Designed in 1941 and still going strong today, the Chemex is one of the best (and most good-looking) ways to make and serve several cups of filter coffee at once.
Chemist and inventor Peter Schlumbohm created the Chemex taking inspiration from the Bauhaus school of design and from the laboratory equipment, exploring the kitchen–as–laboratory concept. It became so popular that it’s even earned a spot at the MoMA and appeared on numerous films and TV shows, such as James Bond’s From Russia with Love and Friends.
To brew coffee with this beautiful object, you’ll also need filters. We generally find two types of Chemex filter papers: bleached and unbleached. Depending on your taste, you’ll probably like one more than the other (we prefer bleached). For the 3-cup version, they also come flat and need to be folded before use.
Here’s our step-by-step guide (or jump onto this guide’s Frequently Asked Questions):
Method for 36 cup Chemex
• 24 48g of coffee beans
• 400 800g (mL) of just-boiled water ♨︎
• Extra water to rinse the paper filter
ℹ︎: If you don’t have a grinder, that’s OK! You can always use pre-ground coffee, though we recommend freshly ground because it does elevate the flavour of each brew.
♨︎: In our recipes, we measure water in grams because we use scales, and it’s easy to achieve precision this way. However, if you don’t have scales, the conversion is easy: 1g=1mL.
Fold the filter paper, and put it into your Chemex with the thicker side toward the spout. Put filter paper into your Chemex with the thicker side toward the spout.
It’s best to put the thicker side of the filter across the spout so the paper won’t tear. It’s best to put the thicker side of the filter across the spout so the paper won’t tear.
Rinse the paper with hot water, then thoughfully discard it.
Rinsing gets rid of the paper taste, and also pre-warms the Chemex brewer. (It’s a good idea to warm your cups with some hot water too!)
Grind 24g (for 3 Cup Chemex) 48g (for 6 Cup Chemex) of coffee and place it in the filter.
Gently tap the Chemex on the bench to settle the grounds into a flat bed.
Gently pour in 40g (for 3 Cup Chemex) 80g (for 6 Cup Chemex) water, just off the boil.
It helps to pour the water in a circular pattern from the outside of the filter towards the centre.
Stir to make sure all the grounds are wet, and wait 30 seconds.
This initial wait is called the bloom and gives time for the gasses trapped in the coffee to escape.
Pour the remaining water in three batches of 120g (for 3 Cup Chemex) 240g (for 6 Cup Chemex) using a circular motion, until you’ve poured a total of 400g (for 3 Cup Chemex) 800g (for 6 Cup Chemex) including the bloom.
Pour each batch of water in slowly, trying not to disturb the coffee grounds too much.
Once the brew is complete, lift out the filter paper, swirl the Chemex to mix the brew and serve.
A gentle swirl helps mix and aerate the whole coffee brew.
Don’t forget to share with us how it went!