The Comprehensive Guide: How To Make Chemex Coffee

The Chemex coffee maker is a classic and elegant pour-over brewing device that produces a clean, flavorful cup of coffee. Created in 1941 by inventor Peter Schlumbohm, the Chemex has become a staple in many coffee enthusiasts’ homes due to its simple yet effective design and its ability to highlight the intricate flavors of coffee beans. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the step-by-step process to make perfect Chemex coffee, including understanding the brewing process, selecting the right equipment, and choosing quality coffee beans.

Quick Answer: How To Make Chemex Coffee

  • Place a Chemex paper filter in the brewing cone
  • Rinse the filter with hot water to remove any paper taste
  • Grind fresh coffee beans to a medium-coarse consistency
  • Add the ground coffee to the filter
  • Pour hot water over the coffee in a slow, steady circular motion, allowing the coffee to "bloom"
  • Continue pouring water until the desired amount of coffee is brewed
  • Remove the filter and dispose of the coffee grounds
  • Enjoy your delicious and aromatic Chemex coffee

Now let’s delve into a more in-depth understanding of each step.

Understanding The Chemex Brewing Process

The Chemex brewing process is simple, yet it requires attention to detail to achieve that perfect, flavorful cup of coffee. The unique design of the Chemex, with its hourglass shape and thick filter, allows for a full extraction of coffee flavors, resulting in a clean and crisp brew.

Step 1: Preparing The Filter

Before brewing, it is essential to start by placing a Chemex paper filter in the brewing cone. The Chemex filters are thicker than standard paper filters, which helps in producing a cleaner cup of coffee by trapping fine sediments and oils.

Step 2: Rinsing The Filter

Once the filter is in place, rinse it with hot water to remove any papery taste and preheat the Chemex. Discard the rinse water before proceeding to the next step. This step ensures that the filter doesn’t impart any unwanted flavors to the coffee and helps maintain the brewing temperature.

Step 3: Grinding The Coffee Beans

Freshly grinding your coffee beans is crucial for a flavorful and aromatic cup of coffee. For Chemex brewing, a medium-coarse grind size is optimal. The coarser grind allows water to flow evenly through the coffee bed during the brewing process, resulting in a balanced extraction.

Step 4: Adding The Ground Coffee

Once the coffee beans are ground to the appropriate size, add them to the rinsed filter in the Chemex brewing cone. The amount of coffee used will depend on your desired brew strength. A general guideline is to use 1-2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of water.

Step 5: Pouring The Water

The next step is the most critical part of the brewing process – pouring the water. It is essential to use water at the right temperature, typically between 195-205°F (90-96°C), for optimal extraction. Begin by pouring a small amount of water over the coffee grounds in a circular motion, allowing the coffee to bloom. The bloom is the release of carbon dioxide gas from the coffee grounds, signifying the start of the brewing process.

Step 6: Continuing The Pour

After the coffee has bloomed, continue to pour the water over the grounds in a slow, steady circular motion. This technique ensures an even saturation of the coffee bed, allowing for a uniform extraction of flavors. Take care not to pour too quickly or too slowly, as it will affect the overall brew time and flavor.

Step 7: Removing The Filter

Once the desired amount of coffee has been brewed, remove the filter from the Chemex brewing cone and dispose of the used coffee grounds. The Chemex’s thick filter ensures that the brewed coffee is clean and free of sediments, resulting in a smooth and refined cup.

Choosing The Right Chemex Equipment

To make the perfect Chemex coffee, having the right equipment is essential. Here are the key elements to consider when selecting your Chemex gear:

Chemex Coffee Maker

The Chemex coffee maker is available in various sizes, ranging from 3-cup to 10-cup capacities. It’s important to choose the right size based on your typical serving size and the number of coffee drinkers. The classic hourglass design not only makes the Chemex an elegant addition to any kitchen but also plays a functional role in the brewing process by allowing air to escape from the carafe, which prevents air pockets and promotes a uniform extraction.

Chemex Filters

Opting for the official Chemex bonded filters is recommended for the best brewing results. These filters are thicker than standard coffee filters, which helps in producing a clean and nuanced cup of coffee. Available in pre-folded squares, these filters are designed to fit perfectly into the Chemex brewing cone.

Gooseneck Kettle

A gooseneck kettle is a valuable tool for Chemex brewing, as it offers precision and control when pouring the water over the coffee grounds. The thin and curved spout of a gooseneck kettle allows for a slow and steady stream of water, which is ideal for achieving an even extraction during the brewing process.

