Chemex: A story of passion, inventiveness and courage
1935: The chemist Peter Schlumbohm abandons his homeland and flees from the Nazi dictatorship to the USA. He was one of the estimated 360,000 exiles who fled the German Reich - in political protest and out of fear of the Nazis' prevailing persecution policy. The USA was the great dream of many emigrants - but the new beginning there was not easy.
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Coffee freak and chemist
Schlumbohm was not only one of the courageous dissenters, he was a scientist, design and fragrant lover! As we still realize again and again today, the chemist probably already knew: Good coffee is a science where many parameters determine the quality of the end result. His goal was to bring out the multifaceted flavor of the coffee bean without bitter substances drowning it out - and to do so with a simple method of preparation. There were already many filter coffee machines on the market, but none of them was aesthetically pleasing.
Usefulness - but with style
Legend has it that Schlumbohm was inspired to invent the Chemex by the Erlenmeyer flasks used in chemistry labs for all sorts of experiments. He was also a fan of the Bauhaus style, whose idea was to blur the lines between art and craft. At that time it was something completely new to combine functionality and design in an everyday object, and Schlumbohm was one of the innovative artists from that era.
A coffee carafe at MOMA New York: from designer piece to cult object
In 1941, he applied for a patent for his invention, and many more patents were to follow. Then, in 1958, the milestone: The Chemex is included in the collection of the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York and, according to the Illinois Institute of Technology, is considered "one of the best-designed products of the modern era". The unique design has not changed in 80 years: The glass bulb shaped like an hourglass, the wooden collar held together by a leather strap, and the special paper filters to go with it. Today, the Chemex is manufactured in a family business in Massachusetts, from where it finds its way into the hands of filter lovers around the world.
The coffee ritual as a daily inspiration
Just like Schlumbohm 80 years ago, we have a vision: to sweeten your everyday life with really good coffee. And we, too, often need courage to not let the big market-leading mass roasters get us down. Yet this glass gem reminds us time and again that true passion is the guidepost for the big goals in life. Dream big, always!
A brief guide to making coffee in the Chemex:
- Bring water to a boil and let cool for approx. 1 minute (~92-96°C)
- Grind coffee with medium to coarse grind RULES: ~6-7 grams of coffee powder per 100ml of water
- Rinse the paper filter with a little water, remove any water that has run through from the Chemex
- Pour coffee powder into filter; blooming phase: pour about 1/5 of the water in circular motions, wait ~30 seconds #bubble
- Add remaining water, total brewing time is ~3 ½ - 4 minutes.
- Enjoy handmade filter coffee 😊