If you enjoy hiking and you’re looking for something to brew delicious coffee to bring with you, this is not the right place and Chemex is not the right device for you. For that, you just need to read the previous article when I wrote down about the Aergrind of Made by Knock.
If you are instead looking to enjoy a clean cup of coffee while joining a bunch of friend, please read carefully.
A bit of history
In 1941 Peter Schlumbohm invented a brewing method called Chemex. He didn’t focus only on quality but also, he wanted to design something that looked great. Peter patented more than 300 different things but the Chemex was his most successful one (the Chemex is showcased at Moma, the New York Museum of Modern Art) and also the one that is still present today with its unchanged and beautiful design.
The Chemex coffee maker
The Chemex device is basically a single piece of non-porous borosilicate carafe that falls under the category of the pour over method. Its design makes its brewing process a little bit different than any other brewing method. Because of its large hole, the Chemex need a thicker paper filter. This is going to slow down your extraction with a total time that can vary from three to five minutes. But let’s see first the steps of how to brew a chemex coffee maker before drawing any conclusions.
Chemex step by step
- Heat up the water inside the kettle until it reaches 93 degrees. While waiting to reach the right temperature, weigh the coffee beans with a scale and grind your dose at a coarse grind setting. It’s recommended to not use tap water but something with the right content of TDS, with a medum pH and the right amount of calcium, magnesium and bicarbonate (around 80-120ppm of Total dissolved solids, 10-20mg/l of calcium, 2-10 mg/l of magnesium) and not more than 80mg/l of bicarbonate). It’s also recommended to use a scale to weigh the coffee and to use a burr grinder to grind it. The grind setting should be a little coarser than the V60 pour over method and a little finer than the French press one.
- Place the filter in the brewing device with the three folds against the spout and rinse it with hot water to eliminate any residue of paper and also to preheat the Chemex vessel.
- Distribute carefully the coffee dose in the paper aiming for a flat surface and then tare your scale.
- Pour the water, around twice the amount of the coffee dose to fully saturate the coffee bed and wait for 30 seconds. This part is called blooming, in which the coffee is increasing in volume thanks to the release of the CO2.
- After the blooming pour all the rest of your water according to your recipe. Because of the thicker filter and your grind size you will need at least two other pour. Wait in between of every single pour but never that much to dry the coffee ground.
- After the extraction is finished pour the coffee and enjoy.
There are several reasons why I have never considered the Chemex as a device that brew delicious coffee. Simply put, as long as you depend from other factors you can’t decide by yourself. There’s no any doubt that the Chemex delivers a super clean cup without sediment because the oils are being removed by the filter. But, one thing’s for sure, we can’t control the wetting process as we can just pour slowly and while we are waiting from a pour to another one, the water is cooling down affecting the brewing process. So, we can’t replicate any recipe, we can’t aim for consistency because any brew will be different from each other.
That’s what I want from the Chemex: just a clean cup to share with friends.
I am an Italian coffee lover that pushed for the love of this “amazing drug” decided to come to London to study about coffee and its different extraction procedures and tastes.