Chemex: Form vs. Function | Cameos & Coffee Brewing

Mid century modern design meets manual coffee brewing in style with the Chemex. The Chemex coffeemaker was invented in 1941, made simply of non-porous glass and a wooden collar handle, it remains one of the best manual brewing methods, resulting in one of the smoothest cups of coffee around. Chemex is a family owned company based in Pittsfiled, MA where they make the bonded Chemex coffee filters, Chemex Coffeemakers, hand blown kettles as well as coffee accessories. It has remained unchanged and true to its original design, which even 70 years later seems current.

Mad Men's Don Draper keeps a Chemex handy in his mid-century modern kitchen

Mad Men’s Don Draper keeps a Chemex handy in his mid-century modern kitchen

Did you know the Chemex was the manual coffee maker of choice for James Bond? In the film, From Russia With Love, Sean Connery’s Bond preferred his coffee brewed in a Chemex. Mary Tyler Moore entertained guests with her smile and a Chemex. Even Monica and Joey from Friends enjoyed a manually brewed cup of joe.

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Chemex has made cameos throughout the years and in many formats. Whether it is spotted in popular 1990’s TV shows, Oscar-winning horror films, or even in the hands of one of movies vintage cool 1960’s tough guys, Paul Newman, it stands the test of time.

Even cool private investigators brew their coffee in a Chemex. From the film Harper (1966).

Even cool private investigators brew their coffee in a Chemex. From the film Harper (1966).

 

Mia Farrow prefers a Chemex before her fright in Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Mia Farrow prefers a Chemex before her fright in Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

 

One of the things that Diesel is known for is our bold, smooth, and delicious iced coffee. We are coming into our most popular iced coffee brewing season which means brewing copious amounts of iced coffee hour after hour on warm Spring days filled with fresh air from the open garage door. We currently use Intelligentsia’s Analog Espresso, from their Black Cat Project and brew it over ice.

Just a typical amount of iced coffee for a sunny Saturday morning at Diesel

Just a typical amount of iced coffee for a sunny Saturday morning at Diesel

The closest way I have found to get this same smooth cup of iced coffee at home is by brewing Japanese style iced coffee utilizing my Chemex. The NY Times published a recipe for brewing this style of iced coffee, which incidentally is the recipe that I use for home brewing, and you can find that recipe here.

photo by Cate V.

photo credit Cate V.