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Local 123 coffee maker

I love how Local 123 in Berkeley brews each cup individually in that ceramic thing that makes 4 cups at a time. Our coffee maker just broke and I am so sick what terrible coffee comes out of all the plastic makers I have had, I would like a change. Are those sold retail? Will it be a pain to make my coffee every morning? Any other recommendations?

And by the way Local 123 brews some amazing coffee and one of the best cappuccinos I have ever had, I'll try to post a proper review at some point

Local 123
2049 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

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  1. I would check out Sweet Maria's. They sell just about everything coffee related.


    Some porcelain ones on the bottom of the page.

    Sweet Maria's Coffee
    1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA

    4 Replies
    1. re: abstractpoet

      it wasn't clear on the website, do they have an actual brick and mortar store or do you need to order online, anyone know? Thanks!

      1. re: elliora

        "If you have placed an order through the website - you can pick up Monday through Friday 11 am to 5 pm. Walk up orders are welcome Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 11am to 5pm. Closed for walk ins Monday and Friday. We are not set up as a retail space so you can see merchandise a lot easier on the web pages than in the warehouse - believe me! So it is really best to order ahead of time since that guarantees the fastest turn-around time. We close for lunch daily from 1:30pm to 2 pm."


        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Sorry I guess I'm a little slow today, don't know how I missed that. Anyone know anyplace to buy one today? My local pete's did not have the Chemex. If I have to I'll drive into the city. Thanks!

          1. re: elliora

            Call Caffe Trieste on San Pablo, if they don't have them maybe try a few other Peet's branches. The original on Vine has a lot of equipment.

            Caffe Trieste
            2500 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

            Caffe Restaurant
            1854 Euclid Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

    2. Blue Bottle sells an array of things that make coffee--all non plastic. If I'm reading correctly you're talking about the cone-shaped manual drip that sits on top of a mug; I know they use those but you'll have to ask if they sell them.

      Blue Bottle
      151 Third St, San Francisco, CA

      1. Sweet Maria's has some ceramic filtercones:


        They also sell Technivorm brewers, which are the Lexus of drip coffee appliances:


        I've experimented with just about every aspect of brewing and concluded that roasting (too much trouble) and grinding just before bewing and using a coffeemaker with a vacuum carafe make the biggest differences. I don't think plastic filter cones are an issue. Goldfilters are worse than paper.

        Sweet Maria's Coffee
        1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA

        1. I've become somewhat dogmatic about brewing drip coffee with no components that are metal or plastic, and using high quality paper filters (Chemex).

          Either a ceramic cone that sits on top of your mug, or the hourglass-shaped pyrex pitcher (typically Chemex) will get the job done with coffee that's as clean as is possible, with a low up front cost.

          That said, you will have to go through the extra steps of boiling the water and pouring it over the coffee; some will find that too much work, but I don't mind the routine.

          I'd rather have a self-contained chemex than a sit-on-mug cone, because it's easier to avoid spills in a typical under-caffeinated morning.

          In San Francisco, you can buy Chemex coffee makers at Haig's Delicatessen on Clement St., Cliff's Variety on Castro, or Rainbow Grocery on Division. In the east bay, Sweet Maria's carries them, and surely other locations, but I'm rarely over there.

          Rainbow Grocery
          1745 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

          9 Replies
          1. re: SteveG

            What does "as clean as possible" mean with regard to coffee? Does that translate into buying beans at a particular place?

            I find that my vacuum-carafe electric filtercone coffeemaker makes better-tasting coffee than when I pour by hand. Coffee from flat-bottomed filter coffeemakers like Mr. Coffee tastes awful, and cone filter coffeemakers with heating pads quickly ruin the coffee.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Clean from rancid coffee oil, which is hard to clean out of parts with corners, permanent filters, etc. With smooth ceramic or glass, a quick scrub removes all residue. I haven't tried a Technivorm, but I'm so happy with my $30 chemex that I'm not in a hurry to try one, either.

              1. re: SteveG

                Thanks for all the replies, the Chemex seems even better then what I was thinking of. Could you tell me a little bit more about your experience with it? Which size do you have? I read that it cools off very quickly, so if you want two cups if coffee, do you brew two separate cups? Thanks!

                1. re: elliora

                  I still have the Chemex that I bought at Peet's in 1972. Once I found out about Chemex and Peet's Kenyan coffee, I was spoiled.

                  Everything you've read in this thread about Chemex coffee making is correct: you do need to boil water, and pour it slowly over the grounds in the filter; and "clean" is the word that comes to mind when you first drink coffee from the Chemex. At least with the coffee blends I was using at the time, the coffee had a very pure, clean taste and mouth feel--which is not to say weak.

                  As to your question about temperature loss, I used to sit the pot in a shallow, hot water bath to hold the heat. Worked out fine.

                  1. re: elliora

                    Here are some thoroughly anal instructions for brewing with the Chemex:


                    I disagree with one thing there: I use paper filters and my burr grinder makes much better-tasting coffee than the blade chopper I used to use.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I concur on burr grinders. Blade grinders give an inconsistent grind, which I prefer for french press, but for anything with a filter, the consistency of burr grinding is greatly superior.

