Getting tired of your regular coffee ritual and craving something a bit more unique?
Allow me, your friendly neighborhood barista, to introduce you to the elegance of the Chemex coffee maker.
Its sleek design and ability to whip up a balanced and crisp cup of coffee have earned it adoration among coffee aficionados worldwide. Join me on this comprehensive adventure as we unravel the methodical magic behind brewing exceptional pour-over coffee using a Chemex coffee maker.
- The Chemex is an iconic manual glass coffee maker that closely resembles lab-grade apparatuses.
- Brew essentials include custom-made filters, a reliable scoop/scale, a grinder (preferably burr), a gooseneck kettle for precise pouring control, and fresh coffee beans.
- Brewing with a Chemex involves several precise steps including preheating equipment, proper measuring and grinding of coffee beans, balancing water-to-coffee ratio (1 gram of coffee: 16 grams of water ideal), maintaining optimal pour times, and allowing the coffee “bloom” for a half-minute before subsequent pours.
- The beans’ roast level can greatly alter the final taste of Chemex brewed coffee. From light roasts like Camber Coffee’s Mosaic Blend to darker varieties like Dapper and Wise Coffee Roasters’ Bonfire Blend, each offers a distinct flavor profile.
- Cleaning your Chemex not only preserves its aesthetic appeal but also ensures lasting service and great-tasting brews.
- Unlike other brewing techniques such as Hario V60, AeroPress, or French Press that may vary in complexity, portability, or richness of flavor, the Chemex excels in delivering a clean, smooth cup of coffee that prioritizes balance over intensity.
Who Invented This Coffee Magic?
The Chemex is essentially an iconic manual glass coffeemaker birthed by Peter Schlumbohm back in 1941. Its minimalist yet sophisticated design draws inspiration from lab-grade glass funnels and Erlenmeyer flasks.
Its structure comprises single-piece borosilicate glass complemented by a rustic wooden collar and rawhide tie. The result isn’t just functional but also an aesthetic masterpiece for any kitchen! Sizes vary with 6- and 8-cup versions bagging the most popularity.
Funny fact – while I was in college studying chemistry, the resemblance between my textbooks’ diagrams and Chemex’s silhouette genuinely caught my eye!
What Will You Need?
Before we venture into this exciting brewing process, let’s gear up with all the essentials needed for our epic Chemex adventure:
Chemex Filters: These filters are custom-made for fitting into a Chemex seamlessly. They boast thicker composition – ensuring that extracted coffee is ultra-clean. Yes, there are more affordable alternatives available that do just fine as well!
A Trustworthy Scoop or Scale: A simple scoop should suffice, but if you’re chasing perfection, turn towards a precise scale to measure your coffee-to-water ratio meticulously.
Grinder: Nothing beats the performance of a burr grinder. They provide undeniable consistency in grind size, which is directly proportional to your coffee’s taste. One affordable yet reliable choice is the Baratza Encore.
Gooseneck Kettle: For maximum control and precision during the brewing process, you’ll thank me for suggesting a gooseneck kettle. An electric version can simplify this even further.
Fresh Beans: Fresh beans come with an absolute promise; better taste! Reach out to a renowned local roaster or turn to specialty coffee companies online.
We now have all the gear ready and we’re set for some Chemex action!
Here’s How – A Step-by-Step Guide
Prep Up Your Chemex
Before we brew, let’s make sure our equipment is preheated and our filter prepared to prevent any paperish-taste from making its way into your brewed magic. I remember back in my early days as a barista – I skipped preheating on one super-busy morning and that mishap significantly affected my brew quality. Lessons learned!
Open up your filter paper shaping it so that it forms three layers on one side and has just one layer on another side. Station three layers against the spout area of the Chemex. Proceed by pouring hot water over the filter, giving enough heat to preheat your carafe as well as remove any residual paper odor/taste from your future coffee. Once thoroughly heated up, discard that water.
Measuring & Grinding 101
What follows next is measuring out those desired aromatic beans for tuning them into suitable grinds. In case you’re dealing with a 32-ounce Chemex, aim for roughly 50 grams or around 10 tablespoons.
