Daily Grind // The Chemex

Chemex Coffee MakerWelcome to my newest segment! //heehee// Since I’ve been so infatuated with coffee and coffee-makers lately, not to mention the fact that I’ve already written several articles featuring my latest experiences, I’ve decided to make it a regular thing. You know, just whenever I learn something new or feel like sharing photos of my newest coffee-gadget. I plan on discussing the Aeropress a little further (my absolute FAVORITE coffee-brewer) as well the French Press and the Vietnamese Single Drip Filter…

Having a (delicious) cup of coffee is a true delight – and if you love coffee as much as I do, you enjoy the reward of a quiet moment to yourself. The activity, the aroma, the TASTE creates such a peaceful experience that a simple cup of ground up, water-deluded coffee berries can soothe any hectic day. But not just that – The brewing experience itself can be both meditative and relaxing as well. That could be especially true for the Chemex, which is like a baby that cannot be left unattended (in the best of ways!)

Chemex Coffee Maker

You’ll find dozens of methods to brew coffee with the Chemex. You’ll encounter many ‘a coffee connoisseurs that tell you, “ALWAYS pour clockwise” or “ONLY use (insert type here) filers,”… regardless of the legalistic ways to make a simple coffee, the Chemex really isn’t as intimidating as it first may seem… and as long as you use the proper grind and water temperature, you’ll most likely have a decent cup of coffee your first try. So here is a simple guide to go by when using your Chemex..

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  1. Position Filter. Place filter in the cone of the Chemex. I use the Unbleached Chemex Filters (because I think they look cool). Open the filter – One side will have three layers, place the cone of the filter in the top of the Chemex with the thick portion toward the pouring spout.
  2. Rinse Filter. With boiling water, wet the filter (8-12oz. is fine, just enough to rinse the entire filter and remove the paper taste). Tilt Chemex and discard water.
  3. Grind Coffee. You need a well-rounded tablespoon of coffee per 5 oz. of water (approximately). Regular-medium grind is suggested, but I found that my particular grinder (a Mr. Coffee Burr grinder) was a little too coarse set at medium and so my coffee came out too weak for my taste. I’d like to recommend a sand-like texture… but this is where you should experiment to find your own preference. As always, I suggest grinding whole-beans (whether you roast them yourself or store-bought) just before you make the coffee for maximum freshness.
  4. Position Coffee. Place the coffee grounds in the filter and use you finger or a tool to gently flatten the coffee or shake the whole Chemex so that it create an even bed.
  5. Heat Water To 200°F (the perfect brewing temperature). If you do not have a thermometer, heat to a boil and let rest for 10-20 seconds. Pour just enough water into the coffee to barely soak the grinds and let it absorb into the coffee for 30 seconds. This should create what is knows as the “first bloom”.
  6. NOW, Begin The Pour! (you will need something with a lot of pour-control – such as this kettle or the Buono kettle) Do so in a slow, circular manner without touching the filter, allowing the water to somewhat absorb into the coffee (never let the water reach the top of the filter) before you add more. I like to stir the coffee sometime before the final pour, to aggravate the coffee a bit (yes, because I’m a tease like that)
  7. Discard Filter just before the last drip of coffee beads through (to prevent that nasty papery taste again) and toss-out or use in your compost.

* There is a bump on the bottom of the Chemex on the glass – I recently learned that this mark indicates the halfway point of usable volume, meaning you’re almost there! Some have mentioned a “papery” taste to the unbleached filters. I have not noticed this in my coffee at all.

Now, serve and enjoy! I like to add a little warmed milk and caramel to my coffee (take THAT, coffee snobs!) If you are like me and need a visual demonstration, I recommend watching this (very gorgeous) video how-to.

Chemex Coffee Maker