Can I Use Regular Coffee Filters In a Chemex?

Any kind of new coffee maker is an exciting purchase, and a Chemex is no exception. However, can you save money and use regular coffee filters in a Chemex?

Chemex with a coffee filter - use regular coffee filters in a chemex
You can use regular coffee filters in your Chemex

You recently upgraded from your normal pour-over to a flashier Chemex dripper. With time, you realize you have to choose between visits to the mall to buy more filters or to reuse your special Chemex filters

But what should you do when your supply runs out? Can you use regular coffee filters in a Chemex while a new box is on order? 

The answer is yes — but there is more to it. A Chemex is designed in such a way to hold a Chemex filter. However, to cover the niche of the expensive Chemex filters, other companies have developed coffee filters that can fit in a Chemex

Therefore, you do not have to worry about having to look for a Chemex filter to brew your favorite cup of coffee. At the same time, if you can easily access a Chemex filter, the better.

Keep reading to find out the best regular filters to use in a Chemex and why authentic Chemex filters are recommended for a Chemex

This article will also help you learn how to manage coffee brewing in your Chemex, the impact of filters on the taste of your coffee, and more.

The Best Regular Coffee Filter To Use On A Chemex

As stated above, it is possible to use a normal filter in place of a Chemex filter. However, if you want a permanent option, you will need to buy a metal reusable filter.

The recommended metal filter for the Chemex is the Able Kone coffee filter. This stainless steel filter is built to fit a Chemex coffee maker. However, it can fit on any other brewer of your choice. 

The filter fits 6, 8, and 10 cup Chemex coffee brewers. Moreover, the Kone filter has many tiny holes that allow tiny coffee particles and oils through, giving the coffee a richer flavor but also more sediment at the bottom due to less filtration.

Its coffee comes with a taste resembling the French press. Although the quality of coffee brewed by this filter is higher as compared to other regular filters, many coffee drinkers find the coffee from Chemex filters superior.

Purchasing the Abel Kone filter is not enough to experience the delicate and complex taste of coffee from a Chemex. You have to follow some procedures. To start, you will need a good grinder. The coffee used in the Kone filter should be finely ground, as opposed to the coarse grind needed for a French press.

This is because finely ground coffee also acts as a filter. As such, fine particles of coffee linger longer in the basket, interacting with the full flavor of the coffee. Eventually, the coffee drains evenly from all sides of the filter, this helps to achieve a cleaner coffee.

Besides that, when pouring the water, it is recommended that you pour it at intervals of one minute. This allows the ground coffee to be fully wet and bloom. As such, the best extracts of coffee are obtained when water lingers longer in the filter. 

The recommended ratio of coffee to water is 25g of finely grounded coffee to 400g of water. If you do not follow these instructions, you may end up with weaker coffee.

Therefore, if you want to use regular filters on your Chemex, this is the best option. The coffee produced comes closest to that of Chemex coffee.

Why Regular Filters Are Not Recommended For Your Chemex

two stack of coffee filters
Regular filter defeats the purpose of the Chemex

1. Chemex requires a special filter because it makes a specific type of coffee.

Chemex has built a good reputation for producing an incredibly clean cup of coffee. However, the aesthetic features of the Chemex–the glass vessel and wooden handle–have little to do with the quality of coffee brewed. 

As such, the filter is the brewer; it is the secret behind the thin texture of the coffee with an explosive floral taste. 

Therefore, using a regular filter means that you are brewing regular coffee in a glass vessel. If you are to experience the magical flavor of Chemex coffee, you will have to use a Chemex filter with it.

2. The Chemex filter produces the cleanest, most neutral top-notch coffee. 

Unlike other regular filters, this high-quality filter is thicker and unbleached, so the coffee has fewer sediments and leaves a cleaner, more perfect cup as compared to the Abel Kone filter. 

This is precisely the primary purpose of purchasing a Chemex. It, however, can only be achieved by using a Chemex filter.

Chemex Filter - Natural Square - 100 CT
  • Step 1: Fold the CHEMEX filter in half. Then fold in half again, bringing the two corners together. Place your finger between the 3rd and 4th layer and open into a funnel.
  • Step 2: Place the funnel in the top portion of the CHEMEX coffeemaker, with 3 layers on the groove side. The groove is an air vent (and also the pouring spout) and allows air to escape from the lower portion of the coffeemaker, letting the coffee filter
  • Step 3: Put coffee in the filter paper cone. Use one heaping tablespoon per cup of coffee (adjust to personal taste if needed after first brew). Refer to brewing instructions for remaining steps.
  • THICKER: 20-30% thicker than the competition, specialty fiber filter design keep bitter elements, oils, and grounds in their place (and out of your cup)
  • Fits all CHEMEX Coffeemakers except CM-1, CM-1C, CM-1GH

3. Regular filters don't fit a Chemex properly.

Unlike regular filters, the Chemex filter is designed to specifically fit the spout of the glass vessel. Looking at the unique square filter, it has a wing that makes it easier to lift it out with coffee residues after brewing your coffee. This is unlike other regular coffee filters that have been known to collapse when lifted.

 Moreover, the Chemex filter is made of heavyweight paper that keeps it from collapsing into the spout once the ground coffee is fully wet. This, in turn, prevents the percolation of the coffee on the brewing surface.

Therefore, it is quite clear that the quality of coffee from a Chemex paper filter used in a Chemex is unmatchable. However, given your circumstance, there is a plan B–the Kone filter. Do not shy away from the Chemex coffee maker just because of the expensive Chemex filters.

