Chemex Coffeemaker

Chemex Coffeemaker
Chemex Coffeemaker
photo © Coffee Circle, Chemex
photo © Chemex
Chemex Coffeemaker
photo © Chemex

photo © Chemex
Chemex Coffeemaker promotion, 1948
photo © Chemex

photo © Chemex via Instagram
The Chemex Coffeemaker is still a popular item
photo © Chemex via Instagram

James Bond uses a Chemex Coffeemaker in the novel From Russia, with Love (1957) by Ian Fleming. Bond, when in London, is brewing his breakfast coffee with a Chemex, using coffee bought from the De Bry's shop in New Oxford Street. De Bry doesn't exist anymore but the Chemex company is still active, and with the current popularity of special (slow drip) coffee and retrodesign, the coffeemaker is doing very well.

"Breakfast was Bond's favourite meal of the day. When he was stationed in London it was always the same. It consisted of very strong coffee, from De Bry in New Oxford Street, brewed in an American Chemex, of which he drank two large cups, black and without sugar." - Ian Fleming, Chapter 11, From Russia, With Love (1957)

Chemex
The Chemex has become a design icon in the coffee world ever since its invention. The unique and simple shaped Chemex Coffeemaker was invented in the early 1940s by German inventor Peter Schlumbohm, made simply of glass and a wooden collar handle, inspired in spirit by the Bauhaus school of design and in form by laboratory equipment such as the Erlenmeyer flask. Schlumbohm set up the Chemex company during the Second World War in the America, and was able to make it a successful product, due to his promotional activities (product placement, giving away free coffeemaker to key people), the pure design that appealed to many from the early start, and the quality of the coffee.

The Chemex Coffeemaker consists of a narrow-waist glass flask and uses proprietary paper filters, the Chemex-Bonded Coffee Filter, made of chemically bonded paper (of thicker-gauge paper than the standard paper filters for a drip-method coffeemaker) which remove most of the coffee oils, and so brew coffee with a taste that is different than the taste of coffee brewed in other coffee-making systems.

Vintage Chemex Coffeemakers can easily be found on eBay, but the Chemex company still exists and makes the exact same coffeemaker, so you can even get a new one (for example on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, or the Chemex website). The Chemex "Classic series" and more expensive "Handblown series" are the original model, now available in different sizes. Find the models and accessories (including the equally designy kettle that keeps the water at perfect brewing temperature) on chemexcoffeemaker.com.

If you want to taste a Chemex coffee first, you can go to one of the Timberyard coffee shops in London, they serve an excellent Chemex.

The quality of the design of coffeemaker was recognised early on and to prove that, the Chemex is part of New York’s Museum of Modern Art collection and other design museums.

The Chemex Coffeemaker can be spotted in several movies (Harper, Rosemary's Baby) and television series, for example Friends and Mad Men (in Don Draper's kitchen).

In the movie Live And Let Die (1974), when we get a rare peek in Bond's own apartment, we do see Bond making a coffee (for M) but then he is using a La Pavoni Europiccola machine, another classic coffeemaker that is also still available today.

Which coffee would Bond use?
In the Ian Fleming novels, James Bond drinks Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee. Fleming, who lived in Goldeneye, Jamaica, mentions the brand in the novel Live And Let Die ("Blue Mountain coffee - the most delicious in the world", Chapter 17). Author Jeffery Deaver also has Bond drink "a cup of fiercely strong Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee" in the novel Carte Blanche (2011).

Where to get Chemex?

Thanks to Mike and Harold for the alert

Product Code: 
fd030

Bond Lifestyle Gift Guide 2017

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