I recently had a good friend ask me about brewing coffee with a Chemex, and since we haven’t had the chance to share a brew, I thought this Chemex brewing guide might be a not-so-close second to a hands-on demo for her.
Although the process is pretty straight forward, it can be a bit troubling for first-time brewers. Either your coffee grounds are too big, so your brew is a bit weak, or they’re too small so it has a dusty taste, or maybe it straight up tastes like paper. I’ve experience all of these outcomes and whether you’ve tried Chemex before, or you’re a newcomer, I’m certain this how-to will help you achieve the perfect cup of Chemex coffee.
How to Brew Chemex Coffee
What You’ll Need:
- 6-cup Chemex coffee brewer
- square Chemex paper filters
- 50 grams coffee beans
- 650–700 grams water, plus more for rinsing filter
- kettle (this is the one I use, but a gooseneck kettle works really well too)
- grinder (this is the one I use, but a Burr grinder is also great)
- scale (I use this one)
Unfold paper filter so that there are three layers on one side and one layer on the other. Set filter over chemex opening with three-layered area arranged on the side with the pour spout.
Pour just enough water around the inside of the filter to saturate it, let drain, then dump water, and replace filter.
Rinsing the filter helps remove any papery taste and helps to create a seal in the dripper.
Weigh out 50 grams of coffee beans then transfer to grinder and process to a medium coarse ground (slightly smaller than sea salt). Transfer the grounds to filter and give it a gentle shake to even out the grounds.
Too big of grounds and the water will filter too quickly, creating a weak brew. Too small and the water will take too long to filter, which means more contact time between the grounds and water, resulting in a bitter brew. Giving the grounds a gently shake settles them into the filter evenly.
Bring 650–700 grams of water to a boil, remove from heat, and let rest 30 seconds.
Bringing the water to a boil then letting it rest is a surefire way of getting the right brewing temperature without requiring a thermometer.
Pour just enough water over grounds to saturate, then let it sit for 30–40 seconds to allow the grounds to bloom.
Blooming the coffee is an important step in the initial release of gases trapped in the beans. It also helps to release aromas and expand the coffee bed.
Pour remaining water, in three additions (about 200 grams each), over grounds in a circular motion, starting from the center and spiraling out towards the edge of the slurry. Avoid pouring directly onto the filter or in the center. Pause after each addition to allow the water to drip through the filter until nearly empty before adding more.
Pouring in a circular motion ensures even soaking of the grounds.
Allow all of the water to drip through the filter, then discard grounds and filter, and enjoy.