Let’s talk about Chemex. In simple words it is a coffeemaker. In a bit more technical, it is a pour over technique that uses a percolation method to get you a good quality coffee.
I will admit that I don’t brew with it every day and maybe I should. But simply there are easier methods. Despite that, Chemex remains the most ritual like coffee brewing experience and actually, the quality is really up there.
If this is the first time you are seeing this, you might think chemex is a some sort of a modern art vase or maybe even a lab beaker. And you are almost right. It does look like a modern art piece and it did feature in a lot of TV shows. You could also find it in most American households a few decades ago, but now this is slowly becoming a tool of a coffee artist.
In 1939, a German inventor Peter Schlumbohm has patented Chemex and intended not only to use it for coffee, but also as a lab kit. This has changed upon his inventions popularity after he moved to United States. With clever marketting techniques it started appearing in TV shows and gaining popularity.
And there you have it, another German invention – that is now a modern art. But lets talk about more how this art translates into science.
In front of you is a classic Chemex which has remained unchanged since it was founded with some variations is sizes. Single piece glass, shaped into a beaker made for coffee. Rounded edges with a curve that helps with pouring. But this also comes in handy with another thing.
When you insert you coffee filter, which is made out of 3ply on one side and 1ply on the other, you form a seal. And when the coffee slowly drips into the bottom of the chemex the steam eventually forms an air tight seal. This will subsequently prevent your coffee from entering the chamber and increasing the extraction time. But the curve that you see at the top of the chemex prevents that from happening by allowing the air to escape. Clever.
Another thing is the filter itself. 3ply side goes where the curve is and this reduces the chance of paper adhering to the wall and creating an air tight seal.
This method is truly special and a lot of people get put of by these technicalities, simply by not knowing about them.
But the reality is – there is so much potential and creativity with Chemex that we haven’t discovered yet. We do know how to brew a great cup of coffee or even a cold brew, but what else do we not know.
I will tell you how I do it, but go out there and look at how other people do it. Because more often than not we think we do it better. And we simply don’t know.
This method follows a simple pour over method. Where you pour boiling water over the coffee allowing it to filter through into the chamber.
- I use 6g of beans per every 100g of water.
- My usual cup is about 280ml.
- Since Chemex is a larger volume I use it for at least two people, but you are welcome to do whatever you enjoy.
- 36g of beans (ground to Kosher or Sea salt)
- 600g of boiling water
- Chemex, Filter paper, Scale with a timer.
- First pour of 80g water, let it breathe for 45s
- Continue on with 150g of water each stage until you reach 600g.
- I usually end up with 4-5min brewing time.
I did mention boiling water and I do stick with that. Pour over method is very different to espresso extraction and combination with milk, but when you are pouring – the max temperature it will reach is around 94 degrees. This will quickly start reducing in the chamber. This will not burn your beans – for many reason.
Nobody enjoys cold coffee – so go and enjoy. Thanks for reading.