Using a scale can guard against inconsistent measurements. Grind the selected quantity to achieve finesse similar to good old table salt. This precise size lets extraction hit just right and prepares your cuppa just the way Chemex promises – clean, free of residue.
It’s All About Ratio
Determining an appropriate coffee-to-water ratio is vital for a balanced collaboration between your ingredients. An ideal starting point is the 1:16 ratio, dominated by water. Following this, for those perfect 50 grams worth of coffee, aim for about 800 grams or around 28 ounces of water. A brew time in-between 4 minutes, 30 seconds, and 5 minutes, 30 seconds works wonders.
Let’s Ace This Brew
It’s go-time! Now that we’ve got our Chemex prepared and your coffee measured out, let’s indulge ourselves in the actual brewing journey!
1. Bring it to Boil
Boil up some water in your gooseneck kettle and if you have a regulated temperature option available, tune it up to around 205°F which lays optimum groundwork for extracting flavors from those aromatic grounds.
2. Ready Your Filter
Same as before but now it’ll mark the start of our brewing process. Rinse again with hot water (after having placed the three-layered side against the spout), and toss away the used water.
3. Grind Time!
Watch your coffee scoop/scale deliver the needed amount – around 10 tablespoons or exactly 50 grams if using a regular 32-ounce Chemex. Grind until it resembles a familiar table salt consistency.
4. Achieve Ratio Precision
For a brew that’s well-balanced, start with the exact measurements guided by a 1:16 ratio. For your 50 grams worth of coffee you’ll be needing about 800 grams (or approximately 28 ounces) of water. I would not shy away from experimenting as flavor is largely subjective. Find what suits your taste!
5. Cool it Down
Allow boiling water to rest off the stove for about half a minute to cool down a bit, bringing it closer to optimal brewing temps (around 205°F). Why do we let it sit? The high temperature might lead to over-extraction posing a risk of slight bitterness.
6. Time for the First Pour!
Once coffee grounds occupy their rightful place in the filter, cover them gently by pouring over about 100 grams of hot water starting from the center and moving outwards in a slow, circular motion till you reach the outer rim. It’s gooseneck kettle time! This marks the first out of our total four pours.
7. Experience Bloom
After this pour, the “bloom” phase begins when fresh coffee grounds moistened with hot water release carbon dioxide forming pretty little bubbles known as coffee bloom. Let this process run for about half a minute while soaking in a delightful aroma.
8. Triple Pours
Next up are three pours of water of the same amount to wrap up the entire procedure. Pour these following concentric patterns, beginning at the center and gradually drifting outwards. Pour close to 200 grams of water per pour maintaining a steady speed making sure the coffee bed isn’t completely empty of water between these subsequent pours. Adjust grind size according to how quickly or slowly coffee drains.
9. Discard Filter
Upon complete water drainage through our coffee bed, patiently allow it to finish dripping before carefully lifting and discarding the filter while marveling at your Chemex carafe now housing some freshly brewed coffee!
10. Mix & Serve
Before you’re ready to serve, gently swirl your carafe for a final mix-up of flavors. Now gather around your favorite cups pouring this brilliantly clear brew that brags about its tantalizing aroma leaving us all drooling while looker on – a Chemex-brewed beaut!
Choose Perfect Beans
Different coffees brewed with a Chemex can resonate different flavors! Some suggestions:
Light: Try Camber Coffee’s Mosaic Blend
This introduces bright, tea-like notes just right for an African-originated coffee in your Chemex. You can trace citrus vibes flanked by underwhelming floral hints.
Medium: Onyx Coffee Lab – Southern Weather
If you’ve got fondness reserved for medium-bodied cups you’ll love Southern Weather’s blend crafted by Onyx Coffee Lab, offering balanced harmony with flavors strolling between caramel and chocolate with fleeting fruitiness.
