The Chemex may seem intimidating, but after going through this Chemex brew guide, you will be a pour-over pro.
The Chemex coffee maker is part art, part science. It’s been around since 1941 and has been on display in the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian, the Corning Museum and the Philadelphia Museum.
It’s aesthetically pleasing yet makes a remarkably pure cup of coffee.
Ready to test out your barista skills?
Let’s get started.
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The Chemex is a staple in our household when it comes to making a clean cup of coffee. I love that it is made of glass so I don’t need to worry about any chemicals leeching into my cup of coffee. It is so simple to use and with my step by step guide you will be a pro in no time.
What Is A Chemex?
When you see a Chemex, you are immediately transported back to science class. The Chemex is a glass beaker with a wooden collar and a leather tie.
It brews coffee via a pour-over method as water passes through the coffee beans and paper filters.
I guess you could say that the Chemex is used for experiments…with coffee, that is.
Coffee to water ratio, water temperature, along with type of coffee used, and grind size are all factors that can affect the outcome of the brew.
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Why Use A Chemex Over Other Coffee Brewing Methods?
One of the notable features of the Chemex is that it provides a clean cup of coffee.
The paper filters are heavier than regular coffee filters and prevent oil and sediment from passing through the filter.
One of the perks (pun intended) of a pure brew process, is that it allows for the flavor notes and nuances of the coffee beans to be fully experienced.
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How To Use A Chemex – A Step By Step Guide
1. Heat water
Heat water in a gooseneck kettle. A recommended starting point is 200 degrees F or bring your water to a boil and then let the water sit for a minute before using.
2. Grind coffee
A medium coarse grind works best, think sea salt consistency.
The amount you grind is dependent on the size of your Chemex and desired strength of coffee. Chemex recommends one heaping tablespoon for a 5 oz cup, which equates to 4 heaping coffee scoops for the 8 cup Chemex model which holds 40 oz of water.
3. Add filter
Rinse the filter under warm water first as this will help heat up your Chemex and remove any residue or paper taste from the filter for a clean brew. Or you can pour water from the kettle directly on the filter once it’s in the Chemex.
When you add your filter, make sure the three layer side of the filter is facing the spout. You can then pour this water out.
I actually use a reusable stainless steel filter, which works great also!
4. Add coffee grounds
5. Pour water over coffee grounds
Pour just enough hot water over the coffee grounds and allow to bloom for approximately 30 seconds.
6. Pour the rest of the water over coffee grounds
In a circular motion from the center outwards, pour the rest of the water until it nearly reaches the top of the Chemex. As it brews, continue adding more water until you’ve used the allotted amount of water or you’ve reached the wood handle.
7. Remove the filter
Discard the filter and the grinds and enjoy that first sip feeling.
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How long will it take to brew coffee using a Chemex?
The brew process should be around 4 minutes.
The rate of flow is dependent on the size of the grind. A finer grind is going to produce a short brew time, a coarse grind is going to produce a longer brew time.
What is the ratio of coffee to water when using a Chemex?
The ratio of coffee to water is dependent on taste. The general recommendation is a 1:15 ratio (1 gram of coffee per 15 grams of water), which converts to about 3 tablespoons of coffee for every 1 cup of water.
Keep in mind that 5 oz is a cup in Chemex terminology. Chemex also recommends one heaping tablespoon of ground coffee per 5 oz of water.
In the case of Chemex, more coffee will likely be better, because the Chemex brewing process eliminates the bitterness and acidity of a strong brew.
What is the best type of coffee to use in a Chemex?
Single origin coffee beans are preferred over coffee blends by coffee aficionados because Chemex is a pure brewing process and brings out the unique flavors of different regions.
All roasts shine with the Chemex, however, a medium roast is the Goldilocks when it comes to bitterness, acidity, and caffeine content.
What exactly do I need to use a Chemex?
- Filters – These are not your ordinary filters. Chemex filters are 20-30% heavier than regular coffee filters. When deciding between the round or square filter, I recommend going with the square as the corners make it easier to lift out of the Chemex. But even better, I use a reusable stainless steel filter!
- Coffee – See above recommendations. Purity Coffee is my favorite brand of organic coffee that is also mold & mycotoxin free. Get Purity Coffee here and first time customers can use code GURLGONEGREEN to save 20%!
- Coffee Grinder – A grinder is a must, but a grinder with different grind settings is going to get you closer to that perfect cup of coffee.
- Gooseneck Kettle – A gooseneck kettle will make the whole pour-over-process so much easier.
- Kitchen scale – A perfect and precise cup of coffee requires a kitchen scale and some math. If you’re not up for doing math before coffee, just go with the scoops to water ratio mentioned above and experiment until you find your coffee nirvana.
- Filtered Water – I use a Berkey water filter because it addresses over 200 typical contaminants (even those I can’t taste or smell) found in tap water and other freshwater sources.
Related Content: The Ultimate Filtered Water Guide
What’s your favorite way to brew your coffee?
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Thanks for the step by step !
Which reusable stainless steel filter do you use with the Chemex, and where might I purchase ?
Thanks so much !
Here is an affiliate link to the reusable stainless steel filter that Suzi uses: https://amzn.to/3Jyp2Ch