What Is Chemex Coffee Brewing? Answered

There are many types of coffee makers available on the market and different brewing methods that you can try these days, but what is Chemex coffee brewing? Keep reading to find out.

what is Chemex coffee - barista pouring a hot water to a Chemex
Chemex coffee brewing is the manual preparation of coffee using Chemex

Chemex brewing is the term used to describe the manual preparation of coffee using the Chemex coffee maker. The Chemex coffee maker is a pour-over system composed of an glass shaped like an hour-glass and a unique filter. The official Chemex brand was founded in 1941 and is considered one of the oldest methods to brew coffee. 

The Chemex coffee maker may look like any other coffee maker on the market, but its thick filter makes this coffee maker truly unique. Compared to a standard coffee filter, the Chemex filter is more compact. As the flow of the coffee is regulated, much of the oils and body is removed. It also reduces the water flow that passes through it, which results in a more-developed taste. 

What Is Chemex Coffee and How Does It Taste Like?

Chemex brewed coffee arguably tastes nicer than other coffee makers because of its unique design. Since it is all glass, no funny flavors make their way into your drink. If you want a clean cup of coffee without unwanted flavors, consider using the Chemex coffee maker for your brew.

Chemex coffee is an excellent choice for those who prefer a smoother cup of coffee and don’t have a problem with the coffee having less body. In some ways, Chemex coffee is the opposite of French Press coffee — instead of being thick and heavy, the final brew is extremely clear and bright.

Is Chemex Coffee Maker Better Than Drip Coffee Maker?

Chemex coffee
barista doing the pour over method
Drip coffee

Chemex coffee comes out cleaner and brighter than drip coffee, which is why many people prefer this coffee. This result is because the filter strips the coffee of oils and body.

The drip coffee process requires a standard filter with medium to medium-fine coffee, which allows the flow of water to pass through the coffee more quickly. A standard coffee filter can also remove some sediments and much of the coffee oil, but not as much as a Chemex filter.

A Chemex filter slows down the extraction process and requires the coffee to be coarser. The extraction process takes longer than drip coffee, allowing the flavor to develop more. This is the main reason why the different flavor notes of coffee are more pronounced in Chemex coffee.

You may also be interested in reading our guide on Chemex vs drip coffee maker.

How To Use The Chemex Coffee Maker

If you want to use the Chemex coffee maker for your brew, you will also need the following equipment:

  • Chemex filters. While the Chemex-branded filters are your best option for this, there are slightly cheaper generic versions on Amazon that are just as good.
  • Coffee scoop or scale. Using a coffee scoop will do just fine, but a coffee scale will do wonders!
  • Coffee grinder. The best type of coffee grinder to use for Chemex coffee is a burr grinder. A burr grinder provides a more consistent grind size and flavor than a blade grinder. You may also be interested in reading our guide on the best coffee grinders for home.
  • Gooseneck kettle. A gooseneck kettle provides better control and precision than a standard stovetop kettle. 
  • Coffee beans. Always use fresh coffee beans for your brew.
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03/08/2024 06:14 am GMT


1. Heat The Water

Bring the water to a boil in your gooseneck kettle. Bring the water to 205°F if using a kettle with temperature control.

2. Prepare The Filter

Open the paper filter so there are three layers on one side and one layer on the other. Put the 3-layered side on the spout side of the Chemex coffee maker. 

Pour the heated water over the filter to preheat the vessel and set the filter in place. This process, known as “rinsing,” also removes the paper smell and taste from reaching your coffee. After rinsing, pour out the water.

3. Measure And Grind Your Coffee

Remember that two tablespoons of coffee beans are needed for every six ounces of water. So, to make a 32-ounce Chemex coffee, we will need about ten tablespoons of coffee beans.

coffee powder, ground coffee, coffee beans
Coarse grind is best for Chemex coffee brewing

Grind the coffee beans slightly coarser than drip coffee to absorb the water completely. This grind will give you a cleaner cup of coffee with less sediment when using the Chemex coffee maker.

4. Calculate Your Coffee To Water Ratio

Start with a 1:16 coffee to water ratio — for every 50 grams of coffee in; you will need 28 ounces of water. Your brew should be finished between four and a half to five and a half minutes.

5. Let The Water Cool

When using boiling water, let the kettle cool for 30 seconds after removing it from the heat source.

6. Start Your First Pour

Put the ground coffee into the filter and slowly pour over 200 grams of heated water, starting in the middle and moving outward. It is very important to have a slow and controlled pour.

Next, let the coffee “bloom” — this is the best part! It is the process that saturates the coffee grounds and doubles the weight of the coffee. When the water hits the freshly ground coffee, rainbow-colored bubbles of carbon dioxide are released — that is when coffee bloom occurs. 

The fresher the coffee grounds, the longer the coffee bloom. Let the coffee bloom for about 30 seconds as you enjoy the aroma!

7. Complete Three More Pours

Divide the next three pours into three equal parts. Pour the next round of water in the same way as the first pour — also, use about 200 grams of water. As the coffee drains, keep doing this until your last pour to reach your target weight of 800 grams.

In addition, try not to let the coffee fully drain between pours. Before your next pour, you should be able to see the coffee about one inch from the grounds. If the coffee is draining too fast, then make your grind finer.

8. Remove The Filter

Allow the coffee to finish draining, and then remove the filter.

9. Swirl And Serve

Give the vessel a swirl, pour, and enjoy your Chemex coffee!

What Grind Size Should You Use For The Chemex Coffee Maker?

The filter should ideally handle much of the flow regulation. However, a grind that is too fine will result in the over-extraction of the coffee. The grind size will depend on the serving size and the amount of coffee. 

coffee, grinder, coffee bean-1300181.jpg
Grind size can vary per serving

You should alter the grind until the extraction time takes four and a half to five and a half minutes. A longer extraction time will result in a bitter flavor, which means that your grind must be coarser.

You can use a standard drip grind for a smaller Chemex coffee maker, the 3-cup model. For an 8-cup model, you can use a coarse grind, like you would with French Press coffee. If you plan to use an even larger model of the Chemex coffee maker, the grind size must be much coarser than the previous ones.

What Size Of The Chemex Coffee Maker Is The Best?

The 6-cup or 8-cup model will probably be the most practical for most people. The 6-cup model will be better if you only want to make a single serving. 

I have the 3-cup and the 8-cup Chemex, but they do not use the same filter. The 8-cup model is too much for a single person, so the 3-cup model is better for the amount of coffee I need.

If you are only willing to buy one Chemex model, then choose it according to how much coffee you often brew. For various serving preferences, you can rely on other methods. Just like most other coffee makers, Chemex uses 5-ounce cups, so keep that in mind.

Who Is The Chemex Coffee Maker Best Suited For?

The Chemex coffee maker is best for people who already have some basic coffee brewing tools and love making coffee by hand. Those who prefer bright, clean coffee with subtle flavor will enjoy the taste of Chemex coffee.

Many manual brewing techniques, including the Chemex, are quite cheap — but they still require equipment, including a coffee scoop or scale, coffee grinder, and kettle. Once you have acquired all the equipment, you can use many different brewing methods for a minimal additional cost.

Where To Buy The Chemex Coffee Maker

There are different models of the Chemex coffee maker that you can find on Amazon. It comes in glass-handled, classic wood-handled, or hand-blown versions. The size can vary from 3-cups to 10-cups. Each cup is five ounces.

A Chemex that is hand-blown uses a thicker glass but is more expensive than the other Chemex models. The classic Chemex models are the most cost-effective option as they’re durable and consistent. You may also be interested in reading our Chemex handblown vs. classic guide.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.