Alright, this a couple of days past due, but I now have my full impression on my new coffee maker. I am spending my spring break working on school and learning about how to make a great cup of coffee. I figured I love coffee using a cheap blade grinder and crappy auto-drip maker, so what if I upgraded a little? And so I did. Not surprisingly, considering tha nature of coffee, "upgrading" a coffee maker is actually buying something much simpler and more manual.
I was deciding between a manual drip (the Chemex) or a French, erm, Freedom Press. I sought a highly trusted opinion, and therefore at Brian's suggestion chose the Freedom Press--The Bodum Chambord.
Now, the first few cups of coffee were pretty good--a much cleaner cup than that terrible auto-drip--but overall quite underwhelming. The coffee's flavor really started to show through, too (I am using one of Jittery Joe's blends, Sundown, which is an ultra-pleasant, if not fairly mundane coffee).
My grinder, though, being a broken blade grinder would not even come close to grinding to the proper coarseness--huge boulders and super-fine dust. So I've held off until my new grinder came in--the Capresso Infinity. It's the best cheap burr grinder you can find, apparently, and I got it on special.
And I'll tell you what, it made all the difference in the world. It isn't the most terribly consistent grind, still giving a fair amount of dust. Nonetheless, it really lets the coffee's flavor come out. The cup I am currently drinking, the first with the whole new setup, is the cleanest, most flavorful cup I've ever had--which admittedly really only speaks to the mediocre coffee I've had up until now.
The final verdict on the Freedom Press is wholly positive. I would recommend this method to anyone looking for a cheap, easy upgrade to their coffee-drinking experience. It is a more "hands-on" process, but I feel it only adds to the experience--watching the slurry froth as it's stirred; pressing the plunger and watching the coffee take on its perfect brown-black tone.
It is super-clean, though, so it's a strange transition from a drip maker. But without a true point of comparison, this stands as my current preferred method.