Easy Steps to Become a Chemex Pro
The Chemex is a classic and easy way to make your coffee. The Chemex combines a cool retro hipster vibe with some legit coffee #science, resulting in a cuppa that’s clean, bright and frankly just about perfect. Whether you’re sipping alone or with a bunch of friends, Chemex has got you covered.
And the good news… you don’t have to be a coffee nerd to make coffee with a Chemex, but you’ll sure look like a pro. While it requires a little more work than drip coffee, you’ll be savoring a special cup of coffee in no time at all and looking cool while you do
So let’s jump into all things Chemex coffee…
The Chemex Brewer is a manual, pour-over style coffee maker all wrapped up in an hourglass-shaped flask with a cute little spout. The Chemex brewing method is ‘pour-over style’, meaning hot water from a kettle is poured over the grounds in the Chemex filter. The water extracts the coffee-ness from the grounds, then drips down into the Chemex carafe. Totally some hand-made coffee!
In 1956, the Chemex coffee maker was selected by the Illinois Institute of Technology as one of the best-designed items of modern times -We kid you not! Like, up there with calculator watches and Garfield phones! The neck of the hourglass-shaped flask comes adorned with a wooden collar and a leather tie, which makes just the right spot to hold your Chemex when pouring. Oh, and it looks really cool too!
The Chemex also brews a devastatingly brilliant cup of joe.
Funny you should ask - it's because the patented filters are effective at trapping yucky oils, off-flavors, negative aromas and other kinds of bad juju.
It’s why you’ll find so many high-quality coffee companies (like, um, Metropolis) and coffee shops (like, um, Metropolis) that sell Chemex brewers and Chemex filters as part of their product line.
If you’ve been looking into the Chemex (and we’ll go ahead and assume you have since you’re reading this awesome article on the brewer), you’ll probably have noticed that there are different sizes of Chemex models available.
You might ask yourself “self, what size is right for me?”
Funny you should ask…
The smallest Chemex is made to brew just three Chemex cups (at five ounces per cup, weird right?). This works out to only 15 ounces, which isn’t even two cups in the real world. And since most of us drink about 10 to 12 ounces in our giant coffee mugs, this one’s perfect if, like George Thorogood, you drink alone. If you plan to be by yourself, this is the size for you. Or if you have a teensy tiny kitchen cabinet.
But, if you plan to share that delicious coffee, we recommend going for the eight cup Chemex, AKA the 40-ouncer (not really we just made that up).
When you purchase your Chemex, you’ll also need to buy a matching package of Chemex filters.
They’re pretty easy to use. Just be sure to keep the filter in its square shape, shifting one of its outer layers to one side and the three-layered side to press up against the Chemex spout. From there, your Chemex is ready to brew!
Just like with other brew methods (french press, espresso, etc), when it comes to making the perfect Chemex brew, size of the grind matters. While a double shot of espresso requires a powdery fine grind, Chemex brewing works best with a medium size grind (think table salt) in order to ‘capture’ a coffee’s vibrant flavor and mouthfeel.
You’ll also find it’s best to buy fresh, whole bean coffee, then grind your beans right before your morning Chemex. An expert tip for grinding coffee for a Chemex is to use a burr grinder rather than a blade grinder. With a burr grinder you can dial in the fineness or coarseness very precisely to get the most out of your brew.
I DON’T HAVE A SCALE
3-cup Chemex, use 3 ¾ Tablespoons ground coffee.
8-cup Chemex, use 10 level Tablespoons ground coffee.
I DO HAVE A SCALE
3-cup Chemex, 26 grams coffee.
8-cup Chemex, 70 grams coffee
Keeping your coffee equipment clean is key to getting the best flavors from every brew and it goes without saying (or it would but we chose to say it anyway) that this goes for your Chemex too.
After each use, you’ll want to rinse your Chemex with hot water and a little soap to remove any gnarly oils or residue. Rinse thoroughly, or your coffee will taste like ultra Dawn. Chemex is also dishwasher safe (yay!!) if you remove the collar and tie.
Now, let’s jump in to the best part… Chemex brewing.
The Chemex brewer is a total freakin powerhouse, delivering fresh, clean, strong coffee with every brew. Whether you choose the best light roast coffee or a deep, dark roast with a smoky flavor, the Chemex lets you customize your cup of joe to the strength that’s just right for you.
For other brewing methods you’ll love, be sure to check out the Toddy Cold Brew System – the easiest and tastiest way to make cafe-style cold brew at home.