It sounds like a Russian agricultural factory, but actually the Chemex is another piece of must-have coffee-making paraphernalia you really should be making room for in your kitchen (do you need a toaster? No).
As well as looking beautiful, screaming “I am serious about my coffee!” and possibly doubling up as an emergency vase, the Chemex is a great way to combine 2 brewing methods – direct pour and immersion. So what does this mean?? Although you are pouring water “through” the coffee, the denseness of the filter itself holds the water just long enough for you to get a smooth and clean taste, exposing those flavours and profiles your roaster has worked so hard to achieve. The time and attention you are going to put into preparing your coffee makes it a little like a ceremony, making the end result oh-so-worth it.
The Chemex itself is a conical glass vessel used to both brew and serve your coffee, but just like Henry Hoover, Tippex (lost some people there..) and many objects you just can’t do without, its name has now become a verb – so let’s Chemex!
You will need your Chemex, filter papers suitable for the size of the Chemex you have, a pouring kettle (it’s one of those retro, swan-necked things), fresh filtered water. Oh, and coffee – the freshest you can get!
For this guide, we are assuming you have a large Chemex giving you 4 cups, so 60g of coffee for 1l of water is a good starting point, although you will no doubt be experimenting with different amounts of coffee to get your signature cup. Your coffee should be ground to medium coarseness.
- Boil the kettle
- Unfold your filter and place it in the neck of the Chemex. You will then need to pour some of the freshly-boiled water round the sides of the empty filter. As it passes through the filter into the Chemex itself, the water takes any dust or particles of nastiness you don’t want in your cup, and also warms the Chemex vessel, so the mother-in-law doesn’t get a cold cuppa.
- Transfer a litre of freshly-boiled water into your pouring kettle. By this time, the water should be just off the boil, and you won’t scorch the coffee.
- Put your coffee grounds into the centre of the filter and shake to level them out. You will now have to get wiggling, as you slowly pour about 100m of water in a circular motion directly onto the grounds (not down the sides of the filter) to saturate them. Your coffee will now “bloom” as the gases release from the coffee, giving you the tantalising odour of the delights to come!
- 30-45 seconds later continue to pour the rest of the water slowly from your pouring kettle in a spiralling, circular motion onto the coffee. The filter will fill with water and the coffee will drip slowly into the vessel. This stage may take a couple of pours and should take around 2 minutes.
- Allow your coffee to finish brewing (an additional 3-4 minutes) and remove the used filter. Don’t forget those grinds still have a destiny to fulfil – see our blog https://www.stewartscoffees.co.uk/ultimate-coffee-grounds/
- Pour your coffee into a pre-warmed cup, sit down, relax, grin – and enjoy, oh great Chemex-Meister!