Chemex Brewing Guide
If you're not a coffee snob like us, you may not have heard of a Chemex brewer. Yet, it’s a common rival to the French Press when it comes to coffee making. The Chemex is easy to use and looks pretty atop any kitchen counter. The special Chemex filters are woven much denser than traditional filters, so the coffee comes slower and richer - while unwanted coffee fats get stuck in the filter.
The Chemex is a sophisticated tool with the same build as when it was invented in 1941: a simple glass structure with a wood collar. It’s a delicate and charming piece that will give you a taste similar to drip coffee. Part of the pour-over family of devices, this method is becoming increasing popular with coffee enthusiasts. It’s relatively inexpensive as far as kitchen tools are concerned, and results in a clean, pure, and tasty cup of coffee.
What You’ll Need
German inventor Peter Schlumbohm invented the Chemex, calling it “a synthesis of logic and madness” due to its simplicity and commonsensical qualities. It’s said to be inspired by an Erlemeyer flask, which the German inventor was very familiar with. The Chemex is made of non-porous glass because plastic is known to develop miniscule cracks that can impact the overall brewing quality and taste.
Unlike French Press or automatic coffee machines, there is little difference in quality between different Chemex’ because of their distinctly simple structure. Order from your favorite supply store and you shouldn't have to spend more than $50!
The filters make a big difference when it comes to brewing quality. The Chemex filters are 30% heavier than your regular filter, meaning that it can catch more and result in the cleanest cup. No extra sediment or grinds getting flushed to the bottom, these filters hold up against any coffee grind. They keep out unwanted coffee fats and oils, which keeps the coffee less bitter.
We’ve got you covered on this one. Choose your favorite blend of Amora Coffee to grind and you are ready to go. We offer several blends, from our delicate, fruity Delicata light roast to our smoky Intenso dark roast.
Even though there’s only one OG Chemex (that decision is easy!), there happens to be a lot of grinders on the market. You can try electric, handheld, entry-level, and professional grade. Any one of these will do as long as your Aroma beans are grinded to your liking. However, we recommend purchasing our Amora beans pre-ground, since our grinding process uses top-of-the-line blades to prevent any burning or shredding of the coffee.
Get yourself a gooseneck style pour-over kettle to pair with your Chemex. The kettle is used to pour water atop the ground coffee beans - basically doing what an automatic coffee maker does, but manually. Why go manual? So you, the brewer, can control the amount of water you prefer, which dictates the coffee’s strength and consistency. Here are the Top 5 our friend’s at Eater recommend.
Leave the eyeballing to the next guy - we are going for the best cup of coffee you have ever had. And this takes consistency and accuracy. Buy yourself a small coffee scale to measure out the beans by weight (not volume because the density of bean grinds vary) to get the perfect cup every time.
Get a timer (the one on your iPhone works) and set it for 3-4 minutes.
Chemex compared to Other Methods
Regular ol’ Brewed Coffee
This is probably what you are used to tasting- whether its a single serving machine like the one in your office or an automatic drip machine. Seen across kitchen counters, offices, and teachers lounges everywhere, these tend to be America’s go-to when it comes to home brewing. However, the coffee from these types of machines will be less aromatic or more watery than something on the more niche side - like a Chemex or French Press.
Iced coffee is typically done using an automatic drip, then allowed to cool and add ice cubes!
This style of brewing is more like an espresso shot with water added. For an Americano, you will take super finely ground coffee and put it in an espresso machine that brews it under extreme pressure. For dark roast lovers, this style will give you a smooth, harsh cup.
French Press is more for the pros than an automatic brewer. French Press is intense with flavor, extra dark color, and thick consistency. Coffee is coarsely ground and filtered and “plunged” to get a heavy-body, acidic cup. French Press’ can vary extremely in coffee, and the true coffee enthusiasts may want to invest in a pricier one that's higher quality for a lifetime warranty. Check out our guide on brewing with a French Press here.
Most people make cold brew by mixing coffee grounds with cool water and keeping it in the fridge for 8-10 hours. For a more thorough guide on brewing cold brew coffee, click here.
Chemex Brewing Guide
Let’s go step-by-step through how to use your Chemex at home.
For Best Results
Some tips from us at Amora to get your best Chemex experience.
We recommend using whole bean coffee, like our Elegante blend. If you choose not to buy our pre-ground coffee, we recommend grinding right before you brew to limit the grounds exposure to oxygen. The closer in timing between the grind and brewing process is best for freshness - meaning more aromas and intense flavor.
Use a gooseneck kettle - don’t just heat your water in the microwave or on the stove. The neck is important for the spiral motion of pouring we will discuss during the steps.
Don’t be afraid of the scale! Although eyeballing seems easier, don’t be lazy. Having the right bean-to-water ratio could make all the difference.
Step 1: Heat Your Water
Take out that kettle and get the water on heat, bring to a boil.
Step 2: Place Your Filter
Now it's time to prepare the Chemex for your coffee grinds. Place your filter on the top half of the glass structure, making sure the 3-layered side of the filter is lined up with the spout, and the single fold away from the spout.
Step 3: Rinse Filter
This is important to get rid of the potential papery taste from the dense filter. Just pour some of your boiling water on the filter--no grinds yet--and let it sink down to give it a once-through wash.
Step 4: Weigh Your Coffee
You should be using around 42g-50g of coffee grounds (this is equivalent to around 6 tablespoons).
Step 5: Grind Beans*
Save this step for seconds before you are ready to pour to keep the texture and freshness. This is where you use your grinder. Your grounds should be medium-coarse and the texture of table salt.
*You can skip this step if you buy pre-ground Amora Finely Ground Regular Blend - available in all our flavors (Delicata, Intenso, Elegante, Vigorosi).
Step 6: Pour Water
Start the timer when you add the hot water from the kettle. Pour to your liking until the grounds are completely wet, but not soaked. Make sure to pour in a spiral, evenly distributing the water. This is why you will use a gooseneck kettle to maximize mobility in pouring. Now, stir with a spoon, metal straw, or other similar item to crush any leftover clumps.
Take a 45 second to 1 minute break from pouring to let the water settle into the ground in the filter.
Step 7: Pour More Water
After your 45 second - 1 minute break, the grounds should be saturated, but you will not have a full canister of coffee yet. Start pouring again for another minute or until you fill to the top. Continuing pouring in a spiral motion for even distribution.
Step 8: Fill to the Top
Then watch it settle...
Step 9: Serve & Enjoy!
Now that you know all about Chemex brewing, do you want to find and learn about other delicious types of coffee? Head over to Amora Coffee to discover our delicious coffee and find more how-to guides for creating everything from cold brew to automatic drip!