Chemex

The Chemex is one of our favorite brewing methods. Created by a German-American scientist, Peter Schlumbohm, in 1941, its design and patented triple-filters easily make one of the cleanest and most flavorful cups of coffee you can brew. While other pourover methods can be excellent, a Chemex can produce multiple cups of coffee in a single brew, which makes it more versatile.

To brew the very best coffee with a Chemex, you’ll want to purchase a scale. We recommend either a Hario or an OXO. Still, a Chemex will make better coffee than most coffee makers even using less-reliable volumetric measurements (which we will provide further down the page) as long as your water is hot enough and you’re using the official Chemex filters.

Brewing Instructions

(makes 2-3 cups of coffee or 750ml of water)

  1. Place your Chemex on your scale.
  2. Bring a kettle of water to boil.
  3. Fold a Chemex filter into a cone shape. The side of the cone that’s facing the spout should have three layers while the side opposite, should have only one.
  4. Slowly pour some of the boiling water through your filter to dampen it and warm up the Chemex. You may then dispose of this water.
  5. Place 50 grams of medium ground coffee inside the filter. It’s always best if you can grind these yourself — we recommend the Baratza Encore or Bodum Bistro.
  6. Slowly pour 150ml of water onto the ground coffee. Some people prefer to use a gooseneck kettle for this. This is not a necessity. The most important thing is that you pour slowly and evenly. Start at the center of the grounds and slowly pour in a circle that moves to the outside of the grounds. You should cover all of the grounds.
  7. Wait 45 seconds. At this point the coffee should “bloom” if it’s fresh. This is what happens when it expands because carbon dioxide is being released
  8. Slowly pour 200ml of water. Again, slowly and evenly. The most important thing is that you don’t disrupt the grounds and create channels where the coffee can get through more easily as this will lead to under-extracted coffee.
  9. Wait. About ten seconds is good. You’re waiting for the water to pass through to create more room to pour.
  10. Slowly pour 200ml of water. You know the drill.
  11. Wait.
  12. Slowly pour 200ml of water.
  13. Wait.
  14. Drink and enjoy. Careful it may still be hot.

Variations

By weight
You can use similar directions to these with the following proportions:

  • 17 grams — 250ml = 1 cup
  • 34 grams — 500ml = 2 cups
  • 65 grams — 1000ml = 4 cups

By volume
The problem with volume is that it’s not very predictable. Even if you carefully fill a tablespoon exactly the same way every day, it might be more packed with coffee depending on the size of the grind that you put in your scoop. That’s why brewing by weight can consistently make you a better cup of coffee. But, if you’re not looking to complicate things, try one rounded tablespoon of medium ground coffee for every 5 oz (148ml) of water that you brew.