Monday, January 14, 2008
Three words: chemex, intelligentsia, bodum.
I have loved coffee since I was two. We (my mom, dad & I) lived in the basement of my grandparent’s apartment in Brooklyn. Every morning I would crawl up what seemed to be an enormous flight of stairs and sit and have coffee with my grandma. Not sure what we talked about, or what we ate, but I am sure that I loved the coffee. I loved how it smelled and how comforting it was. By the time I was 4 we had moved from Brooklyn and the basement apartment, and I callously turned my back on my beloved coffee. Instead trading it for stuff like hi-c and chocolate milk. By the time I got to college, I let it back in, but not for pleasure. It was just the best way to keep myself awake to write the term paper that I had procrastinated writing until the night before it was due. After college coffee became more of a social thing. Starbucks was just taking off and my friends started saying things like, “let’s meet for coffee.” So I met them for coffee, and I met blind dates for coffee and sometimes I just went and got coffee by myself never really paying attention to whether it was good coffee or bad coffee. Actually, I’m not sure that I would have been able to tell the difference. And then I was shown the light. A stylist from Australia hired me as her assistant, she was very fancy, always dressed to the nines and ran around town in 3inch manolo blahnik’s (her casual shoes). While I busted my ass working for her, she educated me on good food & great coffee. Starbucks tasted “like burnt ashtray water,” she would say, and then she would take me to get a “proper coffee.” Well, there was a difference. it wasn’t long before I was criticizing the texture of the foam on my cappuccino, and looking down my nose at starbucks. Well, now several years into my addiction I have found the perfect combination when it comes to coffee: chemex, intelligentsia and bodum.
It wasn’t too long ago that I saw this really cool carafe at a friend’s house. It was clear glass, had an hourglass shape and a beautiful wood collar. I asked her where she got it and she told me that it was thrift store purchase, and even better, it wasn’t a carafe, it was a chemex coffee maker. Hmmmm. Ok. It doesn’t look like a coffee maker, but I wanted one because I am in the habit (and business) of collecting “pretty things.” That night I went home and found one on ebay and within a couple of weeks it was sitting on the “these are all the cool things I have, but don’t use” shelf in my kitchen. And there it stayed, collecting dust, for at least 8 months.
Through my work as a prop stylist I get to meet a lot of great people. A lot of people in the know. A photographer friend of mine mentioned this amazing coffee place called Intelligentsia that had just opened. His words. . . “It will change your life.” Well eventually I made it over to intelligentsia, a very hip, and a bit uppity, coffee shop. The second I walked in I knew my life was going to change. Right in front of me on their “these are all the cool things I have, but don’t use” shelves was a row of chemex coffee makers. I bought myself a cappuccino (the best I have ever had), a pack of chemex coffee filters and a bag of their librarian’s blend decaf. I know, DECAF!? Long story short, I found out that chronic insomnia and daily panic attacks are not normal and can be eliminated by kicking caffeine; so I did.
After enjoying my second cappuccino (did I mention that it was the best I ever had?), I headed home and realized, “this is perfect!” I had just used these amazing bodum mugs for a fit pregnancy shoot I worked on and now I can test them out. I arrived home and began preparations for chemex coffee brewing. A bit involved, but if you are interested you can read the instructions here. I brewed myself one hell of a good cup of coffee. Clear, flavorful, not burnt, not bitter - - the damn thing was designed by a chemist, and sits in a museum, so you it’s going to make amazing coffee. Well I felt like a real coffee connoisseur, and I have enjoyed this combination every morning since.