Iced Chemex, the new(old) Hipster Cool
It seems like just yesterday that the hippest hipsters in the specialty coffee world were in love with a little contraption known as the Clover. This was a big black box that made a single cup of drip coffee at a time. Oh yeah, it also cost $11,000. And did I mention that it makes a single cup of drip coffee at a time? And it requires a specially trained barista to operate it.
It supposedly was, “an innovative design that lets you discover new layers and dimensions within a coffee’s familiar aroma, flavor, body and acidity. The result is a deeper experience – one that’s carefully prepared and made to order, one cup at a time.” If you were cool, disaffected, had a coffee related tattoo(s) and served coffee out of an organic-industrial location while listening to obscure bands, you had to have one of these machines. The best-of-the-best in the industry had them and people lined up to pay $4-5 for an small cup of drip coffee from this technological miracle.
But then disaster struck…the Clover jumped the shark.
Howard Schultz (you may remember him from such hits as Starbucks) bought the company that makes the Clover in 2008. The reaction from the hipster set was immediate and extreme. It was if the lights in the bar just went on and they realized that the Clover wasn’t as sexy as they had first thought. Stumptown was one of the first to get rid of their Clover machines and others soon followed. The Clover would be relegated to the dim corners of corporate coffee’s attempts to reach out to the hipster/independent market.
If high tech wasn’t the answer, maybe low tech would be the next big thing. Pour over drip coffee soon began to creep onto the scene. It was amazing, this technique which had been around since the early 1900′s, was suddenly the newest thing out there. Now you can find all kinds of low tech, classic methods (often with very high tech (and expensive) accessories) at the most exclusive coffee bars. Each cup is prepared individually…what was old has suddenly become new.
One of these older methods of drip preparation is the Chemex. Invented in the 1940′s, it is a glass, pourover carafe which uses a filter paper and makes about 6-10 cups of coffee per batch. Great for hot or cold coffee.
Making iced coffee on the Chemex not only looks cool, it produces a shimmering, clean cup with well defined flavors, quickly and easily. Did I mention that it looks cool? Whipping this method out is sure to impress even the most jaded hipster.
This is how we do it:
- Rinse the paper filter with hot water (discard the rinse water).
- Place 350 g ice in the bottom of the Chemex.
- Insert filter and fill with 50 g of fresh ground (slightly coarser than drip) coffee.
- Pre-infuse the grounds with just enough hot water (200°F) to saturate, wait 60 seconds.
- Slowly pour the rest of the water over the grounds in concentric circles. The pour should take about 2.5 minutes and you will add a total of 350g water.