Coffee Grinder

Investing in a quality burr grinder is essential for grinding coffee beans to the appropriate coarseness for Chemex brewing. Burr grinders provide a consistent grind size, which is crucial for uniform extraction and optimal flavor development. Ideally, select a burr grinder with adjustable settings to achieve the ideal medium-coarse grind for Chemex.

Digital Scale

Using a digital scale to measure both the coffee and water ensures precision and consistency in your brewing process. Measuring the coffee and water by weight rather than volume allows for accuracy and reproducibility, leading to a more refined and consistent cup of coffee.

Selecting Quality Coffee Beans

Aside from the brewing technique and equipment, the quality of the coffee beans is a significant factor in achieving exceptional Chemex coffee. Here are some key points to consider when selecting your coffee beans:


Opt for freshly roasted coffee beans to ensure the highest quality and flavor. Look for the roast date on the packaging and aim to use the beans within two to four weeks of the roast date for the best flavor and aroma.

Single-Origin Vs. Blend

Consider whether you prefer single-origin or blended coffee beans. Single-origin beans are sourced from a specific region or farm, allowing you to explore the unique flavor profiles of different coffee-growing regions. On the other hand, blended beans offer a harmonious mix of flavors carefully crafted by expert roasters.

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Flavor Profile

Identify the flavor profile that appeals to your preferences. Whether you enjoy bright and fruity notes, chocolatey and nutty flavors, or a balance of acidity and sweetness, selecting coffee beans with a flavor profile that aligns with your taste preferences will enhance your overall coffee experience.

Roast Level

Choose a roast level that complements the flavors you enjoy. Lighter roasts often showcase the nuanced flavors of the coffee beans, while darker roasts offer a bolder and more robust taste. Experimenting with different roast levels can help you discover the nuances of each coffee bean’s flavor potential.

Brewing coffee with a Chemex can be a delightful and rewarding experience, resulting in a flavorful and nuanced cup of coffee that highlights the intricacies of the coffee beans. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide and paying attention to the quality of the equipment and coffee beans, you can consistently create exceptional Chemex coffee at home. Experiment with different coffee beans, grind sizes, and pouring techniques to tailor your brewing process to your taste preferences and elevate your coffee brewing prowess. Enjoy the journey of exploring the art of Chemex coffee brewing and savor the flavorful results with each perfectly brewed cup. Remember, the key to mastering Chemex coffee lies in precision, patience, and a genuine appreciation for the craft of coffee brewing.

Grinding The Coffee Beans For Chemex

Chemex is a beautifully designed manual pour-over coffee maker that not only produces a delicious cup of coffee but also adds an aesthetic appeal to your brewing process. It is known for its thick filters, which produce a clean and crisp cup of coffee with a smooth and velvety texture. Making coffee with a Chemex requires attention to detail and precision, but the effort is well worth the results.

The grind size of your coffee beans plays a crucial role in the taste and extraction of your Chemex coffee. For Chemex brewing, you need a medium-coarse grind to achieve optimal results. The grind size should be slightly coarser than what you would typically use for drip coffee.

Using a burr grinder is highly recommended for achieving a consistent and uniform grind. Blade grinders can result in uneven particle sizes, which can lead to inconsistent extraction and an imbalanced flavor profile. Set your burr grinder to a medium-coarse setting or experiment until you find the perfect grind size.

Remember that the quality of your coffee beans also affects the flavor of your coffee. Choose freshly roasted, high-quality beans for the best results. Avoid pre-ground coffee as it can lose its flavor and aroma quickly.

Water Temperature And Quality For Chemex

The temperature and quality of the water used when brewing with a Chemex are essential factors that influence the outcome of your coffee. The water should be heated to an ideal temperature of around 195°F to 205°F (90°C to 96°C) for optimal extraction.

Using a gooseneck kettle is highly recommended for precise pouring. The narrow spout allows you to control the flow rate and pour water evenly over the coffee grounds.

Furthermore, the quality of the water used is equally important. Ideally, you should use filtered water to remove any impurities and mineral content that may affect the taste of your coffee. If filtered water is not available, opt for fresh tap water. However, avoid using distilled water as it lacks essential minerals that contribute to a good extraction.

Preparing The Chemex Filter

The Chemex filter is an important component of the brewing process. Its thick paper construction removes sediment and oils, resulting in a clean and smooth cup of coffee.

