Brew Guide: Chemex


Beautiful and iconic, the Chemex is my personal go-to brew method. Pro tip: The recipe I'm about to share with you makes the exact perfect amount to have a cup at home, and use the rest to fill up your travel mug to-go. If you can't handle that much caffeine, I guess you could share. 

This particular morning, I was in the kitchen with Abbye McGee (Founder of Salt + Charm) and Fanny Slater (author of Orange, Lavender & Figs), so I decided to share. 

To make a Chemex, you'll need:

We recommend grinding your coffee immediately before use, but if you don't have a coffee grinder at home, you can select your grind preference at checkout. We also recommend weighing your coffee and water for consistency. Other notes: Chemex filters are four-ply. You want to open your filter so that three parts are to one side and one is to the other, then place it in your Chemex so that the three parts face the spout. Also- I often have people new to brewing ask if they really need the timer. Timing your coffee brewing helps your parameters in check! Brew time too fast? Try grinding finer. Coffee not draining quickly enough? Try a little coarser. I aim for a brew time around 4 minutes with a Chemex.

  • Set the variable temperature kettle to 203 degrees, or use water just off boil
  • While the water is heating, grind the coffee
  • Rinse the filter by saturating all parts of the filter and allowing it to drain into the Chemex. Without removing the filter, pour the rinse water out of the spout and discard. This rinse is dual purpose - it removes any papery residue and also pre-heats your vessel.
  • Add coffee to the Chemex, and shake gently to create a level bed of grounds
  • Place the Chemex on the scale and tare
  • Using your gooseneck kettle, bloom the coffee by adding only 100 grams water to the Chemex. Try to pour evenly over the coffee, avoiding pouring straight down the sides or pouring too much in one spot. Most importantly- don't leave any dry spots! 
  • Start the timer
  • Gently swirl the vessel
  • After 30 seconds, pour confidently in a circular motion, starting in the center and moving outwards. Again, avoid pouring directly down the sides and try to saturate the coffee evenly.
  • You don't have to focus heavily on the numbers here, but try to complete the brewing process in three even-ish pours.** Pour about a third of the water, pause and let drain, and repeat until your scale hits 750
  • Allow to drain completely
  • Remove filter and discard
  • Serve directly from vessel

*All grinders are different. On a Baratza Encore, a great starting point for home grinders, I use about a 27.

** If you need the numbers aim for 100 to bloom, 315, 530, 750. 

All photos by Matt Ray Photography

I look forward to coffee with you. 
Disclaimer: This post has some affiliate links in it. I receive a small commission from purchases at no additional cost to the buyer. I only recommend products that I would use and that are of good quality. 


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