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Article: No Ordinary Brewer | The History of the Chemex

Coffee Brewing

No Ordinary Brewer | The History of the Chemex

Haven’t read part 1 of this series? Click here to catch up!

The defining point of the modern coffee evolution began when people started to drink coffee for the coffee itself and not just for a caffeine kick. If you go back to the story of Kaldi the goatherd, he discovered a drink that would give you energy. Fast forward to modern America. Today’s serious coffee drinker doesn’t just want a caffeine jolt in the morning, the coffee drinker wants a delicious experience that takes advantage of every drop of flavor the coffee bean has to offer. How did we get here? We are here because there were people who weren’t satisfied with just good enough. One such person was Dr. Peter Schlumbohm the inventor of the Chemex. He wasn’t just a coffee drinker, he was a scientist. He put his knowledge as a chemist to bring the coffee-loving world the best-tasting coffee. He separated the best of coffee from the worst part of coffee. He discovered how to filter it so what is left is only the best part. He experimented with only the highest quality glass and other high-quality filtering materials.

It was his knowledge of science and his love for coffee that in 1941 brought us the first Chemex. If you’re familiar with the Chemex, you know that it’s not just about the beautiful hourglass carafe but the filter and grind are of utmost importance. As a result, he also invented filters that fit the Chemex perfectly to ensure maximum extraction. Not only was it important to Dr. Schlumbohm to provide a simple brewing method but it had to be beautiful and something that would add aesthetics to anyone’s kitchen.

The Chemex is so special that its recognition goes beyond the coffee community. It extends to the scientific and artistic communities. It can be found in museums all over the world and most notably in the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum, the Corning Museum of Glass, and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Back in 1943, just two years after the public release of the first Chemex, it was displayed at MOMA as one of the best-designed products of the year. It was also selected by the Illinois Institute of Technology as one of the 100 best-designed products of modern time.

The uniqueness of the Chemex cannot be understated. Now 80 years later, the Chemex is still a preferred brewing method for many. It has proven to be tried and true. If you’ve never tried a Chemex, we highly recommend it. Matt, the owner of Sagebrush will tell you that there is no better way to brew an Ethiopian dry-process cup of coffee than in a Chemex.  Any highly fruited coffee that is benefitted by the clarity of the cup will shine bright with this method!


Read the next part of this series by clicking below!

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