Dark: Dapper and Wise Coffee Roasters – Bonfire Blend
If dark, bold flavors catch your fancy more often than not, turn to Bonfire Blend by Dapper and Wise Coffee Roasters. This blend has been curated with dedication offering deep smoky vibes with gentle sweetness – a candidate for brewing up that unforgettable cup!
Clean Up After
Cleaning your Chemex is as important as brewing coffee in it for longer-lasting service and more delicious brews. Consider following these steps for proper cleaning:
- Rinse using warm water, saving soap for later stages.
- For stubborn stains or residual grounds, use a soft-bristled brush capable of reaching the entirety of the carafe.
- Complete drying off any potential moisture through air-drying or using a lint-free cloth for quicker results. Ensure zero retained moisture before you store it away.
Most Chemex carafes carry the dishwasher-friendly tag but hand washing is my preferred choice to extend the survival of its wooden collar keeping the glass crystal clear.
It’s obvious that Chemex would invite comparison against other well-loved coffee brewing methods. Further along are a few quick matchup points between our hero (Chemex) versus Hario V60, AeroPress, and French Press:
Chemex vs Hario V60
Let’s Talk Price & Design
Within the pricing context, Hario V60 stays slightly cheaper but lacks the compelling design aesthetic Chemex brings to your kitchen with its glassware bravado softened around the edges by the addition of a wooden collar.
Serving Size Matters
If serving a larger group is your aim then Chemex does it better by offering larger 6- and 8-cup models. Hario V60 caters brilliantly for solo servings or small companies – offering sizes like 01, 02, and 03 to better suit individual needs.
It’s All About That Taste
Taste comparison reveals interesting facts. With thicker filters, Chemex pulls up an incredibly clean cup of coffee highlighting smoother shades of taste while Hario V60 trails behind using thinner filters just enough to allow trace oils and sediments to make their way into the brew making it tastier.
Chemex Against AeroPress
The Final Pour
An encounter between the two brings out interesting contrasts, especially in the taste and body departments. Whereas Chemex prioritizes balance while mitigating intricacies in chosen flavors, AeroPress champions intensity capturing more depth within the body of the final brew.
Let’s Hit the Road!
Portable brewing leans more towards AeroPress given its design compactness and lightweight profile complemented by plastic construction making on-the-go brewing possible. Just remember that because of its glass design, a Chemex won’t be as friendly for road trips.
What About French Press?
French press involves a wire mesh filter creating a bolder brew allowing a good portion of oil and sediments to sneak through unlike paper filter assisted pureness Chemex retains
How Clean is Your Cup?
Relying entirely on paper-filter to work around any bitterness often linked with French Press brewed cups, Chemex excels at preparing clear cups gleaming with distinct flavors. In case clarity intrigues you more than anything else, Chemex should be your go-to buddy!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are some other recommended grind sizes for a Chemex brew?
While medium-coarse reminiscent of table salt is generally considered ideal for a Chemex brew, it’s always a good idea to experiment according to personal taste. A slightly coarse grind can add body to the coffee and increase extraction time for deeper flavor, while finer grinds can speed up extraction and yield stronger but possibly over-extracted results.
Is using a Chemex more eco-friendly than other brewing methods?
Yes, generally speaking, using a Chemex could be seen as an eco-friendlier option compared to pod machines or electronic drip brewers. It doesn’t require electricity and all its parts are made of naturally occurring materials – glass, wood, leather. However, the paper filters used with Chemex are disposable which could contribute waste unless they’re composted.
How long does a typical Chemex filter last?
A typical Chemex filter is designed for single use only. Each time you brew a new batch of coffee, you should start with a fresh paper filter to ensure the best taste and avoid contamination from previously used filters.
Let’s Wrap Up
Kudos to making it this far! This marks your successful empowerment with the knowledge required for some skillful brewing using a Chemex.
Remain open to experimenting with bean choices, precise measurements, and pouring styles till you make the most relatable flavors. Find your brew miracle within the simplicity Chemex offers and cherish every sip of your meticulously crafted cup of coffee. Here’s to an enhanced coffee experience with the graceful Chemex!