For years I’ve touted the Chemex coffee brewing system as the sexiest way to make coffee as part of your “authentic” coffee experience. For visual beauty you can’t beat the looks. Much nicer than the old boxy digital coffeemaker or the stark aluminum percolator. It’s one of the few coffee-related items carried in the Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian, and Philadelphia Museum of Art stores. The Chemex pot was designed by Peter Schlumbohm, a German inventor, in the early twentieth century. It has been described as “one of the few modern designs for which one can feel affection as well as admiration.”
Until this Christmas my affection for the Chemex was through visual acuity alone. Last year my wife bought me one as a Christmas gift. My in-laws also bought me a set of 4 Chemex mugs for Christmas. Since my fasccination with coffee began and my actions as The Coffee Scholar spread I have tried innumerable different methods and devices for preparing coffee. Some of them over and over for my own use and others that I reviewed for my coffee column.
I can say without equivocation that the Chemex drip-method pot and the Chemex mugs are the absolute best tasting method of coffee preperation that I have ever tried. It’s absolutely amazing and miles above other methods for preserving the most taste not only in the preperation phase but also in the drinking phase of an “authentic” coffee experience. For comparison purposes I tried other beverages in the Chemex mugs from cold Mountain Dew to hot tea. The taste is enhanced every time. If any of you are soda connoisseurs, imagine it as the difference between drinking soda from plastic versus glass. So no matter what your favorite beverage is, the mugs should enhance it’s flavor.
The Chemex pot is very easy to use and clean. The mugs are dishwasher and microwave safe. They have a light and airy feel to them and are completely translucent, even the handle. Using them gives me a laboratory vibe, like drinking out of a beaker in Chemistry class. I use my Bodum water kettle, which I previously reviewed, for the heating of the water.
No matter what coffee system you’ve been using over the years, if you’d like to up your game, you have to go with the Chemex.