Chemex Coffeemaker

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A Chemex coffeemaker containing brewed coffee.

The Chemex Coffeemaker is a manual, pour-over style glass-container coffeemaker, which Peter Schlumbohm invented in 1941, and which continues to be manufactured, by the Chemex Corporation in Chicopee, Massachusetts.

In 1958, designers at the Illinois Institute of Technology said that the Chemex Coffeemaker is "one of the best-designed products of modern times", and so is included to the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.[1][2][3][4]


The Chemex Coffemaker consists of an narrow-waist glass flask and uses proprietary paper filters, made of chemically bonded paper (of thicker-gauge paper than the standard paper filters for a drip-method coffeemaker) which remove most of the coffee oils, and so brew coffee with a taste that is different than the taste of coffee brewed in other coffee-making systems; also, the thicker paper of the Chemex coffee filters might assist in removing cafestol, a cholesterol-elevating compound found in coffee oils.[5]

Brewing coffee[edit]

How to prepare a Chemex coffee

Coffee is brewed by first placing the paper filter and the ground coffee in the neck of the flask, while heating water to a boil in a separate vessel; then "blooming" (moistening) the ground coffee, by pouring some hot water atop the dry coffee, and finally, by pouring the desired quantity of water (number of cups) over the ground coffee, and awaiting it to percolate down, through the coffee and the paper filter, into the flask.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

In the 1954 romance movie Sabrina, a Chemex Coffeemaker can be seen in the corner of Linus's bar in his office. In spy literature, film, and television, the Chemex coffeemaker has appeared in the novel From Russia, with Love (1957), by Ian Fleming, who describes James Bond, when in London, brewing his breakfast coffee with a Chemex, using coffee bought from the De Bry's shop in New Oxford Street.[7]

In the detective film Harper (1966), private eye Lew Harper (Paul Newman) uses a Chemex coffeemaker to brew his breakfast coffee. In the comedy Pillow Talk (1959), the interior designer Jan Morrow (Doris Day) prepares coffee with a Chemex coffeemaker. In the horror movie Rosemary's Baby (1968), the housewife character, Rosemary (Mia Farrow), uses a Chemex coffeemaker. In the 1961 Drama “Return to Peyton Place” Mary Astor uses a Chemex to serve coffee to Son (Bret Halsey) and daughter (Luciana Paluzzi)

In the television comedy programme The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–77), the Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) character has such a coffeemaker in the kitchen of her apartment. Similarly, a Chemex can be spotted on the stovetop in the pilot of "Friends" (1994)[8]

A Chemex can be seen in Don Draper's kitchen in the AMC show Mad Men (2007–present) [9]


  1. ^ "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 [1]
  2. ^ "Chemex Coffee Makers" LA Times, Jan 8, 1989.
  3. ^ New York Times Nov 7, 1959
  4. ^
  5. ^ Science Daily
  6. ^ "Brewing 101 With CHEMEX®". Chemex® Corp. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  7. ^ Fleming, Ian (1957). From Russia, with Love. London: Jonathan Cape. 
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links[edit]