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Everything makes a Chemex unique! Chemexes were invented by Peter Schlumbohm in 1941 using materials not needed for the war effort. It’s often described as being one of the best designed products of modern times (a hand-blown model is the only piece of coffee equipment in MoMA) and the Erlenmeyer flask-like design is not only beautiful, but also functional. The formulation of the Chemex filter permits the proper infusion time by regulating the filtration rate — not too slow, not too fast. This gives the coffee a richer flavor while at the same time making precise fractional extraction possible. The filters catch additional oils and fats from the coffee, to allow for an excellent level of clarity in the brewed coffee. For at-home coffee makers looking to experiment, Chemex is a forgiving brewing method that’s easy to use without additional equipment like a scale or a timer. You can follow simple visual cues on the Chemex itself – the “button” on the bottom portion of the brewer indicates how much the total brew volume should be. And while you’re pouring, make sure the brew bed never gets higher than an inch from the rim of the Chemex.
Because Chemex creates coffees that are clean with a lot of clarity, single origins really shine. You can play around with what works best for you, and coffee from any roaster and any roast level will definitely work, but light to medium roast coffees really pop and take to the cleanliness and clarity of the brew method.
The Chemex is super-simple! It uses gravity to pull hot water through a bed of coffee, which makes it most similar to an automatic drip coffee maker in terms of body and taste. Chemex filters are 20 to 30 percent thicker than those used by other pour over methods. The result is a slower brew and a richer cup of coffee. Although not as rich as the French press, the Chemex does produce a sediment-free cup of coffee that will impress anyone used to the weaker taste of most less than carefully calibrated auto-drip coffee machines.