Step To Step Guide For Using A Chemex

Now that you know about Chemex filters and their substitutes, it is important to know how to use a Chemex. In this article, we recognize that there may be first-time users of a Chemex coffee maker. The following is a detailed guide to the brewing process of a Chemex.

Step1: Boil water to 205 degrees in a gooseneck kettle and allow it to settle for 30 seconds.

Step 2: Unwrap your Chemex filter and place it on the spout of the glass body in such a way that the 3-layered side is consistent with the spout.

Step 3: Pour water on the inside of the filter. This ensures it adheres to the glass and that you get rid of the paper taste. Pour out the drained water.

Step 4: Add finely-ground coffee beans into the filter. Regular or espresso beans will work. Shake the setup to allow the grounds to settle.

coffee filters in a chemex
Regular or espresso beans work in a Chemex

Step 5: Set a timer. Start pouring water into the carafe; pour just enough water to wet the coffee. Let the water sit for about 45 seconds before pouring more. This is known as the blooming step of coffee. 

The hot water forces the coffee grounds to release gasses, explaining the bubbles that form at the top and the sweet aroma of coffee.

Step 6: After the first 45 seconds, proceed to pour more water. Be careful not to pour water on the edge of the filter or directly into the center of the filter. In case the level of water rises to the rim of the filter, allow it to drain to the glass beaker. 

Stop pouring water when your timer reads 2:45 minutes

Step 7: Allow the poured water to drain into the beaker. 

Step 8: Once it's all drained into the bottom, it's clean-up time. Remove the Chemex filter and discard it together with the coffee residue. 

To understand the grind size of your coffee, if it takes more than 4 minutes to settle, the grounds were probably too fine. If it takes less than 3 minutes to settle then the grounds may have been too coarse. As such, make the necessary adjustments the next time you use your Chemex.

The Chemex can also be used to make great cold brew coffee. After steeping grounds in water for 20-24 hours, pour through a Chemex to drain out the grounds and enjoy.

Do Different Filters Contribute To The Taste Of The Coffee?

Different filters affect the taste of your coffee; this is not only limited to Chemex filters as mentioned above but to all filters. There are different types of filters, ranging from metallic to paper filters and oxygenated filters. When it comes to taste, filters play the greatest role.

To start, if you are looking for a more natural taste in brewed coffee, then oxygenated coffee filters like the Mellita Oxygen bleached filter would come in handy.

Melitta #2 Cone Coffee Filters, White, 100 Count
  • CONE COFFEE FILTERS: These super premium Melitta cone coffee filters fit all 2-6 cup electric – as well as most 1 cup cone-style pour-over coffee makers. Our filters trap more bitter oils & impurities for a better cup of coffee. Naturally whitened. Chlorine free.
  • ADVANCED DESIGN: Our cone coffee filters feature Microfine Flavor Enhancing perforations that allow the full coffee flavor to filter through & a double crimped filter design to help protect against bursting.
  • QUALITY FILTERS: Our cone, basket and single serve filters are all designed to brew rich, flavorful coffee. They are all compostable & made of high quality paper that won't tear for mess-free brewing.
  • PERFECT BREWING: Our products are designed to provide the perfect brewing experience with a complete selection of cone coffee filters, pour-over coffee filters, basket coffee filters, single serve coffee filters & tea filters.
  • JOIN THE PURSUIT FOR BETTER COFFEE: Melitta is dedicated to providing the ultimate coffee experience with our premium coffee filters, coffee pods, pour-over brewers, coffee makers & premium coffees.

The Hario V60 (see Amazon) made in Japan is known for producing a citrus taste. The Sock Cloth Filter, on the other hand, has been called out for an undesirable wet wool coat flavor. As such, this is one of the poor-quality filters.

Hario V60 Ceramic Coffee Dripper, Size 02, White
  • Durable, ceramic body retains heat to help ensure a constant temperature throughout the brewing cycle.
  • Cone shape helps to better accentuate coffees with floral or fruit flavor notes.
  • Spiral ribs allows for maximum coffee expansion.
  • Large single hole can change coffee taste according to the speed of water flow.
  • Designed and manufactured in Japan

To add to this list is the Melitta Unbleached Natural (see Amazon) which is known for the strongest woody sweetness and the Chemex filters whose floral notes, and natural taste cannot be emphasized enough.

Bottom line, before brewing any coffee, make sure you run water through the filter to get rid of the papery taste first.

The Last Word In Using Regular Filters With A Chemex

It doesn't matter how you like your coffee–there is always a way to make it using whatever you have on hand.

Using a Chemex is no different. Make cloth filters, use cone filters designed for automatic drip coffee makers, buy a coffeesock, or even use folded paper towels as a makeshift filter. 

They will all impart slightly different coffee tastes, but the best coffee will always be the fresh cup you have in your hand!

Can I Use Regular Coffee Filters In A Chemex FAQs

Does the Chemex coffee maker come with mixers?

Chemex coffee makers are sold as a different entity from the Chemex filters. As such, after purchasing your Chemex, you will have to go the extra mile and purchase Chemex filters to use with them.

Where do I purchase a Chemex and Chemex filters?

Chemex and Chemex filters are easily available at coffee shops, especially those that roast their beans or use artisan beans. However, in case you are looking for bigger retailers, you can purchase them from, Wal Mart, Cost Plus World Market, Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They are also available online on Amazon.

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