Saturday, June 24, 2006


woo-hoo: cleaning salvation for the chemex

and what arrived today? josh dick's urnex set of fabulous coffee equipment cleaners!

long-time readers know i talk a lot about proper coffee brewing, which requires some equipment -- be it a US$10 porcelain melitta cone, a US$60 hand-blown chemex, a US$20 bodum glass french press, a US$600 royal balancing syphon vac pot in handmade crystal, a US$1100 espresso machine, a basic US$50 burr grinder or a US$450 mazzer mini.

each will give you a great cup of coffee in its own way when correctly used. but it won't continue to do so unless you care for it diligently.

by which i mean, clean -- and in the case of espresso machines -- descale it. i remain surprised by how many people drop major, major dollars on coffee equipment and then never clean or descale it, even tho' they know that lack of descaling is a main cause of espresso machine failure.

limescale buildup will actually destroy your espresso machine and require you to spend an ugly amount of money to have it fixed; coffee oil and debris buildup on non-espresso pots will make your coffee taste like pitch. yeeeech!

i meet so many people who tell me they hate coffee. when i ask why, they tell me childhood horror stories of bad home brewing: their parent's dirty mr. coffee spitting out too-weak coffee that then sat on the hot plate for hours. . .

no wonder they need in-depth therapy. this is serious beverage trauma.

if you want to perform a really gross coffee experiment, take a french press and brew 3 or 4 pots of dark-roast sumatra or any oily coffee you may have around that's past its prime. i mean, do it all in a row.

between each pot, just add a drop of dishwashing liquid and swirl it around with water, giving it a quick rinse. this is what most people, alas, consider cleaning your coffee pot.

after the 4th or even a 5th pot, drop in a little cafiza, fill the press with water, plunge the thing, and come back 10 minutes later. the water will be such a disgusting brown color you will freak out.

those are the rancid coffee oils most people are drinking. and they wonder why their coffee tastes bad?

this is where josh comes in. he's a long-time member of the scaa technical standards committee, because he's considered a global expert on coffee brewing.

for years i've used his cafiza to blackflush my espresso machines and also to clean the metal filter parts on my cafetiéres. while some people seem to have an irrational dislike of his cleancaf product, i've used it to descale my italian princess, silvia, since forever with great results -- it's very easy to use, works great, and takes 10 or 15 steamy minutes, max.

so i heart josh, no doubt. and that's why i was so happy to get his new product for cleaning grinders, grindz, as well as his clearly coffee.

clearly coffee's the answer for those who love their chemex pots but secretly gripe that they are hard to clean, since the chemex brush doesn't have a flexible handle, and most baby bottle brushes are too short for the bigger chemexes.

after you're done with your chemex coffee, just rinse out the pot quickly, put 3 squirts of clearly coffee in the chemex, fill it about halfway with the hot water remaining in your kettle, and give a quick swipe or two with the big chemex brush. wa-llah! as we like to say around here; rinse well and air dry.

and you bet i'm turning his grindz loose on my saeco 2002 burr grinder next weekend! thank you josh.

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posted by fortune | 11:54 PM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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