The Chemex was invented back in 1941 by a German scientist named Peter Schlumbohm, and has changed very little since then. Often considered one of the best-designed products of modern times, you could even call it a work of art - a Chemex is on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
What makes the Chemex different than other pour over methods? The coffee only comes in contact with the scientifically designed Chemex filters and non-porous glass, and the filter removes most of a coffee's oils. This yields a sediment-free, clean, bright-tasting cup of coffee.
Tony Auger, roaster and quality assurance technician at Kaldi's Coffee, loves brewing with the Chemex, so we asked him to meet us at our Demun cafe to show us how it's done. Watch the video above, and follow along with the instructions below.
Supplies you'll need (click item to purchase from our online store):
48g of coffee, medium grind
Filtered water at optimal brewing temp of 195 - 205° F
1. Weigh out 48 grams of Kaldi's Coffee (substitute only in a pinch!). Don't be intimidated by the use of a scale - it actually helps you be more precise when making pour overs. No guesswork!
2. Place the filter in the Chemex, with the 3-layered (thicker) side of the filter facing the spout.
3. Rinse the filter with hot water just off a boil. This allows us to eliminate paper taste when brewing our coffee. (If you don't believe us, take a drink of the water that first passes through the filter. It is not good.) We're also preheating the Chemex brewer itself.
4. Discard hot water from the Chemex, and discard any excess water that may be retained under the filter. If you removed the filter to do this, carefully put it back in place now. Note: not everyone removes the filter when discarding the paper water. If you leave it in place, just be sure to remove as much water from the Chemex as possible.
5. In your pouring kettle, add at least 30 ounces of filtered water, heated to the optimal brewing temperature of 195 - 205° F. You can get water to this temperature by bringing it to a boil, and then letting it sit for 30 seconds to a minute. You may also use a thermometer.
6. Grind your coffee using a medium grind setting. It's best to grind recently roasted whole bean coffee, and to do this right before you brew, as you'll be using the freshest coffee possible.
7. Pour the coffee grounds into the Chemex's filter, and tap the Chemex, or gently shake back and forth to flatten out the grounds. This helps to remove air pockets and create a flat surface to work with.
8. Place the Chemex on the scale, and tare it out (zero out the scale). This will allow you to measure how much water you are adding during the brewing process.
9. When you're ready to begin, start your timer and begin pouring water over the coffee grounds. Wet all coffee grounds evenly, and then stop pouring. Use just enough water to fully saturate the grounds (Tony likes to use exactly 72 grams of water).
10. Watch the coffee bloom (degassing = bubbles) for about 30-45 seconds, after which the bubbles will stop forming. This is a great chance to take a sniff - it will smell wonderful.
11. After the bloom, slowly and continuously pour in small circles until you reach 400 grams on your scale.
12. We recommend pausing your pour for about 30 seconds before continuing. This will allow the coffee to settle (and give your arm a break from continuously pouring).
13. Extraction should be complete after 4:15 to 4:45. If it took longer than 4:45, your grind was likely too fine. If extraction took much less than 4:15, your grind was too coarse. Adjust your settings and try again. (Don't be afraid to keep trying new and different variables).
14. Remove the filter and used grounds from the Chemex, remove the Chemex from the scale, and swirl it to ensure coffee integration.
15. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!
16. Discard or compost your used coffee grounds.
This was fun! Unlike most viral Internet videos, we DO encourage you to try this at home. Pick up a Chemex from our online store and start hand brewing your coffee! Or stop by one of our cafes and order a pour over.