The Chemex coffee maker originated in 1941, and today is still easily one of the best ways to make delicious, simple pour over coffee at home.
Inspired by traditional laboratory items, the Erlenmeyer flask and a glass funnel, the Chemex hasbeen touted as a masterpiece and many coffee connoisseurs swear by them over modern machines.
So, how do you make coffee with a Chemex, and what else is there to know about it before you do? Well, we’re here to explain everything, step by step!
Does a Chemex Really Make Better Coffee?
Chemex is a one form of a pour over method of making coffee, which in general means that water passes through the coffee grounds and a filter from above.
Chemex’s heavy filtering means that the coffee that reaches your lips has been clarified to remove solids and oils, giving the coffee a more pure, smooth flavor.
Many people agree that Chemex coffee is fun and easy to make, tastes a lot better than traditional drip coffee, and results in a much better overall product.
As far as we are concered, the verdict is in! Yes, we believe that a Chemex makes better coffee. Will we drink other coffee? Yes! Do we want to? Nope.
What’s the Difference Between Pour Over Coffee and Chemex?
First things first, to be clear, a Chemex is absolutely a form of pour over coffee making. The difference here is all in the finer details:
- Chemex uses brand specific, thick filters that produce a coffee that has been more thoroughly strained, including the oils.
- Pour over coffee is traditionally made from more standard filters that allow the oils from coffee to make it to your mug.
- Chemex uses coarse coffee grinds due to the thick filters it requires.
- Pour over coffee generally is made with a finer grind.
- Chemex’s stringent filter requirements for the classic results means that the product price is controlled by the company. There are no exact competitors. This makes Chemex higher in price, though still affordable for frequent users. Chemex can be made using alternate filters, but this does change the overall experience.
- Pour over coffee is often brewed using a mesh filter that can be cleaned and reused, making this product more environmentally friendly and less expensive.
- Chemex coffee takes between five to seven minutes to brew
- Generic pour over takes approximately three to five minutes
What’s the Coffee To Water Ratio in Chemex?
Because a Chemex coffee maker produces a light-bodied, smooth brew, it is recommended to follow a 1:10 ratio for a standard cup of coffee.
This equates to 1 gram of coffee per 10 ml of water. You can modify this to suit your preferences – the beauty of making your own cup of coffee is finding exactly what suits you best!
Why Is Chemex Better Than Drip?
Due to the differences in brewing methods between pour over and drip coffees, Chemex is widley considered to make better coffee than the standard drip.
Drip coffee makers generally utilize very thin filters that inherently allow oils and impurities like small grinds to end up in your coffee pot with your coffee.
The coffee is brewed very quickly, which does not extract the full flavor of your coffee grounds. This can make the coffee bitter, less rich, and inconsistent.
Chemex filters and the slow processing time means that all flavors are extracted without the acid content. The coffee tends to be smoother, like tea, while maintaining the unique coffee flavor.
Is Chemex Like French Press?
A lot of people wonder if Chemex coffee is like French press coffee, but the Chemex is not similar to the French press method. The result of brewing Chemex is a bright, light coffee.
French press methods create a full-bodied, strongly flavored coffee. French press is an immersion method in which the beans and water soak for a set amount of time to create the coffee.
This method will result in sediment in your cup, which many people do enjoy. Chemex will give you very different results with no sediment in your cup of joe.
The takeaway – French press coffee results in a stronger, bolder flavor great for people who tend to like full-bodied, rich coffee flavors, even if they have a bite.
The Chemex typically makes a smoother, cleaner, coffee product that is best for people who prefer less bitterness and zest to their final cup of coffee.
Another main difference is cleaning, as the Chemex uses a filter which keeps grounds out of your machine while the French press is loaded with grounds.
Why Is Chemex Popular?
Putting it quite simply, Chemex delivers a consistent, superior coffee product that has survived several decades of changes and still ranks at the top.
One of the reasons it’s still so popular today besides that signature flavor profile is that the vintage yet modern visual appeal is timeless and dresses up a kitchen with a simple, classy flair.
It’s just fun to look at! Which makes it even more fun to use.
The peaceful, relaxing wait for your coffee as you make it from scratch in the comfort of your own home is your little moment of Zen at the start of your day.
How To Make Chemex Coffee
Now that you’ve come to know why you should try Chemex coffee, it’s time to actually take the plunge and try it!
- Gooseneck kettle (a.k.a. pour-over kettle)
- Chemex coffee maker
- Chemex coffee filter
- Measuring spoon
- Cream, milk and/or sweeteners
Step-By-Step Guide To Making Chemex Coffee
- Place the Chemex coffee filter into the Chemex maker. The thicker, layered side should be facing the spout. This allows for the space between the filter and the machine to have the appropriate air flow required for effective filtering.
- Wet the filter with hot water, heated to approximately 200° F. This helps prepare your Chemex prior to brewing by preheating it. This step will really get things moving for you!
- Pour out the hot water, making sure to point in a direction other than toward the spout.
- Place the Chemex with a filter on top of your food scale and zero it out. Add 6 to 8 tablespoons of coffee, or approximately 30 to 40 grams. You can easily adjust this to accommodate your preferences, so just start with the recommendation and alter it as desired.
- Pour some hot water over the grounds in a small, circular motion starting at the center and spreading slowly outward. Do this until just covered and rest for 1 minute to allow coffee to bloom. This step pulls the flavor out of the coffee that will make it to your cup!
- Pour in the remaining water until you’ve added a total of about 520 grams of water, using the scale for assistance. As always, adjust your fluid volume and/or coffee ratios to suit your preferences.
- Allow the coffee to finish dripping, then discard the filter. Clean up is half over with just this step alone! How simple.
- Pour the coffee into your favorite mug and enjoy! Add flavor syrups or try new creamers. Drizzle some honey, sprinkle some cinnamon, or keep it simple and black. The options are endless and the choices are yours!
Best Chemex Brewing Tips
- Pour the hot water in small amounts onto the grounds in circles, avoiding the walls of the brewer.
- Don’t allow the grounds to dry – pour a small amount of hot water at a time to keep the coffee at the ideal heat, creating the best results, but not such a small amount that it doesn’t keep the grounds saturated.
- “Pulse your pour!” This means to drop only a small amount at a time to your Chemex so that each introduction of hot water extracts the flavor profile a little at a time, pulling more through the filter.
- Clean your Chemex thoroughly between use to keep your finished product free from the flavor-tainting build ups and stains that could ruin your brew.
If you’re wondering if Chemex coffee is for you, the answer is yes! It’s for anyone who loves coffee or wants to try a familiar favorite in a different, unique way.