With its sleek design and simple functionality, the Chemex brewer has been a favorite of many coffee lovers.
It’s even a pop-culture favorite, having earned a seat at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and had appearances in some episodes of “Friends,” “Mad Men,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and even a James Bond movie.
Why Brew a Chemex?
So what’s all the fuss about? Developed in 1941 by German inventor Peter Schlumbohm, the Chemex is designed to brew a clean, strong cup of coffee. The design of the brewer and its accompanying paper filter slow down the filtration process just enough so that the hot water and coffee grounds have a little extra time to “mingle” during the brewing process. This slower, more deliberate extraction can create what Chemex calls a “richer flavor” in the cup.
Chemex’s filters are also about 20-30 percent heavier than the average paper filter, so they capture more of the natural oils found in coffee. Whereas a french press (which does not use a paper filter) would produce a thick, full-bodied cup of coffee, the Chemex filters absorb the coffee oils to produce what is often described as a “clean” cup.
(Fun fact: Folding a Chemex filter for the first time can be a bit of a challenge. So, Chemex provides diagrams on its website. See here. )
Watch our Chemex Brewing Process
Our Chemex Brew Recipe in the Video
Yield: About 2 eight oz. cups
Coffee-to-Water Ratio: 1:15
- Place 3 sides of Chemex Filter toward Chemex Spout
- Pre-wet Filter with 195-200 degree F water
- Weigh 30 grams of whole-bean coffee
- Grind coffee on a Medium-Coarse setting
- Pour out Hot Water from Chemex Carafe
- Add Ground Coffee to Pre-Wet Filter
- Slowly Wet all Coffee Grounds with about 60 grams of Hot Water
- Stop Pouring and let Bloom for 30 seconds
- Pour 50 more grams of Water in a Circular Motion, Getting all Grounds Wet
- Wait a few seconds for Coffee to Drain and then Repeat the Above
- Stop Adding water When you’ve poured a total of 450 grams of Water
- Allow Coffee to Drain
- Serve & Enjoy!
Troubleshooting your Chemex Brew
If for some reason you don’t like your Chemex brew, remember you can change a brewing variable to alter its final taste.
Some variables to alter include:
- Your grind-size (If it’s too rich, you might make the grind more coarse. If it’s too sour or weak? Try a finer grind.);
- The coffee-to-water ratio (maybe you don’t want coffee this strong? If not, try reducing the amount of ground coffee you’re using by a few grams. For example, only use about 25 grams of coffee instead of 30);
- The type of coffee you are using (a French roast coffee may over-extract in a Chemex, producing a bitter, burnt taste. If that’s the case, try a lighter roast coffee.. or coarsen the grind on the French roast so that it doesn’t extract as much).
For additional tips on coffee brewing, visit our “Brewing Coffee at Home FAQ’s” on our blog.
Select your Coffee for Chemex Brewing
If you’re ready to start brewing with a Chemex, we recommend starting with one of our Full City roasts. Roasted slightly darker than our Medium roasts, our Full City coffees have been roasted just long enough to produce a sweet, rich flavor profile when you brew on a Chemex.
See here for a list of our Full City roast coffees.