How to Use a Chemex Coffee Maker

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chemex coffee maker

These days, “The Perfect Cup of Coffee” means something different for everyone. For some, the coffee’s purity is more important than anything. Others give priority to sustainable coffee making and manufacturing practices. Then there are those who desire control. They want to tailor everything from the strength to the size to the flavor of the coffee—and then some.

Are you one of those particular drinkers? Then you have to check out this classic coffee maker: the Chemex. Invented by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm back in 1941, the Chemex is a one-piece brewing vessel made of heat-resistant glass. Aside from the wooden holder on the outside, there are no other materials, and nothing else to complicate the coffee-making process.

Also, though looks aren’t everything—especially when it comes to brewing a darn good cup of coffee—the Chemex could be easily confused for a work of art. In fact, it even has its own place at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Clearly, this isn’t your typical coffee machine.

So, does the Chemex Coffee Maker deserve its legendary status? Or is this brewer all form and flair, with little function to warrant the hype?

Coffee in Its Purest Form

Chemex-made coffee is widely considered to make the smoothest and least bitter cup of coffee. Granted, that’s not what everyone wants. Fans of the French press, for example, might miss the thick, creamy body that method provides. But for a light, bright flavor that won’t fill you up too much in the morning, Chemex might be the way to go.

What so many people love about Chemex is that it’s one of the only brewing methods that allows you to taste coffee in its purest form. When using a coffee machine, or even a French press, coffee continuously encounters various machine parts as it is brewed. This can compromise the overall flavor. Aside from the glass container and the expertly-designed filter made to eliminate additional flavors, there is nothing else to influence the taste.

How Do Chemex Coffee Makers Work?

While a pure cup of joe sounds all well and good, people don’t always have time in the morning for anything but throwing a K-cup into a coffee machine. The already time-crunched coffee drinkers out there are probably wondering: “What actually goes into making a Chemex cup, and is it going to add another hour to my morning routine?”

It won’t add another hour, but the Chemex process is more time consuming than many other methods. Still, to get that consistently great cup every time, it’s usually worth it.

How to Make Coffee in a Chemex Coffee Maker

  1. Heat the Water
    Like any other cup of coffee, you’ll need hot water. Start off by heating the desired amount to a boil.
  2. Insert the Filter
    Take a Chemex filter and separate the one-folded side from the three-folded side. Place the three-folded side against the spout.
  3. Choose the Right Grind
    When grinding the beans for Chemex coffee, they should be a little coarser than they would normally be for the drip variety. If making a large amount, use an even coarser grind. (See the different kinds of grinds and why they matter.)
  4. Wet the Filter
    Wet the filter with hot water and swirl the water around to heat the Chemex receptacle. Be sure to empty the filter water prior to adding the coffee grounds in the next step.
  5. Let It Bloom
    The next step is called blooming. Add the grounds to the filter. Pour just enough water to cover them and wait about 30 seconds for the gas to escape.
  6. Continue Watering
    Keep pouring the water in a circular motion until the grounds are fully saturated. Make sure the water level is at least an inch below the top of the receptacle. As you continue to slowly pour, keep the water level just above the grounds until you have the exact amount you need.
  7. Enjoy!
    After discarding the filter, your coffee is ready to enjoy! If the taste doesn’t taste quite right, try adjusting the water-to-coffee ratio in future batches.

Note: To get the most precise cup possible, it’s recommended to use a scale. This helps you not only use the right amount of coffee, but it will also help you adjust the strength of your coffee. Is the coffee too weak or too strong? If you’re weighing out your coffee, you’ll know how to adjust it perfectly—and keep your daily brew consistent.

Should I Try a Chemex Coffee Maker?

So, how much do you really want a cup of coffee that’s going to be perfect every time? Is it worth a couple more minutes of your morning? If so, consider trying the method that has been delighting coffee lovers for decades and get yourself a Chemex Coffee Maker.

When coffee’s natural flavors emerge unscathed into that final cup, there’s no better way to start the day. For true coffee lovers like us, spending a few extra minutes every morning to enjoy an incredibly pure cup of coffee is always worth it.

Carta Coffee prides ourselves on the quality of our coffee, and we highly recommend enjoying it through a Chemex brewer. All of our 100% Kona coffee beans are hand-picked and hand-roasted on our family farm in Hawaii. Order a bag today and taste the Carta Coffee difference in your own home.

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