James Bond is sitting down to breakfast in From Russia, With Love when we learn that he owns a Chemex coffee maker, from which he drinks two large cups of very strong coffee – which he buys from De Bry in New Oxford Street.
Although De Bry no longer exists – the shop is now a branch of Morgan Computers – the Chemex name does continue to live on.
In fact the Chemex coffee maker was invented in 1941 by Dr Peter Schlumbohm, a German chemist and member of the Bauhaus movement and the design is considered a classic. It is to be found on display in New York’s MOMA as well as The Smithsonian and was selected by the Illinois Institute of Technology as one of the 100 best designed products of modern times.
The Chemex owes its design to Schumbohm’s knowledge of filtration gained in the lab. Modifying standard laboratory glassware, his coffee maker is simple, elegant and when used with the correct filter papers it make excellent coffee.
The glass is traditionally handblown with wooden collar and come in four different sizes – 3, 6, 8 or 13 cups – although there is also a slightly cheaper machine-blown range available.
Although Fleming never tells us what size of coffee maker is owned by 007, we’d recommend the 3 cup model. You can buy the Chemex coffee maker online from various sources such as Amazon with prices starting at around $35 and also check eBay for bargains.
As well as a decent coffee maker, you need to follow James Bond’s example and buy good quality coffee. Although De Bry no longer exists, many shops sell Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, or you can use a quality brand such as Illy which are available in many supermarkets.