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I don’t think of myself as a coffee snob. My Instagram feed would have you believe that I would only savor my precious double shot lattes in cafes that have an affinity for the color white and lightly-shaded wood. For me drinking coffee is a sacred morning ritual that I rely on every single day. I don’t hate franchise coffee chains. In fact I know that they serve a very valuable purpose. I find myself visiting Starbucks and Dutch Bros when I’m in a hurry and need a quick caffeine fix, and I don’t feel guilty about it. For a lot of people coffee is a comfort, and for me the cozy atmosphere of a locally owned cafe is more comforting than the consistency and familiarity of a large franchise.

My obsession with coffee began when I found a perfect spot to study near Clark College. This spot happened to be in a beautiful coffee shop near the railroad tracks lining the Columbia River. I wasn’t a huge fan of coffee, but over time, and probably too much money spent, I really grew a liking to it.

I always loved the idea of working in a coffee shop. The hustle and bustle, the steam from the machine, conversations with smiling customers and the constant flow of caffeine. So when I saw an ‘Intro to Espresso’ class offered through the student union I jumped at the opportunity.

The class was three hours on a Saturday. The shop was a little outside of my regular walking radius but I eventually found it among the industrial area near the Otago harbor.

We began by looking at raw beans which honestly looked like a type of nut. The shop owner showed us his range of beans from places like Nicaragua, Brazil, Ethiopia and Indonesia. Then we moved onto my favorite part… the espresso machine. I’d never actually stood behind one before, so I had to hide my giddiness. I viewed espresso machines the way dogs view dinner plates full of human food. Why do they get that when I’m the one who wants it the most? In my head I knew it was not a big deal. Hundreds of thousands of people use these machines everyday. But wasn’t it? I had been looking forward to this moment for far too long and finally I got my chance. For those who think I am exaggerating, I promise I am not.

My coffee turned out okay.

We learned to “pull a shot” and we looked for slow, dark coffee to pour out of the machine and into our cups. Once we mastered that we moved on to texturing the milk and eventually making drinks! I made a cappuccino and a flat white. I really enjoyed the experience and at the end of the class we were given ground coffee to make ourselves.

So, I give you my guide to making pour-over coffee in a Chemex!

For Christmas my wonderful mom gave me this Chemex. Well, actually I received two. Tra and my mom bought me the same gift! So, I returned one and pocketed the cash… thanks, Tra!

What you will need:

  • Kettle for boiling
  • Fresh coffee
  • Grinder (unless your coffee is ground)
  • Chemex
  • Chemex paper filters
  • Scale (optional)

STEP ONE

Boil your water. Ideally you’d have a kettle like this, but since I’m a “starving student” as my dad says I’ll do with what I have. It makes it harder to pour but it’s not terrible. Some people are very precise about measuring their water and beans… I’m not. But if you are, check out Blue Bottle Coffee’s recommendations.

STEP TWO

Unfold your Chemex filter, I use the “tri fold method.” Wet the filter. This step is important because you definitely don’t want your coffee to have any hint of filter taste. Wet your filter with your boiling water to rinse it. Make sure you dispose of the water that drips through before continuing.

STEP THREE

Pour your grounds. I like to put as many tablespoons as cups I’ll be drinking. So for two cups of coffee I’ll pour 2-3 heaping spoonfuls of grounds, depending on how strong I want it.

STEP FOUR

Now you will need to pour just enough water to wet the grounds. Let it sit for 30 seconds to one minute. This will let the coffee “bloom” or “awaken.”

STEP FIVE

After your coffee is awake, slowly pour the water around the center and make sure it doesn’t hit the sides. Brewing should take 3-4 minutes. Take your time and pour gently, be careful not to pour water around the sides or too much as it will bubble over.

STEP SIX

Relax and enjoy your filtered coffee! If you’re like me and don’t read enough use this as an opportunity to thumb through that book you’ve been meaning to get to. For me, I’ve checked out this beautiful interior design book from the library. Now that I think about it, it might be overdue. Oops.

Next week on the blog: Beautiful Waiheke Island. I promise to only dedicate two sentences max on coffee! If you haven’t done so already, sign up for our email newsletter. Seriously, what is wrong with you? It’s by far the best way to keep up to date with my posts.

Thank you again for reading!

Music Pick of the Week

Each week I try and highlight an Indie music artist at the end of my blog post. If you would like me to consider your music email me.

This week I’ve chosen a sweet little song from the local Portland/Vancouver band Foreign Talks. Give it a listen and maybe even consider following them on Soundcloud or pre-ordering their new album on iTunes.