How to Thrift Shop for Vintage Chemex Coffee Makers

Oleg Romanko /

Shopping thrift shops, flea markets and property gross sales could be overwhelming. With the sheer quantity of stuff, how have you learnt the place to start out? How do you see gems amid all of the junk?

As knowledgeable reseller who has been combing by thrift shops for the higher a part of 30 years, I can assist. If you’re prepared to chop your purchasing time in half, rating greater bargains or stroll away with brag-worthy finds you may flip for money, learn on.

From hard-to-find home items to resale money-makers, all the pieces featured in my “Thrift Shop Like a Pro” sequence qualifies as a BOLO (“be on the lookout” for) merchandise. When you discover it, purchase it!

Featured discover: Chemex espresso makers

In my home, espresso makers expire sooner than the half-and-half. Seriously, I’ve purchased two single-cup brewers up to now month. Each one lasted about two weeks earlier than the pump mechanism failed and rendered the entire machine ineffective.

I’m tempted to enter a diatribe about deliberate obsolescence, however I haven’t had my espresso but. Instead, let’s discuss one answer — the Chemex espresso maker, a sublime, environment friendly pour-over gadget with no shifting components.

Invented by chemist Peter Schlumbohm, Chemex first appeared in the marketplace within the 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 with a particular paper filter, removes sediment, oils and fat from the espresso. No bitterness and no grounds — the proper cup each time.

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

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

Why purchase it?

Besides brewing a superior cup of espresso, Chemex espresso makers simply look 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 creative benefit — the everlasting collections of each esteemed establishments embrace a Chemex.

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

“The Chemex coffeemaker is a perfect masterpiece of glassblowing, which only very few glassblowers can deliver. Treated rightly, with respect, it will last a lifetime.”

If you’re excited by reselling Chemex items for revenue, the market is totally caffeinated. An extra-large Chemex from the Nineteen Fifties lately offered on eBay for $330. On Etsy, a classic 8-cup mannequin in pristine situation lately offered for $199.

Those costs are much more spectacular when you think about that classic Chemex brewers value solely a greenback or two in lots of secondhand outlets.

Particularly in areas with no robust espresso tradition, thrift retailer employees don’t know what to make of a Chemex pot. Is it a bizarre vase? A chunk of lab gear? A elaborate spittoon? But hey, their confusion means steamin’ scorching bargains for you and me.

What to search for

The Chemex mark is often printed on the underside of the carafe, although I’ve seen molded marks close to the spout on items from the Forties. The emblem is easy — simply “CHEMEX” in all-caps with a patent quantity.

In the resale market, Chemex costs fluctuate primarily based on situation, age and different options. If you’re shopping for to resell, pay particular consideration to:

  • Size: With a couple of uncommon exceptions, Chemex brewers are available in one-, three-, six-, eight- and 10-cup sizes. Larger sizes (eight-cup and above) promote greatest.
  • Manufacture location: Pieces marked “Made in West Germany” have been manufactured earlier than 1990 and sometimes promote for larger costs.
  • Unique markings: Early Chemex brewers have been made from Pyrex and a few characteristic a inexperienced stamp on the physique of the carafe that reads, “CHEMEX® U.S. PATENT 2,411,340 MADE IN U.S.A. FROM PYREX® BRAND GLASS.” Carafes with the inexperienced stamp command larger resale costs.
  • Collar materials: Some later Chemex fashions characteristic a plastic collar, however collectors favor the unique wooden and leather-based collar design.

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

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