Let's Brew It: Chemex
The Chemex is a coffee brewing staple, and makes enjoying an amazing cup of coffee simple and easy. Easy to use with a quick and simple clean-up, this brewing method is a perfect way to get an exceptional cup of coffee.
Let's Brew It
Watch our full brew guide, or scroll down for a step-by-step breakdown.
Step 1: Weigh Coffee
For brewing a Chemex, we will be using a ratio of 1 part coffee to 16 parts water (1:16). This means for a 6 cup Chemex, we'll need 44g of coffee and 700mL of water.
Step 2: Grind Coffee
When brewing with a Chemex, you want to grind your coffee to medium-coarse. Your ground coffee should look slightly more coarse than table salt.
Step 3: Boil Water
Fill your kettle with cold, filtered water (about 1000mL) and heat it to a boil.
Step 4: Prepare Filter
For the best brew, you'll want to use an unbleached paper filter. The type of Chemex filter that we used in this guide is a pre-folded square, but Chemex offers a variety of other filter options depending on your preference. Open the filter to make a cone, and place the filter into the Chemex with the triple-layered side against the spout. Placing the triple-layered side against the spout helps to keep the filter from collapsing into the spout, ensuring a more even extraction.
Step 5: Rinse Filter
Once your water is boiling and your filter is in place, take your kettle off the heat and pour some water over the filter. Make sure that you evenly wet the entire portion of the filter that is touching the glass of the Chemex. Rinsing your filter before brewing helps create a seal between the filter and the Chemex, and also removes any paper flavors from the filter that would otherwise be imparted into your final brew. As the water drips from the filter into the Chemex, swirl the hot water around to preheat the brewer. Dump your rinse water.
Step 6: Add Coffee
Place your Chemex on the scale and tare it. Add your ground coffee to the filter, double-checking your coffee weight, and then tare your scale again.
Step 7: Bloom
Start the timer on your scale and pour hot water onto your ground coffee in a slow, spiral motion. Your water should be around 200°F, not boiling; this will allow the most extraction without scorching your ground coffee. You want to pour enough water that you double the weight of your ground coffee. For this recipe, you will want to pour 88g of water during the bloom phase (double our 44g weight of ground coffee). Make sure that all of your ground coffee is evenly saturated, and allow your coffee to bloom for 30 seconds.
A Note On Blooming
Blooming coffee is an important step in manual brewing, whether you're brewing with a Hario V60, a Chemex, or even a French press. While your coffee blooms, you'll notice bubbles coming up and popping across the surface of your ground coffee. This is the carbon dioxide and other gasses that are trapped during roasting being released from the coffee. By allowing your coffee to bloom prior to starting the full brew you make sure that all of the trapped gasses are released instead of ending up in your cup and causing off-flavors, and it also allows the rest of your water to more fully and evenly extract all of the delicious elements from the coffee grounds.
Step 8: Main Pours
After your coffee has bloomed, start adding more water (again, around 200°F) slowly and carefully. Pour your hot water in spiral motions, ensuring that you keep all of your coffee grounds evenly saturated. For each main pour, look to add about 200g of hot water. Allow your coffee to brew for approximately 45 seconds to 1 minute between pours. Continue in this pattern until you reach your target brew weight; for this recipe, we are looking for a final weight of 700g.
Step 9: Let Brew
Ready, set, wait! Allow your coffee to continue brewing, watching as the coffee drips from the filter into the Chemex. Your brew is ready when coffee stops dripping; your total time from start of bloom to end of brewing should be between 3:30 and 4:30 minutes. If your brew time is shorter than 3:30 minutes, try pouring your water a little more slowly or grinding your coffee a little more finely. If it takes longer than 4:30 minutes, you might need to pour a little more quickly or grind your coffee a little more coarse.
A Note On Brew Times
By lengthening or shortening your total brew time, you can control how well the coffee is extracted. A faster brew might mean that you are under-extracting your coffee, meaning that you aren't getting the full flavor present in the beans in your final cup. Under-extraction can also result in a slightly more acidic cup of coffee. A slow brew might cause over-extraction, creating a more bitter final cup. However, all of these flavors and extractions are subjective and it's up to you to find what you like best! By playing around with how fast you pour and the coarseness of your ground coffee, you can dial in your brew method until you find the perfect brew for you!
Step 10: Enjoy!
Now it's time for our favorite part - enjoying a delicious cup of freshly brewed coffee! Remove the filter with your coffee grounds and pour yourself a nice, hot mug of coffee.
A Note On Filters and Coffee
Unbleached paper filters and spent coffee grounds are great for compost, and spent coffee grounds on their own are an amazing fertilizer. Add them to your favorite potted plant or sprinkle them in your garden to give your soil a nice nutrient boost!