chemex1I graduated from art school in 1995 with a portfolio full of figure drawings, $30,000 of student loan debt, and a very serious caffeine habit. Thirteen years later, the figure drawings are gone and the loans have been paid off but I still have the habit. Along with an exponentially-growing collection of brewing tools I use to feed the dirty monkey on my back.

The latest — and easily the greatest — is a birthday gift just given by my enabling wife. Designed in 1941 by Peter J. Schlumbohm, the Chemex coffeepot is a one-piece hourglass-shaped vase made of heat-resistant laboratory-grade borosilicate glass. Just drop a cone filter in the top, add coarse grounds, pass hot water through them, and serve.

But if you ask me, it’s really the handle — a corset-like wooden cuff bound with a leather cord — that takes this functional little beauty into fetish territory.