Popular since its invention in 1941, this quirky pour-over device uses the process of heat combined with slow saturation of the grounds to extract the bold, robust flavor from your coffee beans.
The thick filters that Chemex requires also ensure the absence of sediment leftover in your coffee, a common flaw of other brewing methods like the French Press.
Consisting of just one piece of handblown glass, Chemex tends to attract coffee lovers simply because of how beautiful it looks and how appealing your coffee presents once brewed. However, Chemex does not just look. This truly unique piece allows for so many variations in brewing, making every element of the brewing process matter.
How To Make Coffee in A Chemex? – Knowing Your Chemex and Setup
From your choice of coffee beans, the grind size you choose, and the style of kettle you use, all the way to how you measure or weigh your coffee and water – every step of the brewing process adds or takes away from your finished cup of coffee when using a Chemex.
But don’t worry, using and even mastering the art of Chemex isn’t that hard. It’s enjoyable to play around with and hard to mess up. We will break down each element and its importance, and before you know it, you’ll be able to produce your perfect cup of coffee with each brew.
How To Make Coffee in A Chemex? – What You Need?
1. Chemex Setup
To get started, you’ll need to have your Chemex set up and ready to go. Whether you’re using the Classic Chemex or the Handblown Chemex, this easy-to-use brewing method has three parts – the glass carafe and the wooden collar, held together with a leather cord.
To assemble the coffee maker, line up the wooden collar around the neck of your Chemex and tie the cord securely around it to hold it in place. Next, you’ll need to set up and rinse the filter.
2. Filter Prep
Chemex paper coffee filters are essentially a large square, or circle, folded into fours. To use one, you’ll want to open the paper filter from one corner, making a triangular “bowl” with a single layer of paper on one side of the bowl and three layers on the opposite side.
Please place it in the brewer, putting the crease of the fold perpendicular to the Chemex coffee maker’s spout, and ensure the three-layer side is on the spout side.
Check out our Chemex Filter guide here for a more detailed explanation of everything filter-related.
Using warm or hot water from your kettle, pour ½ – 1 cup of water to thoroughly rinse the filter, getting the entire filter wet and dumping the excess water out. By running water through the filter, you eliminate any papery taste from altering your coffee while pre-heating the Chemex so it’s already warm when you begin to brew.
Tip: Watch out for airflow! Because of its design, the Chemex’s only airflow to the bottom portion is through the spout. Your filter may suction into the fixture, leaving no room for air. This will seal off the bottom where your coffee is brewed into. Once your filter is wet, and before adding the grinds, check that this has not happened and adjust if it has. Keep an eye out during the brewing process.
If suction occurs, you will notice the water cannot move through the grinds and filter and will stay in your Chemex’s upper brewing area. If this is a continual problem, you may want to place a finished wood or steel chopstick in your brewer, positioning it in the bottom portion of your Chemex so it sticks into the spout to create that necessary opening.
If Suction Occurs: How to Fix It
Picking Your Beans
Pour-over brewing in the Chemex allows the best access to your beans’ taste portfolio. Because the Chemex takes longer, your grinds get saturated, giving you a more extended extraction period and ensuring every last drop of flavor is pulled from your beans. This means you experience all the nutty, fruity, sweet, and sour notes in your coffee. If you’re trying a new roast, it’s recommended to try it out on your Chemex to explore all the aspects of the flavor profile truly. Medium or light roasts are generally recommended as they are the mildest and most consistent. It’s also a good idea to support local roasters as they can provide detailed information about their roasting methods and bean origins.
Picking the Right Beans for Your Chemex
Knowing Your Chemex Ratio
The most common coffee-to-water ratio for Chemex brewing is 1:15. For every gram of coffee; you’ll need 15 grams of water. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, use three tablespoons of grinds for every cup (8 ounces) of water. Once you know your desired ratio, you can easily calculate the coffee and water needed for your desired number of cups.
Understanding the Coffee-to-Water Ratio
Prepping the Water
With your desired ratio in mind, add the water needed to your kettle and account for evaporation during boiling. Heat your water to 205 degrees F (96 C), boil, and sit for 30-60 seconds. Water temperature plays a significant role in the extraction process and will affect the boldness and richness of your coffee. For best results, use a gooseneck kettle that gives you maximum control of the speed and distribution of your water. However, any kettle will work with attention to the water temperature and distribution.