To prepare the Chemex filter:

  1. Unfold the filter along the creased edge so that it forms a cone shape.
  2. Folding the filter over the spout of the Chemex, creating a double layer on one side.
  3. Rinse the filter with hot water to remove any paper residue and preheat the Chemex. This also helps eliminate any papery taste that the filter may impart to the coffee.
  4. Place the filter inside the Chemex, ensuring that the side with the double layer is on the pouring spout side. Smooth the filter against the walls of the Chemex to ensure it sticks and does not collapse during pouring.

Preparing the Chemex filter ensures that your coffee extraction is clean and free from any unwanted flavors or sediment.

Measuring Coffee And Water Ratios

The ratio of coffee to water is crucial for achieving the desired strength and flavor in your Chemex coffee. The recommended ratio is generally 1:15 to 1:17, coffee to water, respectively. However, you can adjust the ratio based on your personal preference.

To measure the coffee and water ratios accurately:

  1. Weigh the desired amount of coffee beans using a digital scale. As a starting point, a ratio of 1:16 is commonly used. For example, if you want to make 500ml of coffee, weigh 31.25g of coffee beans (500/16 = 31.25).
  2. Grind the coffee beans to a medium-coarse consistency, as mentioned earlier.
  3. Place the Chemex on the scale and tare it to zero.
  4. Add the coffee grounds to the Chemex.
  5. Boil the water to the recommended temperature range (195°F to 205°F or 90°C to 96°C).
  6. Start the timer and pour a small amount of water (approximately twice the weight of the coffee) evenly over the coffee grounds. This initial bloom helps release the coffee’s fragrance and flavors.
  7. After 30-45 seconds, continue pouring the remaining water in a slow and controlled circular motion, keeping the water level around one inch below the rim of the Chemex.
  8. Allow the water to drip through the grounds gradually, adjusting your pouring speed to maintain a consistent flow rate.
  9. Once all the water has passed through the filter and the coffee has stopped dripping, remove the filter and discard it.
  10. Serve your freshly brewed Chemex coffee and enjoy!

It’s crucial to note that the extraction time can vary depending on the grind size, water temperature, and pouring technique. Experimenting with different variables will help you find the perfect balance that suits your taste preferences.

Making Chemex coffee is a labor of love that rewards you with a clean and flavorful cup of coffee. By considering the grinding size, water temperature, filter preparation, and coffee-water ratios, you can unlock the true potential of your Chemex brewer.

Remember to prioritize the quality of your coffee beans by choosing freshly roasted beans, and always use filtered or fresh tap water for the best results. With practice, attention to detail, and some experimentation, you'll be able to consistently brew a delicious cup of Chemex coffee that impresses both your taste buds and your guests. So, grab your Chemex, follow the steps mentioned in this guide, and enjoy the world of rich flavors that Chemex coffee has to offer!

Step-by-step Chemex Brewing Instructions

Coffee lovers around the world appreciate the art and science behind brewing a perfect cup of coffee. One method that has gained popularity among coffee enthusiasts is the Chemex brewing technique. The Chemex is a beautifully designed glass coffee maker that not only brews a clean and flavorful cup of coffee but also doubles as a stylish serving vessel.

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Brewing coffee with a Chemex involves a precise and methodical process that delivers a smooth and clean cup of coffee. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you master the Chemex brewing technique:

What You’ll Need

  • Chemex brewer
  • Chemex filter
  • Coffee beans
  • Burr grinder
  • Gooseneck kettle
  • Scale
  • Timer
  • Water
  • Coffee mug

Step 1: Prepping Your Equipment

Start by ensuring that your Chemex is clean and free from any residue or lingering flavors from previous brews. If necessary, give it a thorough rinse with warm water and mild soap. Rinse the Chemex filter thoroughly with hot water to remove any paper taste and place it inside the brewer. The Chemex filter is uniquely designed with a thicker side and a thinner side – make sure that the thicker side is facing the spout for proper flow.

Step 2: Grinding Your Coffee

It’s crucial to grind your coffee beans just before brewing to preserve their freshness and flavor. Use a burr grinder set to a medium-coarse grind size. For Chemex brewing, a grind consistency similar to kosher salt works best. Measure out the desired amount of coffee beans for your brew – a general guideline is 1:15 coffee to water ratio, but you can adjust according to your taste preferences. A digital scale will help you achieve accuracy in your measurements, ensuring consistency in your brews.

