How to make Chemex coffee

Chemex coffee is a popular pour-over brewing method that uses a slightly coarser coffee grind to ensure complete extraction through Chemex's thicker paper filter.

If you’re new to Chemex brewing or want to find out where this coffee maker is right for you, read our complete guide to making Chemex coffee:


What is Chemex coffee?

Chemex coffee is a pour-over style brewing method made in the elegant Chemex coffeemaker. With Chemex, water passes through the ground coffee and the Chemex filter, resulting in an extremely clean cup of coffee with great clarity and complexity. 

How does a Chemex coffee maker work?

The Chemex has a distinctive hourglass shape, invented and designed in 1941 by German chemist Peter Schlumbohm. It's a pour-over brewer that consists of a glass flask and funnel-shaped top, using Chemex filter paper on the top part of the brewer. 

The Chemex works by slowly pouring hot water over coffee grounds, enabling brewed coffee to drip through the filter paper and into the flask below.

Sclumbohm's laboratory glass funnel and Erlenmeyer flask (titration flask) inspired his coffee maker, to which he cleverly added an air channel to avoid displaced air escaping too quickly.

  • Flask: The main hourglass body, typically made from borosilicate glass 
  • Neck: The top portion of the body, featuring a larger opening at the top, tapering down to a smaller opening at the bottom where the filter gets placed
  • Filter: The thick bonded cone-shaped paper specifically designed to fit a Chemex
  • Tie: A heat-resistant strip that sits in the middle of the flask body, acting as an insulating grip around the neck
  • Spout: One side of the Chemex neck features a spout for easy pouring 

Chemex coffee brew guide by Odd Kin Coffee

How to make Chemex coffee

The Chemex is a coffee maker that's easy to use and easy on the eyes, offering a great aesthetic and taste for home brewers.

Depending on which model of Chemex you own, you can brew up to 3 - 4 cups of coffee at a time, perfect for enjoying with friends.

Our Chemex brew guide'll show you how to make Chemex coffee in 5 simple steps. We like to use a 1 - 15 coffee-to-water ratio, which means 1g of coffee for every 15g of water.

This Chemex recipe yields 2 cups of coffee, but using the 1 - 15 ratio, you can adjust the ingredients listed to make more or less.

Ingredients

  • 35g speciality coffee beans (Light to medium roast | Pourover grind)
  • 525g fresh, filtered water

Equipment

  • Kettle
  • Scales
  • Chemex 
  • Chemex Paper Filter
  • Timer
  • Mug

Chemex coffee recipe by Odd Kin Coffee Roasters

Method

  1. Boil the kettle and let the boiling water cool for 30 seconds - 1 minute while you prepare your Chemex. Unfold the filter, place it inside the neck of the Chemex and rinse with hot water, discarding the water afterwards.
  2. Place the Chemex on your scales and add 35g of ground coffee. If grinding your coffee at home, aim for a medium-coarse grind size (similar to April or Clever Dripper brewing, with a rough sandy texture). 
  3. Begin with a bloom, slowly pouring 70g of hot water over the coffee grounds to let them saturate evenly. Aim for a bloom time of 30 seconds to release trapped carbon dioxide and unlock the flavour of the coffee. 
  4. Gently pour the rest of the water in concentric circles over the coffee grounds. This gentle circular motion should begin in the centre of the Chemex, working your way outwards with a steady, controlled pour. 
  5. Once the water reaches just below the top of the Chemex body, wait for the coffee to drip through. This tends to take 3 - 4 minutes, so if you find it draining too fast or too slow, adjust your coffee to a coarser or finer grind size. 
  6. After the coffee has drained completely, remove the filter and coffee grounds from the Chemex, then pour the brewed coffee into your favourite mug. Voila! Your coffee is served.

Chemex coffee FAQs

1. How long does Chemex take to make?

The ideal brew time for Chemex is between 3 - 4 minutes, and to achieve this you’ll need to use the correct grind size and pour time. 

  • Too slow? Try a coarser grind or a faster pour time
  • Too fast? Try a finder grind and a slower pour time

2. Can you use fine ground coffee in Chemex?

The best coffee grind for Chemex is medium to medium-coarse, so each coffee particle should be around 0.5mm in size.

As mentioned, you can use a finer grind if your Chemex brews too quickly, but to avoid your coffee becoming bitter from over-extraction, avoid grinding your coffee too fine.

3. What is the best coffee to water ratio for Chemex?

For our Chemex coffee recipe, we recommend using a coffee to water ratio of 1 to 15. So, for 525 grams of water, you’ll need to grind 35g of speciality coffee.

4. What is unique about Chemex coffee?

While the Chemex coffee maker boasts an aesthetically pleasing design, it also has a uniquely designed filter that successfully removes almost all traces of oil from brewed coffee. The result? A superbly crisp cup of Joe.

5. What type of coffee maker is a Chemex?

The Chemex is a manual pour-over style coffee maker. It's brew method shares similarities to the Kalita Wave, Clever Dripper, V60, Melitta and April Pour Over.

6. How to make iced coffee with Chemex?

Making iced coffee with Chemex is a breeze, it can be done in under ten minutes. You can easily adapt our iced filter coffee recipe for your fav pour-over coffee maker, including Chemex. 

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