The Art & Science of Brewing with a Chemex

The Chemex brewing method is a unique approach to making coffee that combines the precision of science with the elegance of art. This method, known for producing a clean and flavorful cup, has captivated coffee enthusiasts worldwide.

Read on to find out about the art and science of brewing with a Chemex and see if it is a manual brewing method that may suit you.

Key Takeaways
1 The Chemex brewing method combines the precision of science with the elegance of art, allowing for a clean and flavorful cup of coffee.
2 Key factors in the Chemex brewing process include the role of pressure, the grind size and water temperature, and the use of a special Chemex filter.
3 Brewing with a Chemex is not just about making coffee, but also about enjoying the ritual of the brewing process and the unique community and culture around it.

The History of Chemex

The Chemex was invented by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm in 1941.

Schlumbohm, a chemist by profession, designed the Chemex with a focus on simplicity and elegance, going against the grain of the mid-20th century trend for complexity and flashiness.

a coffee lover preparing a coffe using a chemex at home

The Science Behind Chemex Brewing

The Chemex brewing method is deeply rooted in science.

One of the critical factors in this method is the role of pressure in brewing. Unlike other brewing methods, the Chemex uses gravity instead of pressure to extract the coffee.

Another crucial factor is the grind size and water temperature. These variables significantly affect the extraction process, influencing the taste and aroma of the coffee. The Chemex method requires a medium-coarse grind and a water temperature of around 200°F for optimal extraction.

Lastly, the Chemex filter plays a vital role in the brewing process. The Chemex uses a special paper filter 20-30% thicker than regular coffee filters. This design ensures a slower brew and a richer cup of coffee by filtering out more coffee oils and sediments.

The Art of Brewing with a Chemex

Brewing coffee with a Chemex is not just a process but an art form. The aesthetic appeal of the Chemex, with its elegant hourglass shape and wooden collar, makes it not just a coffee maker but a piece of design history.

The ritual of brewing with a Chemex is a sensory experience that engages sight, smell, and taste. From the blooming of the coffee grounds to the slow pour of hot water, each step is a mindful practice that enhances the enjoyment of coffee.

The Allure of Chemex Coffee

The unique taste profile of Chemex coffee is one of its most alluring features. The Chemex method produces a clean cup of coffee that highlights the coffee’s true flavor without the bitterness often associated with other brewing methods.

Moreover, the community and culture around Chemex brewing add to its allure. From coffee professionals to home brewers, the Chemex has a dedicated following of individuals who appreciate the balance of science and art in coffee brewing.

What You Need to Brew with a Chemex

To brew coffee with a Chemex, you will need the following equipment and ingredients:

  • A Chemex Coffeemaker
  • Chemex Bonded Filters
  • A Burr Grinder
  • Fresh Coffee Beans
  • A Gooseneck Kettle
  • A Digital Scale
  • A Timer
  • Hot Water

Step-by-Step Guide to Brewing with a Chemex

Here is a detailed guide on how to brew coffee with a Chemex:

a barista making a filter coffee using a chemex

Measure and Grind the Beans

Use a digital scale to measure the desired amount of coffee beans. For a standard brew, a good starting point is 50 grams of coffee for every 700 grams of water. Grind the coffee beans to create a medium-coarse consistency.

Prep the Filter

Open a Chemex Bonded Filter into a coned shape so that one side of the filter has 3 layers; then put it into the top of the Chemex brewer. The three-layered side should cover the pouring spout.

Preheat the Brewer

Pour hot water into the brewer to preheat it. It will also help to seal the filter in place. Discard the water.

Add the Coffee

Pour the grounded coffee into the filter and gently shake the brewer to level the grounds.

Bloom the Coffee

Start your timer and pour water over the grounds, enough to wet them evenly (about 150 grams). Let it bloom for 30-45 seconds.

Brew the Coffee

Start pouring more water slowly in a circular motion, starting from the center. Keep adding water until the scale reads 700 grams. The pour should take about 3-4 minutes.

Wait for the Brew to Complete

Allow the water to drain through the filter completely. It should take about 1-2 minutes.

Remove the Filter and Serve

Once the water has drained, remove the filter and discard it. Now your Chemex coffee is ready to serve!

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Chemex Coffee

Here are some tips and tricks to help you brew the perfect cup of coffee with a Chemex:

  • Choosing the Right Coffee Beans: Coffee beans can significantly impact the taste of your Chemex coffee. Light to medium roast beans are typically recommended for Chemex brewing as they allow the unique flavors of the coffee to shine through.
  • Adjusting Grind Size and Water Temperature: The grind size and water temperature are two variables that you can change to influence the extraction process. A medium-coarse grind and a water temperature of around 200°F are generally recommended for Chemex brewing.
  • Experimenting with Brewing Parameters: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different brewing parameters. It could include adjusting the coffee-to-water ratio, changing the pour rate, or altering the bloom time. Each of these factors can affect the taste of your coffee, and experimenting with them can help you find your perfect brew.

Remember, brewing coffee with a Chemex is both a science and an art. It requires precision and attention to detail but allows for creativity and personalization. So take your time, enjoy the process.


Written by Robbie – Coffee Writer and Researcher at

Robbie has over 15 years of extensive experience working in the coffee industry in marketing. As a native New Yorker he loves the hustle and bustle of a big city and enjoys nothing more than breaking up his busy day with trips to the nearest coffee shop for a double espresso. Find out more about Robbie