Brewing with a Chemex
The Chemex is an iconic coffee brewer and is beloved by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. The Chemex can be found on display in the Museum of Modern Art and often gets featured in the kitchens of movies and television shows around the world. A German chemist by the name of Dr. Peter Schlumbohm invented the Chemex in 1941 shortly after moving to the United States in 1935.
The Chemex in its truest form is an hourglass shaped unibody design made of borosilicate glass with a spout formed into it. When we say it's a unibody design, we mean that it's one piece of moulded glass that you brew into and serve out of; it's your brewer and your server. Originally, they were all hand blown designs (which can still be purchased) but a large amount of the brewers you see around now are moulded glass designs.
The Chemex can come in a range of sizes and designs. It most commonly comes in four brewing sizes; three, six, eight and ten cup options. The most classic design you will see is the hourglass shape with a wooden collar and rawhide tie. The alternative design you will often see is still the hourglass design but with a glass handle rather than the wooden collar. The difference between the two is purely aesthetic. Many people choose to use a Chemex for it's large serving sizes as well as the smooth taste and clarity it provides in your brewed coffee. With Chemex filters being quite a bit thicker than most, it tends to reduce the amount of natural oils that make it into the cup. The Chemex is a very forgiving brewer to make coffee with. It does not require the precision that some other brewers need. That being said, you’re probably here to find out how we recommend brewing with a Chemex!
Here is what we recommend to use when brewing with a Chemex. You’re going to need a grinder. Burr grinders will provide the best results. You’ll need Chemex filters. We recommend the bleached Chemex filters as they carry less papery taste when brewing. It’s handy to use a scale when brewing, this way you can accurately measure out your coffee and water. You’ll need a timer, the one on your phone will do just fine. Last but not least, you’ll need a kettle. We recommend a gooseneck kettle when doing pour-over coffee such as a Chemex. Gooseneck pouring kettles allow you to easily control the amount of water being poured and exactly where you are pouring it. Let’s get into the actual recipe!
Recipe and Instruction
- The recipe we will be using is 41g coffee to 672ml water (1:16.4)
- Take 41g of your coffee and grind it on a medium setting. This should render it to be about the size of crushed sea salt.
- Fill your kettle and bring it to a boil. Once it reaches a boil you’re going to let it rest off the boil for 30-45 seconds.
- Open up your filter and place it in the Chemex making sure that the triple layered side is on the side with the spout. This ensures that the filter will not collapse into the spout and block any necessary airflow while brewing.
- Now you are going to want to liberally wet your filter while it’s in the Chemex. This allows the filter to rinse out most of its papery taste while also pre-heating the Chemex. Don’t forget to dump this water out before you start brewing your coffee. Simply pour the water out the spout while holding onto the filter (so it doesn’t fall out). This water can be poured into the cup you intend to drink from, also allowing it to preheat before serving.
- Place the Chemex onto your scale and add 41g of coffee into the filter.
- You can now tare your scale to zero and start pouring your water.
- Start the bloom phase by pouring 80-90g of water onto the coffee bed. Don’t be afraid to swirl this water around to get all the coffee fully saturated. You will now let this bloom for between 45-60 second.
- When your coffee is done blooming, you are going to add more water by pouring slowly in consecutive spirals working your way from the inside to the outside of the coffee bed (but not pouring onto the filter). Continue this process until you have reached 672g of water in total.
- Aim to be done pouring when your timer gets to about 2 minutes. We want our coffee to be done dripping around 4 minutes.
- Once the coffee comes to a slow drip, you can remove the filter from the Chemex and discard it.
- Give your Chemex a good swirl to make sure everything is evenly mixed together.
- You can now serve up your coffee by pouring it directly into your cup. Don’t forget to dump out the water that was preheating your cup first!
- Last thing that is left to do is to enjoy your deliciously Chronicle brewed coffee!