Step 3: Heating The Water

Boil the desired amount of water in a gooseneck kettle. The ideal brewing temperature for Chemex is between 195°F to 205°F (90°C to 96°C). If you don’t have a thermometer, allow the water to boil, then let it sit for about 30 seconds before pouring.

Step 4: Blooming The Coffee

Place the Chemex brewer on a scale and tare it to zero. Add the ground coffee into the filter, making a slight indentation or "well" in the center. Start the timer and pour just enough water (approximately twice the weight of the coffee) to saturate the grounds evenly, allowing them to bloom. The blooming process releases trapped carbon dioxide and enhances the extraction process, leading to a more flavorful cup of coffee. Let the coffee bloom for around 30 seconds.

Step 5: Pouring Your Brew

After the bloom, resume pouring the remaining water in a slow, circular motion, making sure to wet all the coffee grounds evenly. It’s important to pour slowly to control the water flow and extract the flavors properly. Pour in small increments, allowing the water level to lower before adding more. Maintain the water level below the top of the Chemex brewer to prevent overflow. Aim to complete the pouring process within three to four minutes.

Step 6: Enjoying Your Coffee

Once you have poured all the water, let the coffee fully drain through the filter. This process may take about three to four minutes or more, depending on the grind size and amount of coffee used. Remove the filter carefully, discard it, and pour the brewed coffee into your favorite mug or carafe. The Chemex’s spout is designed to provide a drip-free pour, ensuring a clean and enjoyable serving experience. Savor the flavors of your freshly brewed Chemex coffee!

Tips For A Perfect Chemex Brew

To further enhance your Chemex brewing skills and achieve a perfect cup of coffee, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Use High-quality, Freshly Roasted Beans

Investing in high-quality coffee beans that are freshly roasted will significantly impact the taste of your Chemex brew. Look for reputable coffee roasters or specialty coffee shops that prioritize freshness and roast their beans in small batches. Experiment with different origins and flavor profiles to find your preferred taste.

Understand The Grind Size

Grind size plays a vital role in the extraction process. A finer grind will produce a stronger and more intense cup, while a coarser grind will result in a lighter and milder brew. Adjust your grind size according to your personal taste preferences and experiment to find the optimal extraction.

Control Your Pouring Technique

Controlling the flow of water during the pouring process is crucial. Use a gooseneck kettle for its precision and control, allowing you to distribute water evenly and avoid pouring too quickly, which can lead to over-extraction. Aim for a gentle and steady pour, focusing on saturating all the coffee grounds evenly.

Experiment With Water Temperature

While the ideal water temperature for Chemex brewing is between 195°F to 205°F (90°C to 96°C), you can experiment with slight variations to achieve different flavor profiles. Lower temperatures can enhance acidity and brightness, while higher temperatures can yield a fuller-bodied cup. Find the temperature that suits your taste preferences.

Pre-wet The Filter

Before adding the coffee grounds, pre-wet the Chemex filter with hot water. This helps to eliminate any papery taste and warms up the brewer, contributing to more even extraction. Discard the pre-wetting water before proceeding with the brewing process.

Practice Consistency And Record Your Brews

Consistency is key to achieving a consistently great cup of coffee. Take notes on your brews, including the coffee-to-water ratio, grind size, water temperature, and brew time. This will enable you to fine-tune your brewing technique and make adjustments based on your preferences.

Beyond The Basics: Experimenting With Chemex

Once you have mastered the basic Chemex brewing technique, you can start experimenting with different variables to create unique and personalized flavors. Here are some aspects you can explore:

Brew Ratio

Adjusting the coffee-to-water ratio allows you to control the strength and intensity of your coffee. Increase the coffee amount for a stronger brew or decrease it for a milder cup. Remember to keep other variables like grind size and water temperature consistent to isolate the effects of the brew ratio.

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Brew Time

The brew time, which includes the bloom time and pouring time, affects the extraction rate and the resulting flavor profile. Experiment with longer or shorter brew times to see how they impact the taste. Keep in mind that extending the brew time may lead to over-extraction and a bitter taste.

Water Quality

The quality of the water you use can greatly influence the taste of your coffee. Experiment with different water sources, such as tap water, filtered water, or bottled spring water, to observe how they affect the flavor. Some regions have hard water, which can result in a mineral taste or buildup in the equipment, so using filtered water might be beneficial.

Brewing Temperature

While the recommended brewing temperature for Chemex is between 195°F to 205°F (90°C to 96°C), some coffee enthusiasts prefer experimenting with variations. Lower temperatures can highlight delicate flavors, while higher temperatures can extract bolder notes. Adjust the water temperature slightly to explore the different profiles.

