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May 11, 2017

How to Best Brew Coffee in a Chemex

| By Savannah Britton |

To continue our brewing methods series, this week we’re tackling how to best brew coffee in a Chemex. Chemex, a pour-over method, is one of our top preferred brewing methods due to its cleanliness and vibrancy it renders the cup. The high density paper filter removes much of the oils and fats from the final cup. The filter regulates filtration rates (due to density of paper), giving coffee proper infusion while regulating drip out as well as filtering undesirable compounds that can sometimes cause bitterness.

It’s also possible to make several cups at one time, with a 6 or 8-cup Chemex so it works very well in a group setting. Chemex recommends the use of its signature paper filters for the reasons I describe above to yield a clean a vibrant cup, but also sells a metal filter for those individuals who enjoy to let more of the coffee sediment and oils into the cup.

When I’m brewing in a Chemex, I tend to prefer nice washed or natural African coffees, like Guji Hambela. Also any light or medium roast coffees, especially our Peruvian Biodynamic, and Bolivia Caranavi, which all turn out very nice this way. Coffee drinkers who are are seeking lighter, more delicate qualities in flavor will prefer the Chemex brewing method because it highlights these particular qualities better than some of the other ways to brew coffee such as in a French Press or an espresso machine.

To Brew in a Chemex, you will need:

45g fresh ground medium-coarse coffee (like Kosher salt)

720g hot water of 195-205 degrees

A kitchen scale (optional)

  1. Choose your favorite whole bean coffee and grind fresh using a burr grinder, which will allow for an even grind particle size. A Chemex paper filter uses a medium-coarse grind.
  2. Using the bonded Chemex brand filter, fold into a cone shape so that one side is three layers thick (this thicker side should be placed over the spout). Rinse the filter with hot water, which will also pre-heat the vessel. Once the water has drained through the filter, dispose of the water from the brewer.
  3. Put one rounded scoop of ground coffee for every 5oz cup into the filter. If using a scale, we suggest using a 16 to 1 ratio such as 45g of coffee for every 8 cup Chemex coffee maker and 720g total water-weight.
  4. Using water that is 195-205 degrees, pour a small amount of water evenly to saturate the coffee (about 50-75g water). Allow it to swell and “bloom” to 30 seconds.
  5. Continue the pour by adding water in a circular motion trying to stay away from the filter wall, keeping the “slurry” from ½ to ¾ full at all times. The more constant the agitation, the better quality extraction.
  6. Once the desired amount of coffee is brewed (or desired weight; for an 8 cup we suggest 720g of water), lift out and dispose of the filter and spent grounds.
  7. Sip. Enjoy!


Chemex How-To Video:

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Savannah Phillips

Quality Control
A Level-Two Certified Barista, native Northwesterner turned So-Cal girl, Savannah is also addicted to yoga, hiking, meditation and long drives up Coast Highway 101. She doesn’t remember ever not loving coffee. Even as a child, when most other kids typically hate the taste, it was something she craved, which looking back, was unquestionably an early prediction of a career devoted to specialty coffee.

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