Getting the Water Ready
Remember, if you experience suction in your Chemex, a simple fix involves placing a chopstick in the bottom. Picking the right beans, understanding the coffee-to-water ratio, and prepping the water correctly are all essential to brewing the perfect cup of coffee with your Chemex. Enjoy the process and savor every sip of your carefully crafted brew.
You can check out some of our favorite kettles here
Measure & Grind the Beans
Prepare your beans as your water heats up.
Grind size and bean freshness are crucial to getting quality coffee, so I always recommend buying your beans whole and having an at-home grinder (you can find our best grinder recommendation for pour-over styles here). But whether you bought them ground or not, it’s essential to remember how big those grinds are. I recommend using a medium effort with about the same coarseness as sand.
Beans can be ground fine, almost powdery (suitable for espresso), or coarse. Chemex brewing times typically range from 4-6 minutes, depending on how much you’re brewing at once and how big it is.
However, if your water may be pouring through the grounds too quickly, try grinding your coffee a little finer. This will prevent under-extraction, which makes your coffee taste weak.
Likewise, if you think the water is pouring too slowly and is struggling to push through the grounds, try grinding more on the coarse side (although check that filter suction first – remember, you may have just cut off your airflow!) This will prevent over-extraction and keep your coffee from losing its flavor, tasting too bitter.
Using 14-17 grams of coffee per cup (wiggle room here for personal taste preference), grind your beans in (we recommend this) a burr grinder. These grinders are ideal because they’re manually operated but scour the grounds uniformly.
The Chemex Brew
It may feel like a lot of setups at first, but once you’ve done it a few times, your Chemex coffee brewing will become a therapeutic and straightforward ritual to start your day. Your filter has been rinsed, your Chemex is warmed and ready, your beans are ground, and your water is boiling. Now what?
There are two basic steps to brewing – the bloom and the pour-over.
Step One: Bloom The Coffee
Start by adding your grinds to your filter and giving it a gentle shake to level it. I like to set my Chemex up on my kitchen scale to double-check the weight of the grinds (I use 30 grams of coffee to get a 16-ish-ounce cup of coffee) and then take that out to measure my water.
When the water is ready, pour just enough in a circular pattern to saturate the coffee bed. I add about 60-70 grams (2-2.5 ounces) of water.
Let it sit and “bloom” for 30 seconds, allowing carbon dioxide bubbles to gas off.
Blooming occurs when carbon dioxide gas is released from the coffee grounds as they come in contact with the hot water. The coffee will rise and create bubbles as the gasses emit, making it look like it’s blooming. This coffee bloom will allow your beans to have a much sweeter extraction and not be so acidic.
Step Two: The Pour-Over
Once the bloom is complete, slowly pour the water over the coffee in either a side-to-side or circular motion. If you’re making more than one serving size, it’s best to do this in intervals so the water can better saturate the grounds evenly and the flavor is extracted as much as possible. It would be best to keep your water level a half inch below the brim of your Chemex.
When I brew my morning mug, I can usually fit roughly 350 grams of water in. Once that has gone down about halfway, I add the remaining 100 grams.
As mentioned, a gooseneck kettle is ideal for brewing the perfect Chemex brew, but it’s unnecessary! I used a pot on my stovetop before investing in a kettle and using a spoon to distribute the water. However, this will result in a more uneven pour, affecting your grind saturation. In this case, lightly stirring the grounds when mixed with water is optional to saturate the settings better.
Cold Brew: Chemex Style
If you’re a coffee enthusiast looking for a refreshing and bold way to enjoy your favorite beverage, look no further than a Chemex. While most people associate this sleek glass coffee maker with pour-over cups of coffee, it can also be used to make an excellent cold brew blend. In this article, we’ll explore the difference between cold brew and iced coffee, provide a recipe for making cold brew in your Chemex, and offer some tips for filtering and enjoying your homemade cold brew.
Understanding the Difference
When it comes to iced coffee, it is typically brewed using traditional methods such as drip or pour-over and then chilled. On the other hand, cold brew is prepared through an immersion method, resulting in a much more robust and bolder taste. For cold brew, let the coffee grounds soak overnight in water and then filter the beans out to extract a rich and intense flavor.
