guide for brewing coffee on the chemex

14 steps to the best coffee in the world.

Items Needed
  • Chemex
  • Fresh-Roasted Coffee
  • Water
  • Stainless Chemex Filter or paper filter (Stainless recommended)
  • A Pot or Kettle to Boil Water
  • Timer
  • Coffee Grinder
  • Scale (preferred)
Capacity of Chemex 8-Cup

Coffee

5-6 tbsp (36 grams)

Water

600 mL and some additional to rinse.
Preparation
  • Clean your Chemex as clean brewing equipment will always make a better cup.
  • For best results use fresh-ground coffee.  The bean traps in flavors and aromas that are released upon grinding.  Grind just before brewing for best results.
  • Goose neck kettles are preferred as they allow precise metered placement of the water into the coffee for maximum extraction of the coffee.
At 3 minutes and 45 seconds your chemex coffee is done brewing
Step 1

Prepare your Chemex brewing equipment.  While we recommend using a stainless steel filter, you may use paper as well.

Measure out your water for your chemex
Step 2

Measure out 600 mL  of water to begin the brew.  Any kind of measuring cup will do.

Weigh out your coffee for your Chemex coffee brew
Step 3

For this brew, we’ll use 36 grams of fresh-roasted coffee.  Fresh roasted is key to getting the worlds best coffee into the cup.  

Boil your water for your chemex brew
Step 4

Pour your water into the kettle for boiling, and set it to boil.  Boiling occurs at 212F, but this is too hot for coffee.  We’ll want 205F for coffee or thereabouts.  Letting the kettle sit for 30 seconds will accomplish this nicely.

Always fresh grind your coffee for your chemex brew
Step 5

Just before brewing, grind your previously weighed out coffee with a burr grinder for best results.  Use a coarse grind setting, or the setting just above the auto-drip setting on your grinder.  If you’re using an inexpensive blade grinder, try and get the grinds around about the size of a sesame seed.  Grinding just before the brew releases aromas and flavors that you just don’t get in pre-ground coffee.  

insert your filter into chemex coffee brewer
Step 6

Place the stainless filter, or the paper filter into your Chemex.  It’s best to use the stainless filter if you have one as it doesn’t retain any flavors or odors.  Some paper filters can leave a paper taste in the coffee.  In either case, place the filter into the Chemex and wet it down with your hot water for a few seconds then discard the extra water from the Chemex.

Pour your fresh grounds into the chemex coffee filter
Step 7

Pour your coarse grinds into the filter and shake the Chemex back and forth to flatten out the grind.

Wet the grounds for steeping for 45 seconds
Step 9 (0 SECONDS - 45 SECONDS)

Let the grounds steep for 45 seconds, 

let the chemex grounds steep for 45 seconds
Step 10 (o sECONDS - 45 SECONDS)

During our first 45 seconds, the grounds will begin to steep and release carbon dioxide (CO2).  This gas will be released when the This step should take place over the first 30 seconds of brewing.  This looks a bit like a brownie baking in the oven.  Note that fresh-roasted coffee will produce a heavy release of CO2, but old and stale coffee will not.  This should be your indicator that your coffee is fresh.  Fresh-roasted coffee is profoundly better, and different than old, stale, store coffee which has been sitting in the bag for 6 months when you get it.  This CO2 bubble is called the “bloom”.  If your coffee fails to bloom, then you’re using old and stale coffee.  See our Craft Roasters Directory for a local craft roaster near you who can provide you with fresh-roasted coffee, or alternatively you can roast coffee at home yourself!  Give it a try, you’re taste buds will thank you.

 
Pour water slowly over your chemex coffee allowing the grounds to steep
Step 11

Beginning at 45 seconds on the clock, and using your goose neck kettle, begin pouring water slowly in circles, radiating out from the center, but avoid pouring the water directly on the center or directly on the edges.  The idea is to saturate all of the grounds and fully extract the coffee.  If the water rises too high in the filter, stop pouring momentarily to give the water time to drain. Continue this pouring until your stopwatch reads 2:45.

At 3:45 MINUTES YOUR CHEMEX COFFEE IS DONE brewing
Step 12

At 3:45, all of you water should be drained.  If this is not the case and your water stays in the filter past this point, then it’s likely your grind was too fine.  Next time try with a coarser grind.  Once the water has fully drained, then you’ll be ready to pour a cup.

Chemex produces a clean very balanced coffee
Step 13

Notice that the filter produces a cleaner cup than in the French Press.  This isn’t a negative, but rather variety or preference.  Try them both, each produces a very nice cup of coffee.  

pour a cup of fresh black coffee
Step 14

Pour a cup and enjoy.  You should find a fresh, clean, smooth cup of coffee.  If you’re using a fresh roast within the last 96 hours, you’ll taste the best coffee of your life.  See our Craft Roaster’s directory if you’d like to find a local or internet coffee supplier.

Author: Shane Lewis

Shane is the founder of the green coffee exporter Old Spanish Main, Ltda. in Bogotá, Colombia, having practiced under the renowned grader & cupper Lelly Espitia. He is a cultivator of a #14 Colombian Cup of Excellence coffee. Shane currently designs & manufactures coffee, cacao & grain roasters with RK Drums.