I’ve lusted after a Chemex coffee brewer ever since I became aware of them several years ago. I was a chemistry major in college, so it’s probably no big surprise that the “two Ehrlenmeyer flasks united as one” shape of the Chemex speaks to me. LOL
I picked up the 8-cup Chemex and a box of unbleached filters at World Market in Westport. At home I brew coffee one of two ways: espresso machine or French press, but the press is a PITA for me to clean, it seemed like, so I decided to bite the bullet on the lower maintenance Chemex (although it’s a lot more work to do the actual extraction than a French press).
I haven’t gone full coffeenerd on the Chemex just yet. I am eyeballing the amount of coffee (instead of using a digital scale), I am using a tea kettle and an OXO measuring cup to pour in the water (instead of a $50 Hario Buono pourover kettle), I am eyeballing the amount of water (instead of weighing it, too) and I’m guessing on the grind fineness (instead of timing everything to dial it in).
All that being said, I can still brew up a dang good cup of coffee with the Chemex!
This gives me room to expand, I suppose! The Chemex method is not for low maintenance coffee folks. You have to boil water (oh, I also don’t have a thermometer to know my water temperature, which is important), rinse the filter, “bloom” the grounds, pour, watch, pour some more, etc. It’s high maintenance, but fun (to me).
I watched a few helpful videos (go to Vimeo and search “chemex”) after the first few times I used the Chemex and learned some important things. First, you should use boiling water to rinse the filter some. I didn’t think this was necessary until I did it once and I got some brownish looking water off the filter. Yuck!
Second, gently tamping the Chemex on the counter top (use a towel under it) a few times to settle the grounds into the filter cone seems pretty important, too.
Blooming the beans is important, although I don’t know why. Blooming means pouring a small amount of water onto the dry grounds to soak them a little. Some things happen for about 30 seconds, then you’re ready to start pouring in water.
Pour the water in the center, not along the side, so you get a nice extraction from the point of the cone, rather than running down the side.
Most importantly, have fun! If this seems like “the system” that is going to stick for me, I’m going to add a digital scale and maybe that fancy pourover kettle (or something similar if I can find it)!