Refashioned from a German scientist's laboratory, the Chemex brewer perfectly marries Mid-Century Mod sensibilities with sound science. The resulting cup is clean and bright, and it is easily adapted to brewing for a solo cup or a brunch with friends.
Things you will need:
- A Chemex with filters
- A timer
- Something that can pour water with some level of precision
things you will want:
- A scale
- A swan-necked Kettle
- A quality burr grinder
Rinse the filter with hot water, taking care to keep the filter as flush with the brewer as possible. Tradition dictates that the threefold side of the filter rest against the pour spout.
Protip: Dump your rinse water out using the opposite side as the pour spout, thanks to the air gap in the pour spout it comes out quicker and with less fuss than the other way around.
This tutorial is for a Chemex yielding three servings, which calls for 48g coffee to 750 ml water. Grind the coffee into granules the size of kosher salt.
Protip: The same steps can be followed, however with a slightly finer grind, for two servings (32g coffee to 500ml water) or with a slightly coarser grind for four servings in the 8 or 10 cup models (64g coffee to 1000 ml water). If you don't have a scale, you can use roughly 1/4 cup, 3/8 cup and 1/2 cup of whole bean coffee for the 2, 3, and 4 serving versions, respectively).
Spread the ground coffee into the filter, and tamp down the grounds down to ensure that they are evenly distributed in the filter with no air gaps. At this point you should have your timer on hand, as well as your water, just off the boil.
Protip: Without this step, it's possible that you'll have air gaps in your coffee, or between your filter and your brewer, allowing the water to flow through those gaps rather than your coffee and resulting in an unevenly extracted or "channeled" brew.
Start by pouring your just-off-the-boil water onto the grounds. Use around twice your coffee’s dose weight in water (around 100 grams). Allow the bloom to sit for approximately 30 seconds.
Protip: Fresh coffee contains CO2 gas. This step releases that gas, ensuring more even brewing. It also provides a reliable indicator of the freshness of your coffee: No bubbling bloom when the water is added means that your coffee has already started to lose some of its fresh flavors—time to buy more beans!
After the 30-second bloom time is up, begin slowly pouring the water in circular passes around the filter bed. This slow, careful infusion is key to thoroughly saturating the grounds and achieving even extraction.
Slowly pour water until the level of the slurry is approximately 1cm higher than the top of the bloom. Pour one pass and note a change in color at the top of the slurry.
Allow the first pass to settle for a moment, and then pour a second pass. Again, note the change in color.
Three passes is usually enough to get all the grounds completely submerged at the bottom of the slurry. If the coffee were a little older, it might only take two; if it were fresher, it may take four. The goal is to have no grounds floating at the top of the slurry and for the bubbles to start dissipating.
Keep pouring water in an even spiraling motion until the target amount of water has been poured (750g for the mid-sized Chemex).
Allow the water to filter through the bed of grounds—it should take 1-2 minutes to finish dripping. Gazing longingly at the Chemex is optional.
When the brew is finished, you want a flat bed of grounds looking back at you from your filter.
Remove the filter and decant into 3 mugs. Enjoy!