We frequently suggest coffee made via pour over because, frankly, it's just such an awesome means of preparation. Here at HubBub, we specifically use Chemex brand coffee makers to carefully extract the different flavors, both subtle and boisterous, from the single origin coffees that we are so proud to be able to offer you. Not only are Chemexes wonderfully simple (and purely analog, which can be refreshing in this day and age of elaborate digi coffee making gadgetry), they are also beautifully designed objects that possess a certain quiet dignity.
And when it comes to function, the Chemex allows anyone with some time, a good grinder, a scale and a timer to mess around with several of the most important controllable coffee brewing factors. Our philosophy is that coffee is about what you like - not what someone else tells you to like - so in that spirit, the Chemex (and its friends the scale and the grinder) is the best.
While you might associate this smooth hourglass with Third Wave coffee, the Chemex has actually been around for quite a long time. Peter Schlumbohm, a German-born scientist and inventor, invented the Chemex in 1941. As a chemist, Schlumbohm spent a lot of time in laboratories, and later, when envisioning a new way of making coffee, he called upon the precise and exacting tools that he'd used to filter and extract things in the lab. He modified a standard glass lab funnel and an Erlenmeyer flask, fused them into one object made of heatproof glass, cinched its waist with a glossy wooden handle, and voila! The Chemex was born.
The Chemex became a popular appliance in households throughout the 1950's and 60's, which was reflected in movies and TV: Mary Tyler Moore had one in her kitchen on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and James Bond used a Chemex in the movie From Russia, With Love! The elegance of the Chemex's design was not lost on high culture, either - it is part of the permanent collection in the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian, the Corning Museum, and our very own Philadelphia Museum of Art. After Peter Schlumbohm's death in 1962, noted design writer Ralph Caplan eulogized that the Chemex was "one of the few modern designs for which one can feel affection as well as admiration." We think it's pretty incredible that nearly 75 years later, coffee aficionados the world over are still smitten with this brewing method.
If you're ever looking to add a Chemex to your kitchen set up, please note that all HubBub locations now sell both Chemex and the conical Chemex paper filters, which are much heavier than normal paper filters and filter out sediment, fats and oils. It is a truly stellar tool and we don't want to keep it all to ourselves! But if you're looking for a hand knit Chemex cozy, well...you'll have to look to Etsy for that.