You’ll need a few things to achieve maximum tastiness:
- Chemex® (these instructions are for a 6 or 10 cup chemex)
- Chemex Filter
- Swan neck kettle filled with filtered water (a Brita works fine)
- Grinder (burr-style)
- Delicious, freshly roasted whole bean coffee from your friends at Dogwood Coffee
- Timer (your phone stopwatch app works great!)
- Scale with a grams setting
Coffee to water ratios & brew time:
Start with a kosher sea salt-ish grind, and coarsen the grind size the more coffee you’re brewing. It might seem coarser than it should be, especially if you’re brewing a fairly large Chemex, but this is normal! This is where timing your brew really helps! If your coffee brewed too fast, then fining up the grind size is the answer. If your coffee brewed painfully slow, then a slight coarsening of the grind will fix that right up. Make small adjustments to start, and test the results.
If your coffee brews too fast, you’ll probably also experience a thin/watery body, and light, underwhelming, slightly sour flavors. If your coffee brews too slow you’ll experience an increase in the body, but probably some extra bitterness, especially in the aftertaste.
Once you get close to the correct timing, your coffee should be pretty tasty!
** Use a burr grinder! Consistent grind size is one of the most important components to an even extraction and is most easily achieved with a burr grinder. A spice mill style blade grinder will not only give you a variety of particle sizes leading to uneven extraction, it will also be impossible to replicate the grind from brew to brew. Check out the Porlex Mini Mill for an affordable option that's great for travel (and an arm workout!)
Ok, I’ve got all this stuff, now what?
1) Boil your filtered water in your swan neck kettle. The ideal water temperature for coffee brewing is between 195-205F, but since we will be rinsing the filter with boiling water first, there will be just the right amount of time for it to cool down to the proper temperature.
2) While you’re waiting for the water to boil, weigh out your coffee and grind it in your burr grinder. Set aside.
3) Get your filter ready. Open the Chemex filter keeping one layer to one side and three layers to the other. Place the thicker side on the spout side. This will ensure that air can move out of the base of the chemex through the spout, allowing liquid to move in.
4) Now that your water is boiling, remove it from the stove and use it to rinse your paper filter. Rinsing the filter will remove any papery taste, as well as heat up your Chemex. Dump the rinse water out without removing the filter. *Pro Tip: Pour the water out on the opposite side of the spout, the filter will stay in place and the water will leave the chemex quicker because air is allowed in through the spout channel.
5) Place your Chemex on the scale, add the ground coffee and tare your scale to zero. Shake it a little to get a nice flat bed of coffee. Get your timer ready.
6) Start your timer. Pour water slowly onto the coffee until there are no more dry grounds. You’ll want to use double the weight of water to the dose of coffee. (ie: if you’re brewing 20g of coffee, use around 40g of water). You should see the coffee puff up, this is known as the “bloom”. If you don’t see any gas bubbles or any puffing up, it probably means your coffee is on the older side and it has already degassed. Your coffee will be tastiest when it still contains gas, and is nice and lively.
7) After 30 seconds-1 minute (less time for less coffee, more time for more coffee), start pouring slowly to rehydrate the coffee bed. Then pour the rest of the water in a slow, continuous stream in the center of the coffee bed until you have reached the water weight ratio you’re aiming for. You can pour in a circular motion if you’d like, just make sure to focus the pour in the center of the Chemex where most of the coffee is to avoid overextracting particles on the sides. Never pour on the side of the Chemex! It’s ok if you have to pause your pour a couple times so the Chemex doesn’t overflow, just don’t let the coffee bed drain too much in between pulses. An ideal water flow is slow, but constant.
8) When the brewing coffee goes from a steady stream, to drips, your coffee is done! Remove the filter and compost. Give the coffee a little swirl inside the Chemex, and pour it into your favorite mug. Close your eyes, sip, and enter flavor country.
For the portable, simplified version of these instructions, download our Chemex Brew Card.