Blue Bottle is one of the hottest coffee chains in Silicon Valley.
It should come as no surprise that founder James Freeman and CEO Bryan Meehan know the best gadgets for brewing the perfect pour-over coffee at home.
Meehan’s pick is the Chemex, a simple, elegant machine for making pour-over coffee for a crowd. It retails for about $40.
Invented in 1941, the Chemex is about as low-tech as coffee-makers get. It’s a hourglass-shaped vessel made of heat-resistant glass that holds coffee grounds. The user pours water over the opening and lets it filter, creating three to six cups of perfection.
“I find it’s a very sociable way of making delicious coffee,” Meehan says. “It doesn’t have a plug. It doesn’t have a leash, which I like about it, too.”
Its stunning designed earned the Chemex a spot in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. It was also named one of the 100 best designed products of modern times by the Illinois Institute of Technology. You can also find the Chemex in most Blue Bottle cafés.
Freeman, who launched Blue Bottle out of a San Francisco garage in the early 2000s, says a gram scale will help drinkers nail the coffee-to-water ratio every time.
In Blue Bottle cafés, coffee grinds and water are carefully measured using a scale to ensure each individually poured cup is as robust as the last. Some devices, like the Blue Bottle-approved Acaica Pearl Scale ($130) and the Hario Scale ($60), have built-in timers so you know exactly how long your brew should sit.
Freeman says the idea of weighing ingredients sounds like too much work for some people. But the result is so worth it. He guesses most people use too few grounds in their brew.
“More butter is almost always better than less butter, and to a certain extent, coffee can be that way,” Freeman says.