Getting Started: What You Need
To make cold brew in your Chemex, prepare it directly in the coffee maker or use another pitcher or container. Using a different vessel, you can use your Chemex for straining purposes.
Calculating the Ratio
Since cold brew is more potent than iced coffee, you’ll need to adjust the ratio of coffee to water. Use a 1:10 percentage of coffee beans to water for a bold cold brew. If you prefer to add milk to your cold brew, opt for a more concentrated mixture using a 1:8 balance instead. The table below breaks down the ratios for various serving sizes:
Water 1:10 Ratio – Grinds 1:8 Ratio – Grinds
1 cup 24 grams/4.5 tablespoons 29.5 grams/6 tablespoons
2 cups 48 grams/9.5 tablespoons 59 grams/12 tablespoons
4 cups 96 grams/19 tablespoons/1.25 cups 118.5 grams/23.5 tablespoons/1.5 cups
8 cups 192 grams/38.4 tablespoons/2.5 cups 237 grams/47.5 tablespoons/3 cups
Brewing the Perfect Cold Brew
Once you’ve determined the amount of cold brew you want to make and measure your beans, it’s time to brew. Use a medium to medium-coarse grind size, similar to what you would use for a hot brew. Avoid grinding your beans too fine or too coarse, as it can affect the strength and taste of your cold brew.
Place the grinds in the bottom of your Chemex brewer, then add the water. Swirl the mixture to ensure the beans are evenly wetted. Cover your Chemex with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 20-24 hours. If you want a bolder taste, you can let it steep for longer, but be careful not to exceed 24 hours, as the coffee may become bitter.
Filtering and Enjoying Your Cold Brew
Once your cold brew has steeped overnight, it’s time to filter out the grinds. Place a filter in your pour-over dripper and slowly pour the cold brew, allowing it to filter through. While most tasks will settle at the bottom of your Chemex, the filter will catch any excess particles.
After filtering, discard the used grinds and thoroughly wash your Chemex. Now, you’re ready to savor a fresh glass of cold brew made with your Chemex. For extra indulgence, consider adding rigid foam to enhance the flavor and turn your beverage into a sweet treat.
In conclusion, with a Chemex, you can go beyond the traditional pour-over cup of coffee and delve into the world of cold brew. Following the steps outlined in this article, you can make a delicious and bold cold brew right in your home. So, grab your Chemex and get ready to enjoy a refreshing and satisfying cup of cold brew coffee.
The Versatility of the Chemex Coffee Brewer
Harnessing the Potential of Your Chemex
You probably have your favorite coffee brewing method if you love coffee. However, if you own a Chemex coffee brewer, you have a world of possibilities. This versatile device allows you to experiment with different techniques, ingredients, and temperatures to create a variety of delicious coffee drinks. Whether you prefer a steaming cup of hot coffee to start your day or a refreshing cold brew to beat the summer heat, the Chemex has got you covered.
Exploring the Art of Coffee Brewing
The Perfect Cup: A Blend of Science and Art
Brewing coffee is both a science and an art. It requires precision and creativity. With a Chemex coffee brewer, you can become a coffee connoisseur, perfecting the balance between flavor, aroma, and strength. Every decision contributes to the final result, from adjusting the grind-to-water ratio to selecting the ideal beans and roast. The Chemex allows you to fine-tune your brewing technique, ensuring each cup is a work of art.
Embracing Endless Possibilities
Endless Experimentation: Unleashing Your Inner Coffee Scientist
One of the joys of using a Chemex brewer is the freedom to experiment and explore. You can discover exciting combinations by varying the water distribution, changing the timing, or trying different brewing methods. Each exploration will lead you to a new and delightful coffee experience. With Chemex, the world of coffee is your laboratory, and you have the power to create your unique blends.
In conclusion, owning a Chemex coffee brewer opens up coffee-making opportunities. Whether a novice or an experienced barista, Chemex allows you to elevate your coffee game. Don’t limit yourself to the same old routine – embrace the versatility and endless possibilities of the Chemex and savor the joy of a perfectly brewed cup of coffee all year round. Happy brewing!