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Okay, I loved the '70s too. I loved my Schwinn Stingray, I loved my Matchbox cars, I loved "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters." (Am I dating myself here?)
But that wood collar with the leather band on the traditional Chemex models is a bit anachronistic. I mean, it serves a function; you do need some insulation for your hand as you pour your Chemex coffee.
But now you have an option, as Chemex as come out with a new, elegant, simple, all-glass design. We carry the 8 cup (40 ounce model) that has the lovable moniker "CM-8GH". It's sleek, it's clear, it makes coffee same as the other Chemex models.
The glass handle is thick and sturdy but hey, it's glass. My estimation is that you would probably crack the carafe itself long before you would crack the handle, so this model is no more or less fragile than the others.
The key advantages to using a Chemex are still true: the coffee-water mixture is the right temperature (between 195-205°F) from the beginning of the infusion; you control infusion time based upon the fineness of your grind and pouring technique; and lastly (and I think, of great significance) is that you can keep this system very clean.
A disadvantage of paper filters is they can impart a noticeable flavor to the brew, especially the thick Chemex filters, so pre-wetting the filter is key to excellent brewing. Also, Chemex brewing is best when brewing larger amounts of coffee: paper taste and heat loss are more noticeable when trying to brew a small batch of say 12 oz.
You will need to buy filters separately. Other brands of filters don't work well with Chemex because the drip opening is large. Even a Filtropa #6 will break at the seam in a Chemex Want to impress your friends? Tell them that your Chemex is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. We have a page with full instructions for Chemex brewing
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