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  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    Cool video Cara. I actually have always been confused about why the Chemex is so special- and your method of pouring water over the coffee sorta cleared things up for me.

    • Cara Nader

      Glad you liked it! It's in the pouring, but it's also in the filter.

      From of "Chemex® filters are 20-30% heavier than competitive brands and remove even the finest sediment particles as well as the undesirable oils and fats. The formulation of the filter permits the proper infusion time by regulating the filtration rate - not too slow, not too fast. Good infusion of the coffee grounds (as in brewing and steeping tea) gives coffee a richer flavor while at the same time making possible precise fractional extraction filtering out the undesirable components which make coffee bitter by allowing only the desirable flavor elements of the coffee bean to pass through."

      When brewed properly I find it leads to a super clean, fragrant and flavorful cup. It also looks damn good on a kitchen counter!

      • Alessandra Rizzotti

        How do you grind correctly? I find that even if I use drip it tastes bitter!

        • Cara Nader

          I noticed you're in CA. Have you been to Intelligentsia Coffee? You should check it out if you haven't. They are the Stumptown of the midwest.

          As to correctly grinding, Stumptown explains it better than I can, "It is important that the coffee be ground medium-course with a quality burr (rather than blade) grinder. By grinding the coffee this way, you are allowing for a more even extraction resulting in a fuller bodied and more nuanced cup. Blade grinders chop the coffee rather than grinding it, resulting in uneven and unpredictable particle size. This results in uneven extraction, leading to coffee with increased bitterness which is less true to the flavor profile of the coffee. In addition, the lack of uniformity in particle size results in inconsistent results from cup to cup." -from the Stumptown Chemex Brewing Guide

          Whenever I train new baristas I always suggest they think about how water flows through sand. You want the water to flow through the coffee as evenly as possible because you are extracting the oils on the grounds.

          Freshly grinding is also important, because those oils you are trying to extract will begin to dissipate as soon as they come into contact with heat, oxygen and light. If you are using pre-ground coffee there is very little flavor left to extract.

          Improving grind quality can be as simple as a hand grinder (Hario makes a pretty cool one, the Skerton) or there is also the more expensive Baratza brand grinders, which I use at home.

          All grinders are not the same in terms of setting and grind size, so finding the spot on your grinder can take a minute. This is a helpful tool to find your Chemex setting and drip setting.

          If you are still finding bitterness in your cup, tap water, the coffee itself, and water to coffee ratio could be the culprit.

          • Alessandra Rizzotti

            This is AMAZING. What incredible tips. I will be sure to do medium grinds on my coffee! Great analogy about the sand being like coffee.