Our Favourite Coffee Brew Method - The Chemex
Using a Chemex for our coffee has been our most coveted brew method in the mornings for the last couple of years now; and although there is a bit of a learning curve, once familiarizing yourself with the process, it becomes a really straightforward and relatively quick way to make enough delicious coffee for yourself (or to share if you’re feeling generous).
We’ve made some micro adjustments over the year or two that we’ve been utilizing primarily the chemex method based on the beans that we’ve picked up etc, but the process that I’ve outlined below is our current and most up-to-date outline. The beans that we use--almost 100% of the time--are from Rosso and are a bit of a lighter roast in comparison to a lot of other grocery store beans that are often purchased for home brew methods (like Kicking Horse, Salt Spring, Starbucks, etc), and that can really make a huge difference in taste when brewing your coffee. We’ve found that lighter roasts are preferred and if you really want to whip up one of Mark and my’s absolute favourite pots of Chemex-brewed coffee, grab a bag of El Rodeo from Rosso, it has been our favourite for the last few months.
Again, this is our method and process of choice, so whether or not it helps you learn the whole process or just adapt and integrate pieces into your own Chemex routine, I hope that you find it helpful if this is something that you’ve been wanting to learn about.
What we use/what you’ll need:
- Chemex (we use the 8 cup one, but we only usually make half of the pot (so 4 cups) every morning; if you're wanting to make more or less, you'll obviously have to adjust the quantities/weight accordingly
- Burr grinder - we use a handheld burr grinder, but are hoping to upgrade to an electric one soon. For a chemex, it’s important to use a relatively coarse ground for your beans, it allows your water to filter through your grinds at the proper speed and also aids in extracting the most flavour from your bean. Every brew method requires various bean coarseness, so chemex is just one where your beans should be pretty coarse
- Chemex filters
- Kitchen scale - this is the one that we own
- Stir stick or any kitchen utensil/spatula (the plastic stick that comes with an Aeropress is great here)
- Coffee mugs
- Kettle - this kettle is an absolute dream (and totally not necessary haha) and it makes the pour over process a breeze with it’s gooseneck design
- Coffee beans - again due to the beans needing to be coarse, it’s important that you start with beans as opposed to using an already ground coffee; it makes a huge difference
1 - Start by weighing out your beans on the scale. We currently are using 28 grams of coffee beans and are grinding that by hand in the burr grinder
2 - Boil your water and place your filter onto the Chemex (with the thicker portion of the filter at the front of the chemex). Once the water is boiled (or if you want to get really technical and/or have the temperature control BonaVita kettle like we do, set your water temperature to hold at 92º), use it to dampen the filter, this is going to take away any residual paper taste. You can also fill up your coffee mug(s) ⅓ of the way full with boiling water to warm them up. Don’t forget to pour out that little bit of water out of your chemex before continuing
3 - Set your Chemex onto the scale and dump in your coarse coffee grinds. Tare the scale to 0.0 and pour in just enough boiling water to cover your grinds. **if you have a scale with a timer you can also start the timer here as you’re going to want to leave that sit for 30 seconds; this is called the Bloom. You can watch your grinds sort of begin to puff up and expand throughout those 30 seconds, letting off any of the gases trapped in the beans
4 - Once 30 seconds are up, slowly begin pouring water over your coffee in a circular motion until your scale reaches 600 grams. Depending on how slowly you’re pouring, you should be able to do it all continuously without going over the edge of your chemex. Once you have all of your water in the neck of the Chemex so the weight is totalling 600g, use your utensil or paddle to keep the grinds off the side of the filter/Chemex and in the water as it’s filtering through.
5 - Once all of the water has gone through the filter, you can remove it, throw it in the garbage or compost, and fill up your mug(s)