The device consists of an hourglass-shaped glass flask which resembles an Erlenmeyer flask, with a conical, rather than cylindrical neck. It uses proprietary filters, manufactured and distributed by the same company, which are thicker than standard drip coffee filters which remove most of the coffee oil leading to a different taste than many brewing systems. The thicker paper may also assist in removing the cholesterol elevating compound "Cafestol" found in coffee oils.
The Chemex is available in a variety of sizes and is available with and without a handle (the original design) and also has a hand-blown variation. Coffee is made by first placing the filter and grounds in the neck of the flask, heating water in a separate vessel, "blooming" the grounds by adding a small amount of water to moisten them, and finally pouring the desired quantity of water over the grounds.
The coffeemaker has featured in several films. In Ian Fleming's From Russia, with Love we learn that James Bond uses a Chemex with coffee from De Bry's in New Oxford Street for his breakfast coffee when stationed in London. In the 1966 Detective film Harper, Paul Newman used a Chemex to brew his morning coffee. Mary Tyler Moore used a Chemex in her kitchen on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mia Farrow used a Chemex in the film Rosemary's Baby. Doris Day brews with a Chemex in Pillow Talk.
- Science Daily
- "Dr. Peter Schlumbohm Dead; Inventor of Coffee Maker, 66; His Chemex Called One of 100 Best Modern Devices—300 Items Patented" The New York Times ; November 07, 1962 
- "Chemex Coffee Makers" LA Times, Jan 8, 1989.
- New York Times Nov 7, 1959
- Fleming, Ian (1957). From Russia, with Love. London: Jonathan Cape.
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