Chemex – the beauty among coffee brewers. You’ve seen it in stores but wondered how you can make filter coffee in it? Matt, our friend and expert barista is telling all you need to be able to make great coffee in this stylish coffee brewer.
Brew your perfect cup of coffee.
Brewing your own coffee is a wonderful way to get a real understanding of how different factors affect the strength and flavor of the drink in your cup. The water quantity and quality, the coffee (preferably freshly ground) and the tools you employ will all play a major role in the liquid gold that washes over your palette. Most importantly, you’ll need an experimental attitude to achieve coffee greatness! We’ve compiled a set of guidelines to help you get started down this road. Use these tips as a launching pad, but feel free to explore and adjust these recipes to satisfy your own taste buds.
Chemex – James Bond’s favourite coffee maker
Brewing Cycle: 2.5 – 4.5 minutes
If there has ever been a coffee brewer to rival the sex appeal and beauty of the espresso machine than this is it: THE CHEMEX.
Don’t just take my word for it, ask James Bond! In the novel From Russia, with Love, Ian Fleming’s Bond brews his breakfast coffee with a Chemex. It’s true!
The Chemex is the creation of Dr. Peter Schlumbohm in 1941 and has been a long-standing coffee champion in homes of super spies and average joes since its inception. It is a harmonious marriage of form and function and its ease of use is as simplistic as its design.
This brewer will enhance the floral qualities in a coffee and allows the user a larger margin of error than some of the other drip coffee brewing methods.
Making delicious coffee in a Chemex:
The things you’ll need to prepare your Chemex coffee will be:
- A Chemex (we’re using a 6 cup brewer, but you can also get smaller 3 cup versions)
- Chemex filter papers
- Coffee – fresh grinded is best! (30-40 grams, course ground – or approx. 6 tablespoons) – we usually aim for a 12:1 ratio of water to ground coffee as a guide.
- A grinder (if you’ll be using whole beans)
- 500ml hot water, 30 seconds off the boil + extra water for rinsing the filter
- Gooseneck kettle – the ones with the long spouts (optional, but recommended for better pouring control)
- Your favourite cup
- Other cups (for sharing, if you have to!)
- A tailored suit or tuxedo (optional, but recommended if you’d like to feel closer to 007 ?)
1. The Water:
Begin by bringing your water to the boil. “A watched pot never boils” right! So instead of waiting…let’s move to the next step
2. The Coffee:
Pick a coffee you’re familiar with. It will give you the best idea of what influences each brewing method has over the cup!
Start with 30 to 40 grams per 500ml of water (approx. 6 tablespoons if you’re using a pre-ground coffee), but adjust this ratio to suit your taste. Use a coarse grind (think sea salt granules!) for best results.
3. Pre-game Ritual:
Now that your water is hot, you can prepare your brewer: The Chemex.
Open your filter paper and insert it into your Chemex with the 3-fold portion against the pouring spout. Wet the filter with hot water to cleanse it of its papery taste. Without removing the filter, pour the papery water into the sink – OR serve it to your nearest super villain!
4. Vital Steps:
- Transfer the ground coffee into the filter of your Chemex.
Start your timer and add enough water to soak all your coffee (approx. 60-80ml) and give it a slight swirl just to be certain that all your grinds are saturated. Wait for your coffee to degas or “bloom”.
- After the grounds stop their bubbling, add an additional amount of water to your grounds. Pour circles and avoid hitting the walls of the filter. The trick is to agitate your ground coffee and maintain a constant movement of water through the grounds.
- Keep it up! Don’t let your coffee grounds breathe your air. You’ve got to keep them saturated. Continue to add water, but try not to be TOO generous.
- You’re now nearing the end of the brewing cycle. You’ve probably noticed the little bump on your Chemex. Well, right now…we’re aiming for that. Once your yield (drinkable coffee) reaches that mark, your work is done. Carefully, grab the full-of-wet-ground-coffee filter paper and put it in the compost. This stuff is good for your garden! (See more here:
5. Swirled Not Stirred:
Before serving, give your freshly brewed coffee a nice swirl. Your brew has been starved of oxygen and it needs to breathe. This helps to cool things to a drinking temperature and allows the floral qualities of your coffee to come to life. It also makes you look awesome by accentuating your bow tie!
6. Enjoy the perfect cup of coffee:
Speaks for itself! Share it or drink it all, but be Bond and be bold with our Big Shot. Adjust your recipe and play with different variables and methods. Only YOU know what YOU like, but now you have a guide to help you find your way there!
The name’s Bond, James Bond!
But first, get your beans! You can order them here.
You can buy the Chemex in most major retailers and independent cafes.