Coffee Bean Origins

The choice of coffee beans is vast, with different origins offering unique flavors and characteristics. Explore beans from various regions such as South America, Africa, or Asia, and notice how they contribute to the taste. Single-origin beans can provide distinct flavors, while blends offer a harmonious balance of different profiles.

Brewing Device Modifications

While the Chemex is designed to brew coffee in a specific way, you can experiment with modifications to achieve different results. For example, using a metal filter instead of the standard paper filter can yield a fuller-bodied cup with more oils. However, keep in mind that these modifications may require adjustments to other brewing variables.

Cleaning And Maintenance Of Chemex Equipment

Proper cleaning and maintenance of your Chemex equipment are essential to keep it in optimal condition and ensure the longevity of your brewing experience. Here are some tips to help you maintain your Chemex:

Daily Cleaning

After each use, thoroughly rinse the Chemex brewer with warm water. Remove the used filter and discard it. If any coffee oils or residue remain, use a sponge or brush specifically designed for cleaning glassware and gently scrub the interior. Avoid using harsh detergents or abrasive materials that could cause damage to the glass.

Monthly Deep Cleaning

Over time, coffee oils can build up inside the Chemex, resulting in a residue known as "coffee bloom." To remove this buildup, mix a solution of equal parts vinegar and warm water. Fill the Chemex and let it sit for around an hour. Then, rinse the Chemex thoroughly with warm water and allow it to air-dry. The vinegar solution helps to dissolve the oils and maintain the cleanliness of your brewer.

Storing The Chemex

When not in use, store your Chemex brewer in a cool and dry place. Avoid direct exposure to sunlight, as it may cause the glass to degrade or become discolored over time. Consider using a protective cover to prevent dust or debris from settling on the brewer.

Replacing The Filter

The Chemex filter is a disposable item and should be replaced after each use. It’s important to use genuine Chemex filters for optimal performance and flavor extraction. The thick paper filters are specifically designed to remove any undesirable compounds and ensure a clean and smooth cup of coffee.

Protecting The Glass

Although the Chemex glass is durable, it is still susceptible to cracks or breakage if mishandled. To prevent accidental damage, handle the brewer with care and avoid sudden temperature changes. Avoid placing the hot brewer on cold surfaces or exposing it to extreme heat or cold.

Descaling The Kettle

If you are using a gooseneck kettle for Chemex brewing, it’s important to descale it regularly to remove mineral deposits that can affect the taste of the coffee. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for descaling or use a solution specifically designed for kettles. A clean kettle ensures the water you pour onto your coffee grounds is free from any unwanted flavors.


Mastering the art of Chemex brewing is a delightful journey that allows you to explore and appreciate the nuances of coffee extraction. With its elegant design and precise brewing process, the Chemex brewer enables you to create a clean, flavorful, and visually appealing cup of coffee. By following the step-by-step instructions, implementing useful tips, and experimenting with different variables, you can achieve the perfect Chemex brew that suits your taste preferences. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your Chemex equipment will ensure longevity and continued enjoyment of this exceptional brewing method. So, grab your Chemex, some freshly roasted beans, and embark on a coffee brewing adventure that promises to awaken your senses and elevate your coffee experience. Cheers!

FAQS On How To Make Chemex Coffee

What Is A Chemex Coffee Maker?

A Chemex coffee maker is a pour-over brewing device used to make coffee. It consists of an hourglass-shaped glass carafe with a funnel-shaped neck and a thick paper filter.

How Do I Set Up My Chemex?

To set up your Chemex, start by placing the paper filter into the top of the funnel and wetting it with hot water. Then, discard the water and place the funnel on top of the carafe.

What Type Of Coffee Beans Should I Use For Chemex?

Medium to coarse grind beans work best for Chemex as they allow for a slower flow of water and a longer extraction time, resulting in a smoother and less bitter cup of coffee.

What Is The Ideal Water Temperature For Making Chemex Coffee?

The ideal water temperature for Chemex coffee is between 195-205°F (90.6-96.1°C). This temperature range ensures proper extraction of the coffee grounds.

How Do I Pour The Water For Chemex Brewing?

Start by pouring a small amount of hot water over the grounds in a circular motion, making sure to wet all the grounds evenly. Then, continue to pour slowly in a circular motion, making sure to keep the grounds fully saturated until all the water has passed through the filter and into the carafe.