Don't let the industrial name fool you, the Chemex Coffee brewer is a time tested, elegant and beautifully simple coffee brewer. First, let's cover the long history of this glass, wood and leather contraption.
The CHEMEX® coffeemaker was invented in 1941 by the eccentric chemist Dr. Peter Schlumbohm. Throughout his career he developed over 300 patents, ranging from cocktail shakers to automobiles. His focus was on making everyday objects more functional, attractive and enjoyable to use.
When designing the CHEMEX®, Schlumbohm desired to not only make brewing the perfect cup simple, but also to have the vessel be a thing of beauty. Being a chemist, he studied and understood clearly the chemistry behind the extraction of flavor and caffeine from coffee beans.
It was this knowledge that led him to invent the double bonded CHEMEX® paper filters for a perfect extraction every time. For the carafe, Schlumbohm was inspired by the Bauhaus school of design and non-porous labware that would impart no flavor of its own. Using these elements he fashioned the hourglass shape that has now become an iconic part of American history. Made simply from one piece of borosilicate glass and adorned with a wooden collar and rawhide tie, the CHEMEX® is pure in both form and function. It has been recognized and awarded by both the scientific community as well as the art and design communities. The CHEMEX® can be found in museums throughout the world and is included in the permanent collection at the Brooklyn Museum, Corning Museum of Glass and MOMA, NY.
Holy cow, that's a lot for just a coffee brewer. It's the real deal and it's our favorite brewer for serving dinner parties, special occasions and it's durable enough for brewing every single day. So let's get down to it:
1. Set Up
- The Chemex Brewer of your choice (6, 8 or 10 cup)
- Chemex Filters
- Hot Water - Just off the boil ~ 200 degrees F
- Coffee - Amount per brewer size.
- 6 cup - 36 grams or about 5-6 tablespoons
- 8 cup - 42 grams or about 6-7 tablespoons
- 10 cup - 50 grams or about 7-8 tablespoons
Grind your coffee a bit more coarse than you would for automatic drip brewing and a bit more fine than you would for french press. It should look somewhat like sea salt.
Get your chemex filter ready. If you're using the natural paper squares, look for a fold that separates one fold from the other three as shown above. Insert this corner into the top of your chemex as shown below.
Use a few ounces of your hot water to rinse the filter and pre-warm your Chemex. This gets rid of any loose paper fibers that might be on the filter. Pour your waste water down the sink.
4. Add Coffee
This step is pretty self explanatory. Once you've added your ground and measured coffee, simply give the whole thing a bit of a shake to level off your grounds for more even extraction.
Pour a bit of your water over the grounds, just enough to evenly soak them, then stop! The freshly ground coffee should bloom and expand as the extraction process begins. Allow the coffee to bloom for about 45 seconds before continuing.
Now you can begin pouring your hot water in earnest. Gently cover all the grounds in hot water using a spiral motion to help ensure you soak them all. Stop at the top!
Once the water has gone into the bottom of the Chemex, you can begin pouring again and again until you reach the desired amount of brewed coffee. For each brewer size this will be about:
- 6 cup = 30 ounces
- 8 cup = 40 ounces
- 10 cup = 50 ounces
Note that in the bottom part of the Chemex there is a small button located on the exterior indicating the halfway mark.
The entire extraction process should take about 4 minutes from the time you begin your 2nd pour (after the bloom). If it takes much longer, consider making your grind more coarse next time. If the coffee extracts too quickly, make your grind more fine.
7. Pour and Enjoy!
Remove and dispose of your filter and extracted grounds, pour and enjoy right away!
The wooden handle should be cool to the touch and easy to handle. When you're all done, clean up is easy. Once the Chemex has cooled, you can simply give it a thorough rinse and allow it to air dry. If coffee oils begin to build up, you can use a brush to give it a more thorough cleaning. The glass itself is also dishwasher safe, just remove the leather tie and wood handle before washing.