                      Blade grinders are hugely cheap, but a good burr grinder (such as at Peet's) will set you back around $100 and last for years. Blade grinders are to be preferred only when cost is a serious issue - I've seen them as low as $15.

                      Myself, I'm a AeroPress partisan. The few, the proud.

                      1. re: bbulkow

                        One more vote for the burr grinder...makes all the difference; well worth the expense.

                        1. re: Rapini

                          Unfortunately I'm going to have to wait on the good grinder, we just moved into a new house and I have a mile long sheet of things to buy, but the grinder is on there! Does anyone have the newer style Chemex with handle, is that better then the old model? Anywhere else that carries the Chemex besides Sweet Maria's? I just noticed that Sweet Maria's only has the 8cup chemex in the new style and I want the 10. I'm in Lafayette but will travel if need be.

                          1. re: elliora

                            The classic Chemex is blown glass with a two-piece wooden collar that is tied on with a leather thong; the alternative is/was an insulated cloth collar (something like a small hotpad)...a handle seems so un-Chemex.

                            I haven't checked, but I'm pretty sure that Peet's still sells the Chemex.

            2. although I usually make espresso and caps, I like using a French press when it comes to making regular coffee, though I know it's a bit of a pain compared to some other methods. For me, it's worth the extra effort, but I understand that might not be true for everyone.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chuckl

                I'd make the effort if I liked the taste, but I prefer filter.

              2. For daily coffee you can not go wrong with the Keurig single cup brewer. It won't replace your french press but it is darn good and no mess, or clean up and ready in about 30 seconds. Each cup is brewed fresh. You can get Tullys or Green Mountain and all roast styles. Peets just announced they will also be making pods for the Keurig brewer. I lOVE it.

                4 Replies
                1. re: The Frog

                  If you like good coffee, there is plenty to go wrong with the Keurig Coffee brewer.The pods are expensive, but most of all the pre-ground coffee in the pods is stale when you buy it. I will give you, it is easy and fast.

                  The recommendation for the Chemex or the pour-over is right on the money. It is a little more labor intensive, but if you like good coffee it should be worth the effort. Save some money for a grinder though. Freshly ground beans have more to do with the quality in the cup than any brewing device.

                  1. re: chipman

                    Check the date on the kcup. If you buy from Keurig or Green Mountain online it is great. According to website the kcups on nitrogen flushed just after roasting so they really are fresher than whole bean. I know some of discount web sites sell old coffee so you need to buy from the company

                    1. re: The Frog

                      You miss understand. The ground beans inside the pod are stale.They go stale within minutes of being ground. We are getting away from the original point. The OP wants good coffee. Pods, cups, capsules, are all by design, stale. Convenient, clean, easy, but stale non the less.They do not make good coffee.

                      1. re: chipman

                        Properly done, vacuum-sealed or controlled-atmosphere packaging can keep ground coffee fresh. If it's ground and packaged right after roasting, it can taste fresher than grinding to order if the beans were roasted yesterday.

                2. If you want to really improve the taste of your coffee and save time, buy a variable temperature electric kettle and use water that is 180-190 versus 212.

                  Boils water in much less time than on the stovetop and stays warm for a while. Higher end tea shops carry them, although less expensive vacuum pots sold at Asian groceries often have a lower temperature setting.

                  Mine's a tfal. I use an Aeropress on the rare occasions I make coffee. http://www.amazon.com/T-Fal-BF6520004...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Windy

                    Or simply use a microwave. 1.5c of water in my microwave takes 2:10 to go to 170 degress. Faster and greener than stovetop.

                  2. Sounds like you changed your focus, but here's a porcelain Hario Ceramic Dripper with the all important swirling ridges, ribbed for your coffee grinds pleasure. I'm sure there are local retailers for Hario, but here's a mail order option.


                    1. Sorry I am the worst at replying... I did end up with the Chemex from Cafe Trieste although it turned out my local Petes carried it, oh well I was in that area anyways. I can say the Chemex has truly changed my life, I could never go back to a regular plastic maker now. It is amazing to wake up and have an amazing cup of coffee that you don't have to drown in creamer to make it taste decent. The one down side is that I'm the only one that makes it, husband warned me when I bought it that it would be my thing, but it is so worth it. Thanks chowhounds!

                      1. I've only get over to Local 123 about once every few weeks, and have been mesmerized by the coffee.

                        However the last 2 visits were disappointing. Coffee didn't have that rich flavor.
                        I'm wondering if it was just bad luck and 2 off days, or if anyone else has noticed the same?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: escargot3

                          Did you order the same thing you always order? For the drips, there are definitely some of their beans I like better than others.

                          Otherwise, I do notice that there's a lot of variation with the espresso drinks--even the cappuccino, which I love, is a bit different each time, depending on what the single origin is (if I go that route), which particular barista is making it, even the time of day.

                          I've never had a bad (or even mediocre) drink from them, but it definitely isn't the exact same drink every time. I'm OK with that, though.

                          1. re: abstractpoet

                            thanks for the clarification. i shoulda noted that I always drink a macchiato (but don't always spell it correctly...)

                            Let me also clarify: the drinks weren't bad. it's just that they lacked the complexity I've come to enjoy at Local 123.