How to: Chemex!

How to: Chemex!

Author: David Leeper

Date: 23/07/15

For me a Chemex is a thing of beauty, you just have to look at the design of the vase and it is easily understood.  As for the drink itself what I love about is that you are actually able to taste the flavours described in the tasting notes. The reason for this is simple, the Chemex filter paper is designed to leave the coffee fats and bitter elements in the coffee grounds, not in your cup. By doing this what happens is that all the body you would associate with an espresso is removed allowing for the flavours to shine through.

To make a Chemex for me has become a ritual which I am happy to share, especially if it gains even more fans.

You will need

Chemex Vase (6cup, yes I’m greedy)

Chemex Filter Paper

21g of Coffee ground medium coarse (if I had to pick I would use a natural processed coffee every time, super sweet and outstanding in bright flavours, mmmmmm nom nom)

350ml water (ideally 85oC)

Goose neck kettle


Timer (extraction time ideally 3:30 but you can go up to 4:00)

coffee chemex


  1. Fold filter into quarter to create a cone shape and put into the Chemex with the thickest part at the spout.
  1. Wet the filter paper with water, this will do 2 things, the first being that it brings the Chemex vase up to temperature and the second  and then discard the water.
  1. Fill the goose neck kettle with 350 ml of water.  I tend to stick to the gold cup ration of 150ml water to 8.25g so you can play around with it if you want to have less.
  1. Put ground coffee in the filter and make a small dent in the middle.
  1. Place the Chemex on the scales and zero them.
  1. Slowly and in a circular motion add 42g of the water, saturating all the grounds and wait 30 seconds.  This allows the coffee to preinfuse or “bloom,” so the desirable coffee elements can be released.  When you do this avoid pouring straight onto the filter paper as the water will slide down the side of the coffee grounds rather than extracting all of them.
  1. Over 30 seconds slowly pour up to 300ml water once again avoiding the sides of the filter paper.  What I tend to do now is allow coffee to extract a little so the water level in the filter decreases.  You will start to see that some coffee grounds have been left up the side of the filter paper meaning that they have not been extracted properly. I will then pour small amounts of water around the paper so that by the end of the extraction my filter paper is clean with all grounds extracted evenly.  Now you may ask “didn’t you say not to do that?” and yes you would be correct.  However what we have in the filter paper now is a pool of water sitting on top of brewing coffee, it will be physically impossible for the water to slide down the sides of a pool of water, instead it will add to the liquid mass sitting on top of the coffee.
  1. Once all 350ml has been poured stir gently 3 times.
  1. Wait till all the water has passed and then remove filter and enjoy!

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