Chemex Brewing Guide
The Chemex is a historical piece of brewing equipment. It was invented in 1941 by Peter
Schlumbohm and was so revered that it was placed into the Museum of Modern Art in New York
City. It uses proprietary filters, made of chemically bonded paper (of thicker-gauge paper than
the usual paper filters for a drip-method coffeemaker), which removes most of the coffee oils
associated with an immersion brew. It therefore brews and tastes differently than the coffee
brewed with other methods.
Step 1
Weigh out your coffee; it’s
important! We like to use a
1:16 or 1:17 ratio of coffee to
water. For this example, we
will be using 50g of coffee and
800g of water.
Step 2
Grind it coarsely with a
quality burr grinder. (Aim for
the consistency of coarse sea
salt)
Step 3
The square Chemex filters are folded
so that it is four sheets thick. Open the
filter without unfolding it, and place it
into the opening of the Chemex with the
three sheets against the spout side.
Step 4
Paper filters are notorious for absorbing
odors and flavors in storage. They also
have a water-soluble element that
tastes like paper. Rinse about a half
liter of just-boiled water through the
filter. This will rinse the papery taste out
and also serve to preheat the vessel.
Step 5
Pour the rinse water out through the
Chemex spout before you start your brew.
We’ve all made this mistake; save
yourself the redo. You shouldn’t have to
remove the filter for this, but you’ll want to
do it slowly so as to not deform the filter.
Step 6
Place the Chemex on the
scale, add the coffee, and tare
out the scale. (You might want
to tare out the scale before the
coffee as well, just so that you
can verify that your dose
hasn’t changed)
Step 7
Using a gooseneck kettle,
quickly add just enough brew
temperature water to cover
the coffee to allow it to degas.
(this should be ~100g)
Step 8
Use a spoon or stirrer of some
sort to agitate twice away from
your body and then twice left to
right. (agitation will quicken the
extraction, so it’s important that
your actions are very precise and
repeatable)
Step 9
Allow the coffee to degas and
bloom for ~35 seconds after your
pour. The timer should reach no
later than 00:45 (This is somewhat
dependent on how fresh your
coffee is, but 35 seconds after
your pour is a good baseline)
Step 10
Start your pour slowly but
consistently, totaling 400g on the
scale by 1:30, then stop. This is just
under 7 grams per second. If you’re
having trouble pacing, a good rule of
thumb here is to pour so that the
stream is falling almost straight down.
Step 11
Wait 15 seconds, then
continue with your pour, adding
200g (total of 600g) by 2:30.
Step 12
Repeat step 10, adding 200g
(total 800) by 3:30. Brewing
should end not later than 5:00.
If the brew takes too long, your
grind is probably too fine. If it
drains too quickly, your grind is
probably too coarse.
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