The Chemex appears more intimidating than its other coffee maker counterparts (the bloom seems to get people), but it’s probably one of the best options out there for making flavorful, rich coffee. Learning how to brew Chemex coffee is the ultimate commitment to quality, because you need to follow the steps pretty closely in order to get the right cup of coffee. Some might say it’s close to an art-form with watching the coffee slowly come together.
When was the Chemex Coffeemaker Invented?
It’s a common idea that history repeats itself. A good example of that is the recent rising popularity of the Chemex coffee maker. We have chemist Dr. Peter Schlumbohm to thank for inventing the Chemex in 1941, a time when percolators were quite popular. He seemed to be looking in to the future when he set out to a coffeemaker that not just made a perfect cup but one that was also just simply beautiful. He took a lot of things in to consideration for the invention, from the chemistry of coffee to the extraction from paper filters to the shape of the coffeemaker.
Does the design remind you of something— possibly 10th grade chemistry class? That’s because part of the design comes from an Erlenmeyer flask see it here if you’re curious! The design manages to combine art and science in a very interesting way. Schlumbohm did such a revolutionary job on the design that the Chemex has been featured at the Museum of Modern Art before, as well as a number of other museums across the United States! It isn’t just pretty either; the Institute of Technology awarded it for its design as well.
How Popular is the Chemex Now?
Third wave coffee shops love a nice Chemex because they produce really clean cups and they extract a little slower because of their thick paper filters. On top of that, they can manipulate the brew in order to get exactly the flavor that they want. The aesthetics might draw a handful of people in too. Still, not even most Starbucks have caught on to the magic of how to brew chemex coffee (maybe we should keep it that way).
Original Chemexes run between $35-$45— depending how large of a carafe you desire. Starter kits are sold on the official Chemex website, but you can also purchase each individual Chemex essential on Amazon— from 3-5 cup carafe, to their 8 cup carafe, a Chemex lid, and more!
Step-By-Step for using a Chemex like a Pro
The chemex takes some more precision, than say a French Press or Aeropress would, but it’s easy to catch on to. Can you get your hands on a scale and a timer? You’re more than qualified how to brew chemex coffee. The following process is adapted from George Howell Coffee for a 6-cup Chemex, so be sure to adjust based on what size Chemex you have.
- You will want a fresh regular grind to get you started. Weigh out 50-57 grams and grind to be just a bit more coarse than that of a drip.
- Warm the kettle. Do so by filling a pour kettle with hot filtered water and rinsing the filter. This water should be discarded!
- Place the Chemex on a scale, with a filter in place.
- Add coffee in to the filter that is in the Chemex, shake to level, then zero your handy coffee scale.
- “Fill your pouring kettle with hot filtered water”
- Time to bloom! You will want that timer for this (along with some precision on your part). Pour 260g of water in 30 seconds. Pour starting in the center, in circles that work your way outward. The goals here is to get an even layer of hot water on the coffee.
- “At 1:00 (minute), pour to 520g of water in 30 seconds”
- “At 2:30 (minute), pour to 780g of water in 30 seconds”
- Coffee will be ready when the timer hits 5 minutes.
- Remove and dispose of the filter.
- Serve from the Chemex! One of the beauties of the Chemex is that it’s a beautiful piece to serve from. There’s even bamboo Chemex trays available for you to store your carafe and filters on— that’ll look good in any kitchen!
We highly recommend getting yourself a scale, as mentioned above! Take a look at our 3 reasons to why a coffee scale will help improve your daily cups of coffee, plus our list of the best coffee scales to get!
Suggested Roast with a Chemex Coffeemaker
There’s just one step we’ve left out, and this one is probably going to happen far before you’re actually using your Chemex. We’re talking roast! The right roast really brings a Chemex coffee to another level.
It turns out that light roasts are the way to go with a Chemex. This roast will not create any overwhelming flavors, and the bloom will bring it to life. A Chemex with dark roast may lead to burnt, savory flavoring.
We also suggest single origin coffees, which means the beans are from one country–rather than being a blend. It makes for a more unique experience, plus the beans are more likely to have grown in conditions best suited for them.
If you are just now diving in to the world of making Chemex coffee, be sure to have a lot of filters on hand just in case your bloom goes a bit wrong. We have faith in you— but better safe than sorry! Make sure that the filter is specifically made for a Chemex, which calls for thicker filters to ensure for a slow brew. Soon nothing will stand between you and the perfect cup of Chemex Coffee!
Learn more about light roast coffee with our article, here!
Thanks for reading our newest guide for how to brew Chemex Coffee. This is definitely a brewing method that’s on the top of our list to perfect. If you have any tips for ensuring a perfect cup of Chemex coffee, drop a comment down below!
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We’ll brew ya later! ☕️