Having a Chemex at your disposal is one of the best investments into your home brewing experience. Almost all of us here at the Well use one of these bad boys at home and at work. When working with specialty coffee it’s a perfect companion in finding those pesky tasting notes everyone is after. This brew method typically offers a more tea-like cup with extreme clarity in flavor. The Chemex is a bit unique in its ability to scale up and down how many cups you’ll be able to make in a single pour. Many other speciality brew methods stick between 8-12 oz pours only, sometimes even less. With a 6-Cup Chemex you’ll be able to scale up to even 30 oz, although we recommend sticking with a lower and more quality tested dose. This guide will be for a 12 oz cup; but if you need to scale up, simply grind a more course dose to balance out the cup.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Brew Time: 3-4 Minutes
Step 1 - Dose and Grind
As for any brew method the amount of coffee will depend on your preferred strength of flavor and the bean density itself. We recommend for a 12oz cup, dose between 24-28g of coffee. The size of the grounds should look about like Kosher salt.
For a better experience make sure to grind right before preparing your coffee. After grinding, your coffee loses it’s specialness rather quickly; so you want to keep your unused coffee in whole bean form and out of the sun.
Step 2 - Wetting the Filter
As any water aficionado can tell you, not all water tastes the same. We definitely agree with that. In fact, your paper filter changes your water taste dramatically. It mostly tastes reminiscent of a sweet glue. We definitely don’t like that taste in our cup, so we recommend fully saturating the filter getting all of those nasty glue tastes out. This also helps warm up your brew method.
Fold the filter with 3 ends resting on the spout of the Chemex leaving a single end in the opposite direction. Keep pressure on the filter as your pour to seal it into its proper place. Discard the filter water without removing the filter by simply pouring. This is also a good time to add hot water to whatever mug you will be using later.
Step 3 - Bloom
Add your pre-dosed coffee to the Chemex and give it a gentle shake to level out the bed of coffee. Make sure your hot water is about 30 seconds off boil or around 204-208ºF. Next is one of the trickier parts. Start your timer and with as little water as possible (generally around 30-40g), wet the bed of coffee making sure that everything is fully saturated.
Most of us start in the middle and spiral out. Watch as the fresh coffee will rise and release the gases created in the roasting process, known as blooming. This allows for many of the not-so-tasty aromatics to purge. Begin on the next step between 30-60 seconds after starting your bloom.
Step 4 - Pour
Now is time for the main event! Start your pour like the bloom by spiraling in and out of the coffee bed. Pour clockwise until you hit a total of 375g on your scale (including bloom), which you will want to hit at about 1:30. Your pour should be as gentle as possible without breaking the stream.
Avoid pouring on the filter as well as pouring too heavily in lightly colored areas of the slurry. Try to give it all an even distribution.
Step 5 - Clean up and Enjoy!
Once the stream of coffee from the filter starts to stutter and the bed is no longer covered with water, remove the filter and discard.
Your timer should read anywhere from 3.5-4.5 minutes depending on the coffee. If your coffee brewed too quickly, make your grind a bit finer. If your coffee brewed too long, make the grind a bit more course. Remove the hot water warming your mug and replace it with your hard work. Enjoy!
Pro Tip: If your coffee tastes sour, it needed more time brewing. If it tastes bitter, it needed less time.