I bought my first Chemex Coffee maker in the 1970’s – and the design has not changed since then. They have added a few new designs, but all are classics that make great coffee.
It was from this pour through delicious coffee that changed how the world made coffee. Growing up coffee was made with either a percolator or cowboy coffee (where coffee grounds were added directly to boiling water – steeped and strained). Once people discovered how delicious this drip method provided some decided to mechanize it– leading to “Mr. Coffee.” Mr. Coffee was simply an emulation of the drip method, and from there many new machines came into being. But the classic, is the Chemex.
Peter Schlumbohm was a Ph.D. chemist who designed this based on an Erlenmeyer flask with a funnel on top.
The design for the coffee maker worked to not only make great coffee, but it is beautiful as well. They are their own pieces of art, which is unlike most coffee makers that have pure function. It is said that “Mr Coffee” that brought the revolution of drip coffee makers had his idea from the drip Chemex. These are the only coffee makers designated by the Illinois Institute of Technology as a “best-designed” item, and they are also exhibits in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Making Great Coffee
80 grams of coffee beans – these should be ground to a medium grind – not course, and not espresso. I find that 400 microns is too course. 1000 grams of water total (yes, I weigh the entire process on a scale).
The filter is placed into the chemex and then wetted using some hot water- that also serves to charge the vessel and get it warmer. The filter is a cone shape, with three layers. The water serves both to remove some of the taste of the filter, but to add some heat to the vessel. Once you have wetted the filter paper then pour out the water from the coffee maker – keeping the filter sealed against the wall of the vessel
For precision -place the wetted filter and chemex on a scale and zero (tare) it.
Add the ground beans into the filter. Should be 80 grams of beans. Zero this again.
Take the hot water (194 degrees works for me, but like with the Aeropress, any temperature between 180 and 200 I have used, below 180 and there is less extraction, above 200 and too much extraction and burning of the coffee with bitterness).
Wet the grounds with 250 grams of hot water. This will begin the extraction process. Allow all this water to go through until the grounds look like a caldera.
Then add the remaining water. Mine takes 1000 grams of water. This takes time to brew through and drip – about 5 minutes -but that is ok, great coffee takes time.
Enjoy and Drink:
This is the classic coffee. It takes about 10 minutes to make. The glass of the Chemex allows heat to be retained – so you don’t have to keep heat on the coffee.
Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and received his MD. Dr. Simpson, then became a renowned weight loss surgeon, and a leading advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he advocates teaching people to improve their health through their food. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcom Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit www.terrysimpson.com.