A pour-over coffee maker, also known as a Chemex, is an advanced way to prepare your favorite morning beverage.
It’s a method that requires some skill and practice but it’s one worth mastering if you want the perfect cup every single time.
The main differences between a Chemex and other pour-over methods like the French press or AeroPress are its unique design and the fact that it uses gravity instead of pressure to force water through the ground coffee.
This means the ratio of coffee to water can be different than what most people are used to, which adds another level of complexity to the process.
But don’t worry—it’s not hard at all! We’ll show you how to brew a Chemex coffee with ease.
What Is The Difference Between A Chemex And A Regular Coffee Maker?
If you’ve never heard of this type of coffee preparation before, it might seem intimidating at first glance since it has so many variables.
However, once you learn the basics (and we will), it’s easy to get started making great Chemex coffee on your own.
First off, pouring a hot pot of water over freshly brewed coffee isn’t just common sense anymore.
With a Chemex, it’s required by law.
That’s because when you’re preparing a Chemex, you must have a separate vessel where the coffee goes while the water stays in the pitcher.
You then pour the hot water into the jug and let it sit for about 15 seconds, after which you remove the lid and gently place your coffee grounds on top.
Then, you slowly pour the hot water back onto the grounds until they begin to dissolve.
When you see the grounds start to sink down, it’s time to stop pouring and wait for them to settle again.
Once they’ve done this twice more, the grounds are ready to drink.
With a standard drip machine, you’d simply put the grounds directly into the basket and add boiling water.
Pour it over the grounds, wait for the flow to slow a bit, and then enjoy.
In contrast, with a Chemex, you need to carefully control the amount of water that touches the grounds during each step.
To ensure proper extraction, you’ll need to keep track of everything that happens throughout the whole process.
And it gets easier to follow along with our detailed instructions below.
How Do You Make A Chemex Coffee?
To understand the finer points of Chemex coffee preparation, it helps to know exactly how the two parts work together.
Here’s a quick overview of the steps involved in brewing a Chemex cup of joe:
1) Prepare your Chemex coffee maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
2) Add fresh coffee grounds to the Chemex.
3) Fill the pitcher with cold water up to 3/4 full.
4) Place the Chemex on top of the pitcher.
5) Fill the pitcher with hot water from the tap.
6) Wait approximately 15 seconds.
7) After 15 seconds, tilt the pitcher slightly toward the side opposite of where you poured the water.
8) Slowly pour the water back and forth between the pitcher and the Chemex several times until the coffee grounds have settled and sunk to the bottom.
9) Repeat Steps 6–8 three additional times.
10) Remove the Chemex and discard the grounds.
11) Enjoy your new favorite coffee drink.
What Is The Best Grind Size For A Chemex?
In order for your coffee to fully extract flavors and aromas from the grounds, it needs to be evenly distributed throughout the entire mixture.
If you have too little coffee in the jar, then only part of the grounds will contact the water.
Conversely, if you have too much, then even the good stuff won’t come out.
When grinding your own coffee, there are several factors to consider.
First, you want to avoid coarsely crushed beans, which tend to clump together and create pockets where less flavorful liquid seeps out.
Second, you want to choose a grind size that allows enough space between each bean so that the grounds remain suspended in the water.
Finally, you want to go with something that produces a thick foam.
A medium grind works well for these purposes.
How Much Coffee Should I Use For A Chemex?
Once you’ve learned the basic process, you may wonder how much coffee you should actually use.
As mentioned above, the ratio of coffee to water depends on the strength of your brew.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to fill the pitcher halfway and add 2 ounces of coffee per 8 ounces of water.
For example, if a normal cup of drip coffee weighs 5 ounces, you would use 10 grams of ground coffee (or 0.25 ounce).
However, this ratio doesn’t always apply.
If you prefer stronger brews, you could increase the number of grounds by half a gram or one gram per eight ounces of water.
Since the volume of the pitcher changes depending upon whether you’re adding water or coffee, you’ll need to adjust accordingly.
What Is The Brewing Time For A Chemex?
Chemex coffee takes longer to brew than drip coffee does, but it’s still quicker than brewing with a french press.
Depending on the type of coffee and the temperature of the water, the average brew time ranges from 12 minutes to 20 minutes.
