I used my first chemix coffee maker in Cambridge, MA. I had rented an apartment on Walker Street, a British-like bed-sit which required a descend down some stairs. It had access to a garden filled with roses, a lovely landlady, the late Natalie Grow, and in the cupboard, two glass apothecary jars, and a chemix with some filters. It was so beautiful, an oversized hour-glass-shaped glass beaker with a wooden corset , held together by a leather cord with two wooden beads on the end. The corset must keep in the heat, I reasoned, or help protect the glass. (Turns out, it was an effective way to protect the hand while pouring.) It was scientific, aptly named.
I’d never used one before , but it seemed easy to figure out. Heat water, pour through the chemix lined with paper & filled with ground coffee. I didn’t rinse the filters first. That would not have only improved the taste but preheated the coffee contraption. I can’t remember the coffee I drank in Cambrige, but I remember the Chemex. And I remember Natalie. One of the first bank presidents in the country, and a yogini, she had visited India four times, chramingly bulldozed her way to a Master’s. At 78, she was radient with energy.
On my move-in day, she kept a vase waiting for me filled with white tulips.