot fit my hand into the Chemex. It also requires you to remove the collar to clean. But there is definitely a place in our home for this item. As I mentioned, it is lovely to look at, and it brews a lot more coffee than the AeroPress, so this makes it the perfect coffeemaker when we have guests, or when we just want to feel a little fancy. Part of the enjoyment of coffee is brewing that perfect cup. It shouldn’t be a rushed task. To some, it’s an art-form. The Chemex reminds us of that.

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