However, the length of time needed varies widely based on personal preference.
Some people prefer their coffee strong and bitter, so they brew longer, whereas others like theirs milder and sweeter.
You can speed things up by preheating your water.
Simply heat the pitcher containing the water to near boiling point before starting the actual brewing process.
Then, continue heating the water while waiting for your coffee to finish infusing.
Keep in mind that the preheat time will depend on how long it takes for the water to reach 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius) once you turn it on.
Also, if you plan to serve your coffee immediately, then you should allow plenty of time for the grounds to absorb the heat.
Otherwise, you risk burning yourself.
What Is The Water To Coffee Ratio For A Chemex?
As mentioned earlier, the ratio of coffee to water affects flavor intensity.
Generally speaking, it’s recommended that you use 1 tablespoon of coffee for every 16 ounces (a quarter pound) of water.
Again, this differs based on personal taste preferences.
If you like your coffee extremely acidic, then you can reduce the ratio to 1 tablespoon for every 24 ounces (half a pound) of water.
Or, you could increase it to 1 tablespoon for every 32 ounces (one pound) of water.
How Do You Clean A Chemex?
While cleaning a Chemex isn’t difficult, it is important to take extra care to prevent staining or damage.
To begin, thoroughly wash the Chemex inside and out with warm water.
Next, soak a cloth towel in lukewarm water and wring out excess moisture.
Now, wipe both sides of the bowl and the outside of the pitcher with the damp towel.
Be sure to dry it completely before storing it away.
Finally, remember to replace the rubber seal that covers the spout hole whenever possible.
This prevents dirt and debris from getting trapped inside and causing problems later.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Chemex?
There are several reasons why you should give a Chemex a try.
Perhaps the biggest benefit is convenience.
While it certainly takes some effort to prepare a Chemex cup of coffee, it’s definitely faster than traditional drip coffee-making.
Plus, it’s portable, so you can quickly set up shop anywhere you please.
There’s no need to deal with messy filters or dirty pots and pans either.
Another major advantage is the ability to customize your coffee to suit your tastes.
If you’re looking for something rich and bold without being overly sweet, then Chemex is the way to go.
On the flipside, if you don’t like coffee very strong, then you can dial it back considerably.
Either way, the results are fantastic.
Are There Any Drawbacks To Using A Chemex?
Of course, there are disadvantages associated with using a Chemex.
One drawback is cost.
Not everyone has access to a Chemex, especially those living in small apartments.
Another downside is storage space.
Because the pitcher holds the coffee grounds, it’s impossible to store a Chemex in a cabinet.
Instead, you’ll need to hang it somewhere accessible and preferably out of sight.
Lastly, Chemex users often complain about the smell of coffee left behind on the grounds.
Although this is a minor issue, it can be annoying nonetheless.
Finally, there’s the matter of cleanup.
Unlike drip machines, Chemex brewers require a lot of attention.
Every step involves delicate tasks such as measuring precise amounts of ingredients.
Plus, the grounds contain tiny particles that easily become stuck to surfaces.
Cleanup can be tricky, so it’s probably best to leave the task to someone else.
- 1 Pot
- 1 Chemex
- 34 grams coffee beans light or medium roast
- 520 grams filtered water
- Heat a pot of filtered water to 200 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Weigh out 34 grams of coffee on a food scale, then grind it to a medium coarse grind (about the size of kosher or sea salt).
- Place the filter in your Chemex once the water has been heated (see the video below for exact instructions). Pour in just enough water to wet the filter, then drain it into the sink. Shake the Chemex to evenly distribute the ground coffee.
- Tare the Chemex on the food scale so that the scale reads 0. In a circular motion, slowly pour in 70 grams of water. Then pause for 1 minute to allow the coffee to bloom (you may need to tap your scale once to ensure it does not time out!).
- Then, in two batches, slowly add the remaining 520 grams water, pouring very slowly in concentric circles directly onto the coffee and not touching the coffee filter. Fill to about 1/2 inch from the top, wait for the water level to drop slightly, and then fill to 520 grams.
- After a few minutes, the water will have filtered through the coffee grounds and into the pot below. Remove and discard the filter. Enjoy!