On a recent morning, like every morning, I turned to our Black & Decker coffee maker, which I think of as the Will & Kate coffee maker because I bought it around the time when Prince William married the Duchess of Cambridge. I loaded it up with freshly ground coffee and filtered water, as always, pressed the ON button, as always, and walked away. It started to do its usual huffing and puffing, but after 5 minutes... no coffee. It was making its usual steam, but nothing was dripping out into the carafe. I tried various tricks like: turning it off and on again, replacing the water, jimmying the carafe, rinsing the brewing chamber. Nothing!
Pick the lame-o in this mechanical lineup.
My reaction was as follows: I got a stool and dug around in high cupboards until I found our French press. Then I made coffee that way. Once properly caffeinated, I wrote a haiku about the broken coffeemaker and posted it on Twitter.
Then I avoided dealing with it by taking a week's vacation. Upon my return though, it was clearly time to buy a new coffee maker. (The French press only makes one cup at a time, and we need about 4 cups to get started in the morning.)
So. At the local hardware store I contemplated the selection. What was annoying to me about the broken machine is that I still don't know what was actually wrong with it. It just mysteriously stopped working. Why spend money on something that will One Day betray me? The first coffee maker cost about $30, and so would the next one, and the next, and then I'd have spent hundreds of dollars on crappy coffee makers. Why not buy a great coffee maker that I could understand inside and out? Why not spend a little more now but be able to use the thing for years and years?
That's how I came home with a Chemex.
It's pretty classic. Groovy 70s vibe. Glass vessel, thick paper filter, hot water, that's all you need. No buttons, no inner workings, no cheap plastic bits.
It does take more time than pressing a button... because the hot water must be poured over the ground coffee by hand. But I'm thinking of it as Zen attention to the present, so that's a good thing.
Which item was invented in 1941?
What do you think of the Chemex... as a beautiful object or a daily item? Personally I really liked the Black & Decker coffee, but this stuff is Pretty Good.