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Chemex Coffee Pot: history of an extraction method which is a “work of art”

Chemex Coffee Pot: history of an extraction method which is a “work of art”

There are those, far from the logic of the espresso, who place no time limit on how long it takes to prepare themselves a coffee using unusual extraction techniques, such as the Chemex system or the Cold Brew system which we have already dedicated an in-depth article to. 

In this article we will be talking about the Chemex coffee pot, about its features and shape, which is so unusual as to be considered a real “work of art ” for connoisseurs of coffee and much more. 

Chemex coffee pot: history in a shape

Made entirely of glass,  a non-porous material which does not absorb odors or flavors even after may extractions, the Chemex coffee pot has a grip made with wooden rings held together by a leather strap, perfect for avoiding burns. The bulb-like shape of the lower container allows the extracted coffee to be oxygenated like in a decanter. 

But this extraction method has something extra unusual: the Chemex coffee pot was in fact considered in 1958 by the designers of the Illinois Institute of Technology to be  “one of the best products designed in modern times ” and was admitted into the permanent collection of the  MoMa, the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The New York Inventor 

This extraction method seems to have a strong connection with the city of  New York if we consider that its inventor, the German chemist Peter Schlumbohm, patented his Chemex coffee pot right there in the Big Apple in 1941.

To this day the Chemex is still highly appreciated in the United States as well as becoming more and more loved in Italy. 

How is the Chemex used?

The Chemex method comes under the category of coffee extractors known as “pour-over”, in that it consists of manual extraction which occurs by pouring the water onto the coffee powder through a paper filter. Even if it only take four minutes before your coffee is ready to drink, the preparation requires some experience and dexterity,  to balance the initial infusion and the final extraction. 

The preparation

The reference parameters you should refer to are:  

    • Ratio: 1,83 oz of coffee powder / 24,64 fl oz of water
    • Grinding granulometry: 600-800 micron
    • Water temperature: 197,6° – 204,8° F
    • Extraction time: 4 minutes (0,30 of pre-infusion and 3,30 minutes of percolation.
  • The first step is to position the special filter of disposable paper in the appropriate space, then it is necessary to wet it with very hot water to eliminate any flavor of cellulose and heat the serving container (the Chemex).

    At this point you can remove the water (used to dampen the filter) and add the ground coffee to the filter, after having leveled it off, and start pouring the water previously heated in the water boiler.

    Then the phase called Bloom (pre-infusion) starts, which consists of wetting the layer of coffee with a quantity of hot water equal to double that of the weight of the coffee used for a maximum of 30 seconds.

    Once this time has passed, pour the rest of the water (21,11 fl oz) for 3,30 minutes using continuous circular movements.

    After 4 minutes, once the extraction is finished, you can remove the paper filter and serve the coffee.

    And now there’s nothing left to do but savor the coffee made using the Chemex and give us your feedback.  

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