How you should brew using the chemex brew method for a tasty cup of coffee

Chemex and mug

What is a Chemex?

The Chemex brew method is very similar to the Hario V60 method. The main difference being that you’re brewing into a decanter rather than directly into your mug or chosen pouring device. The way in which the two brewing devices are made are different, too, though the method will largely be similar to one another. The V60 is designed for convenience. It’s easy to use, portable, small and nimble and easy to clean. The Chemex is designed using blow glass, has a wooden collar and looks beautiful. But enough about the aesthetics, read on to learn how you can brew your favourite cup using the Chemex.

As always, it’s best to be using coffee beans as they stay fresher. When you decide which beans you’re going to brew with, you need to grind them to a suitable texture. If you’re considering buying beans, you’ll need a coffee grinder. You can read about the different types of grinders and which are the best to buy. Not sure whether you need a blade grinder or burr grinder? We have it covered.

Brewing using a Chemex roughly takes around 4 minutes, depending on how much coffee you brew, of course. This guide is for coffee lovers who are looking to brew the perfect cup, but of course there are quicker methods. For example, using your eye to add coffee and not scales, not timing the brew and not measuring out the correct amount of water beforehand. To really get the perfect brew, we strongly advise following the steps in this article.

The recommended way to brew

You will need Chemex filter papers, weighing scales, stirrer, timer, kettle (preferably a goose neck for more accuracy), burr grinder, approx. 40 grams of coffee beans, 600ml of water and of course, your Chemex. Once you have your coffee and equipment in place, it’s time to start brewing!

  1. Grind your coffee to a coarse-like texture
  2. Add your filter paper to your Chemex and start rinsing the filter with warm water until the paper is highly saturated, discard any remaining water in your brewer
  3. You’ll need approximately 6-8 grams of coffee per 100 grams of water (to work out the water ratios, it’s 1 millilitre of coffee = 1 gram of coffee), once ground, add to your filter paper
  4. Place your Chemex on your scales to measure the correct amount of coffee you’re going to brew with
  5. Tear your scales and start timing once you pour water over grounds
  6. When the coffee bed no longer produces bubbles, add in the remaining water evenly and give a gentle stir, leaving the water to finish dripping through the ground coffee
  7. Enjoy your cup of coffee

So there we have it, a simple step-by-step guide in how you can go about brewing with the Chemex. Different coffee roasters will have their own take on how to brew using a Chemex. It’s important that you find out the method that works for you best. As long as you’re using quality specialty coffee beans, you’re not going to go far wrong. From there, it’s a case of finding out what works for you. If you want to be as accurate as possible and perfect the way you brew, you should follow the steps closely. If you want to save more time and use this method for convenience then you can follow the steps loosely. We do encourage you to find the way that works best for you and your lifestyle.

The origins of the Chemex coffee maker

The Chemex was invented in 1941 by chemist Dr. Peter Schlumbohm and now has become a globally used and favourite for many coffee brewer. Being a chemist, Dr. Schlumbohm understood the extraction of caffeine, which is when he invented the Chemex to get the perfect tasting cup of dark brew.

The Chemex coffee maker hasn’t been recognised only for it’s practical function, but it has also been recognised as a thing of beauty. Made from a single piece of borosilicate glass, wooden collar and a rawhide tie, the brewer has become iconic within the coffee community globally. The Chemex can be found in museums across the world and is in the permanent collection at the Brooklyn MuseumCorning Museum of Glass and MOMA, New York.

Deciding which type of coffee to use

Deciding what coffee to brew when using a Chemex largely goes down to personal preference. However, lighter roasts tend to brew very well as they produce a lot of aromatic flavours. When pouring, you’ll notice the grounds bloom. The reason looking out for the bloom is important, is because it tells you how freshly roasted the coffee is. When the coffee beans are roasted, carbon dioxide gets retained by the beans. Over time, the gas is released and if ground and brewed within this time frame, usually 10 days, you’ll see the bloom effect take place.

Fancy an earthy, chocolatey taste? King Canute is the one for you, rather have something with a bit more complexity and floral notes? Our Lincoln Imp is perfect. At Seven Districts Coffee, we have over seven different coffees to choose from, all being light to medium roasts.

Get brewing!

You have chosen your coffee and you have your equipment at hand. Lastly, enjoy the cup of coffee you have just brewed with your friends.

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