Have you ever wondered what the interesting glass brewer Rachel Green uses in the first season of Friends is? Or what the simple, yet beautifully designed hourglass object is in your coffee-lover friend’s kitchen is?
You are in luck! Not only is it visually appealing, but it has also been brewing some of the best coffee in Canada (and the world) for over 70 years. Let us introduce you to Chemex coffee!
In 1941, German eccentric chemist Dr. Peter Schlumbohm Ph.D. invented the attractive and functional brew method we know and love, the Chemex! This manual pour-over coffee method changed the coffee industry, as it brewed delicious coffee without imparting any flavours of its own.
His goal when creating the new type of pour-over coffee? Designing a simple method to brew the perfect cup of coffee, with the vessel being an object of beauty.
As a life-long chemist, he understood the extraction process of flavour and caffeine from the coffee beans, and we are so thankful he did!
Schlumbohm created both the carafe and double-bonded Chemex paper filters, for the perfect extraction and cup of coffee each time.
The Chemex filters are thicker than standard filters one would use for a drip coffeemaker, allowing for the filter to remove most of the coffee oils, resulting in a “cleaner” cup of coffee.
The result? Coffee full of flavour and caffeine without any bitter notes.
He designed the hourglass-shaped carafe with inspirations from the Bauhaus school of design, a design, architecture and applied arts school in Germany from 1919 to 1933, and non-porous labware.
The visually distinctive heatproof wooden collar and rawhide tie were strategically placed around the neck to allow the vessel to be easily handled and poured when full of hot coffee. The sleekly designed spout allows for easy pouring once the coffee is brewed!
Road Fact: Unlike most other brew methods, the iconic Chemex has remained unchanged since its inception. That’s right - coffee lovers from the past 7 decades have all used the same design!
Both the scientific and art and design communities have recognized and awarded the Chemex for its purity and excellence in both form and function.
The simple borosilicate glass, adorned with a wooden collar and rawhide tie can be found in museums all over the world, with the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) having it on permanent display as one of the best-designed products from 1943.
It is also permanently has a place in the collection of New York’s Corning Museum of Glass and the Illinois Institute of Technology selected Chemex as one of the 100 best-designed products of modern times in 1958.
Whenever you enjoy a delicious cup of Chemex coffee, you truly are drinking an award-winning piece of history.
How to brew the best Chemex coffee!
Step 1: Rinse and Pre-Heat
Place your filter in the brewer and rinse it with hot water. This will remove the paper odours, taste and dust. This will make your brewed coffee taste a lot better, as well as warm-up your vessel to minimize the amount of temperature lost from the brew. Throw the filter and paper water out.
Road Tip: We recommend having a water temperature between 200 and 205°F.
Step 2: Measure and Grind
Grab your favourite Road roast and measure out 6 tablespoons (tbsp) of beans. For whole beans, grind your beans to a medium grind; A similar shape and size to sea salt.
Step 3: Pre-infusion of Flavour
Place your coffee grounds evenly into the filter and pour water over the grounds until they are saturated. Let this sit for 40 seconds.
Road Tip: Pre-infusion will help to evenly saturate your grounds and allow you to extract more delicious coffee tasting notes and flavours!
Step 4: Add More Water
Slowly pour more water in a spiral motion until the volume is 1 cm from the rim or 450 grams of water. Continue until you have reached 700 grams total.
Step 5: Brew
Leave your coffee brew to sit for approximately 4 minutes to reach full volume.
Step 6: Serve and Enjoy
Grab your favourite mug(s) and enjoy the perfect cup of Chemex coffee!
The Chemex is a timeless brew method that has been enjoyed by coffee lovers worldwide for the better part of a century. Join the movement and try the Chemex today!
It is a favourite of the Road team and we highly recommend it! You will not be disappointed in its delicious flavours and simplistic beauty. Let us know what you think of this method and any other tips you might have at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media @roadcoffee.
Author Jordan Calladine