Chemex Coffee: Unveiling the Art and Science Behind Your Perfect Brew

Chemex coffee is a brewing method that was invented by the chemist Dr. Peter Schlumbohmin in 1941. (1)

It has rapidly grown in popularity around the globe, and for good reason!

This sleek, hourglass-shaped brewer isn’t just eye candy for your kitchen counter; it’s actually designed to make a smoother, richer cup of coffee.

Sit back, relax, and let me guide you through this journey into better home-brewed Chemex coffee!

How To Make The Best Chemex Coffee

One of the joys I’ve discovered is the art of making coffee with a Chemex. This classic brewing method brings out the best in your beans, delivering a clean, flavorful cup every time. Plus it’s super easy.

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What You’ll Need for Making Chemex Coffee

  • A Chemex Coffeemaker: These come in various sizes but they all work on the same principle. (buy yours on amazon here)
  • Chemex filters: Unlike other methods, this one requires its own special type of filter.
  • Good quality coffee beans: Choose your favorite roast – light, medium or dark – it’s totally up to you!
  • Burr grinder: For consistency in your grind size and ultimately better extraction.
  • Digital scale: To weigh your coffee and water for accurate ratios.
  • Kettle: Preferably one with temperature control so you can hit that sweet spot for brewing.

Now that we’ve got everything together, I’ll take you through my step-by-step guide to making delightful Chemex coffee.

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Chemex Coffee Maker Instructions

Start with filtered water heated between 195°F (90°C) and 205°F (96°C).

While waiting for it to heat up, place a fresh filter into your Chemex brewer, ensuring that three layers cover the spout.

Next comes grinding our wonderful coffee beans!

Aim for a medium-coarse grind; similar to coarse sea salt. Once done, pour the grounds into your awaiting filter.

Once your water is heated, aim for roughly 30 grams of water per gram of coffee – it’s time to ‘bloom’ our grinds.

Pour just enough hot water over them so they’re fully saturated without any liquid dripping through.

Allow them about 30 seconds as they release their trapped gases and expand – hence ‘blooming’.

Now starts the main pour-over process, which should take about 3 minutes.

Start from the center of your bloomed grinds and gently spiral outward, then back towards the center while maintaining an even pour rate throughout.

And voila!

You now have delicious homemade Chemex coffee ready to be savored and enjoyed! I personally like to take my time drinking this beauty, to appreciate each nuance of the flavor in the coffee.

Deep Dive:

Cleaning Your Chemex Coffee Maker

Over time, coffee oils and residues can build up in your Chemex, affecting the flavor of your coffee. Regular cleaning ensures that you’ll always get a clean, rich cup.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to keep your Chemex coffee maker spotless:

  1. Empty the Chemex: Remove any used coffee grounds and filters.
  2. Rinse with Hot Water: Fill the Chemex with hot water to loosen any residue, then pour it out.
  3. Use Mild Soap: Add a drop or two of mild dish soap to warm water. Avoid using abrasive or strong detergents as they may damage the glass.
  4. Scrub Gently: With a soft sponge or cloth, scrub the inside and outside of the Chemex, paying attention to the spout and bottom.
  5. Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse out all soap residues with plenty of hot water. Ensure no soapy water remains as it can affect your next brew.
  6. Optional Vinegar Soak: For a deep clean, you can fill the Chemex with a mixture of equal parts hot water and white vinegar. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
  7. Air Dry: Turn the Chemex upside down on a clean towel and allow it to air dry completely before your next use.
  8. Check the Wooden Collar: If your Chemex has a wooden collar, make sure to remove it before any liquid cleaning and wipe it with a damp cloth.

Common Questions About Chemex Coffee

What is Chemex Coffee?

Chemex coffee is a popular brewing method invented in 1941 by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm. The Chemex is an hourglass-shaped device made of high-quality glass, known for its ability to deliver a clean, rich cup of coffee. Unlike other methods, Chemex uses a unique thick paper filter that results in a coffee free from oils and sediments.

Is Chemex like French Press?

While both Chemex and French Press are manual coffee brewing methods, they are quite different in terms of flavor profile and texture. Chemex employs a paper filter, which removes most oils and gives you a cleaner cup. French Press uses a metal filter, allowing more oils and fine coffee particles into the cup, leading to a richer but murkier brew.

Is French Press or Chemex better?

The question of whether French Press or Chemex is “better” largely depends on personal preference. If you enjoy a cleaner, lighter cup of coffee, then Chemex is your go-to. On the other hand, if you prefer a full-bodied, robust flavor, you might enjoy French Press more.

Do you need a grinder for a Chemex?

Yes, having a grinder is advisable when brewing coffee with a Chemex. A burr grinder is recommended for consistency, as it allows you to achieve a medium-coarse grind, ideal for Chemex brewing. Freshly ground beans typically yield better flavor and aroma.

What water do I use to make Chemex Coffee?

It’s best to use filtered water heated between 195°F (90°C) and 205°F (96°C) for Chemex coffee. The quality of water plays a crucial role in extracting the optimal flavors from your coffee beans.

What grind size should I use for Chemex coffee?

A medium-coarse grind is ideal for Chemex coffee. Too fine a grind may result in over-extraction, leading to bitterness, while too coarse a grind can under-extract the coffee, making it weak.

What’s best, a Chemex or Aeropress?

Both Chemex and Aeropress have their own unique advantages. Chemex is known for producing clean and aromatic coffee, suitable for those who enjoy savoring their brew. Aeropress, however, is versatile, portable, and quicker, making it a great choice for coffee lovers on the go. Your preference in coffee style will dictate which is better for you.

What size of Chemex should I buy?

Chemex comes in various sizes, ranging from 3-cup to 10-cup models. The best size depends on your daily coffee needs. If you typically make coffee just for yourself, a smaller size might suffice. For households or offices, a larger model would be more practical.

Is Chemex the same as the pour-over method?

Chemex is a type of pour-over method, but not all pour-over methods are Chemex. While they both involve manually pouring hot water over coffee grounds, the unique design and thicker filters of the Chemex differentiate it from other pour-over coffee makers.

What is the difference between a Chemex and a cafetière?

A cafetière, also known as a French Press, uses a plunger mechanism with a metal filter, resulting in a fuller-bodied coffee with more oils and sediment. In contrast, a Chemex uses a paper filter, leading to a cleaner, smoother cup. The choice between the two will depend on your preferred coffee profile.

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