How to Thrift Shop for Vintage Chemex Coffee Makers


Oleg Romanko /

Shopping thrift retail outlets, flea markets and property gross sales may also be overwhelming. With the sheer quantity of stuff, how have you learnt the place to start out? How do you notice gemstones amid the entire junk?

As a qualified reseller who has been combing thru thrift retail outlets for the simpler a part of 30 years, I will be able to assist. If you’re in a position to chop your buying groceries time in 1/2, rating larger bargains or stroll away with brag-worthy reveals you’ll turn for money, learn on.

From hard-to-find home goods to resale money-makers, the whole lot featured in my “Thrift Shop Like a Pro” collection qualifies as a BOLO (“be looking out” for) merchandise. When you discover it, purchase it!

Featured discover: Chemex espresso makers

In my area, espresso makers expire quicker than the half-and-half. Seriously, I’ve purchased two single-cup brewers previously month. Each one lasted about two weeks ahead of the pump mechanism failed and rendered the entire device unnecessary.

I’m tempted to enter a diatribe about deliberate obsolescence, however I haven’t had my espresso but. Instead, let’s speak about one answer — the Chemex espresso maker, a chic, environment friendly pour-over instrument without a transferring portions.

Invented via chemist Peter Schlumbohm, Chemex first gave the impression available on the market within the Nineteen Forties. Made of heat-resistant glass, the brewers appear to be an hourglass with the highest shaved off.

The cone-shaped higher portion of the carafe, along side a different paper clear out, gets rid of sediment, oils and fat from the espresso. No bitterness and no grounds — the very best cup each and every time.

But the good design doesn’t finish there. The slender neck of the carafe suits the hand completely and protects it from the recent floor with a band of picket known as a “collar.” The collar is secured with a leather-based twine knotted thru a picket bead. (Don’t you simply love mid-century design?)

A delicate groove molded within the glass serves as a spout. Just take away the used clear out and grounds as one compostable bundle after which pour the espresso.

Why purchase it?

Besides brewing a awesome cup of espresso, Chemex espresso makers simply glance cool. In comparability, my now-defunct single-cup brewers appear to be ill-conceived piles of plastic.

New York City’s Museum of Modern Art and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum agree on Chemex’s inventive advantage — the everlasting collections of each esteemed establishments come with a Chemex.

Properly used and cared for, a Chemex will ship piping scorching perfection for generations. An excerpt from an previous corporate brochure says it highest:

“The Chemex coffeemaker is an ideal masterpiece of glassblowing, which most effective only a few glassblowers can ship. Treated rightly, with recognize, it is going to remaining a life-time.”

If you’re thinking about reselling Chemex items for benefit, the marketplace is absolutely caffeinated. An extra-large Chemex from the Fifties not too long ago offered on eBay for $330. On Etsy, a antique 8-cup style in pristine situation not too long ago offered for $199.

Those costs are much more spectacular while you believe that antique Chemex brewers value just a buck or two in lots of secondhand stores.

Particularly in spaces with no robust espresso tradition, thrift retailer body of workers don’t know what to make of a Chemex pot. Is it a unusual vase? A work of lab apparatus? A posh spittoon? But hello, their confusion way steamin’ scorching bargains for you and me.

What to search for

The Chemex mark is in most cases imprinted on the underside of the carafe, despite the fact that I’ve noticed molded marks close to the spout on items from the Nineteen Forties. The brand is inconspicuous — simply “CHEMEX” in all-caps with a patent quantity.

In the resale marketplace, Chemex costs range in response to situation, age and different options. If you’re purchasing to resell, pay particular consideration to:

  • Size: With a couple of uncommon exceptions, Chemex brewers are available one-, three-, six-, eight- and 10-cup sizes. Larger sizes (eight-cup and above) promote highest.
  • Manufacture location: Pieces marked “Made in West Germany” have been manufactured ahead of 1990 and in most cases promote for upper costs.
  • Unique markings: Early Chemex brewers have been made from Pyrex and a few characteristic a inexperienced stamp at the frame of the carafe that reads, “CHEMEX® U.S. PATENT 2,411,340 MADE IN U.S.A. FROM PYREX® BRAND GLASS.” Carafes with the fairway stamp command upper resale costs.
  • Collar subject material: Some later Chemex fashions characteristic a plastic collar, however creditors choose the unique picket and leather-based collar design.

Pro tip: If you discover a Chemex with heavy espresso stains, don’t depression. Remove the picket collar and fill the carafe with equivalent portions heat water and distilled white vinegar. Let soak for 2-3 hours, then scrub with a bottle brush.

Disclosure: The data you learn here’s all the time purpose. However, we every so often obtain repayment while you click on hyperlinks inside our tales.

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