Although often thought of as a brainchild of the third wave coffee movement, the Chemex was actually created in 1941 by a German chemist named Peter Schlumbohm. This incredible brewing method was inspired by two pieces of laboratory equipment: a glass funnel and an Erlenmeyer flask. The only additions made were an air channel and a “belly button.” The air channel was a necessary modification in order to allow the displaced water to progress into the bottom vessel, and the belly button functions as a measurement point of reference. One of the things that makes the Chemex such an iconic brewer is its elegant design and its distinguished wooden handle. Not only will the Chemex enhance your coffee experience, but it is also the perfect vessel to make coffee for two. So say goodbye to the days of delayed coffee conversations while you are busy making an additional pour over, and welcome this fantastic coffeemaker into your repertoire [Fun Fact: This method can actually be seen as part of the permanent collections in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian, the Corning Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum!]
What You’ll Need:
-Coffee (42 grams)
-Your Favorite Mug(s)
Step 1: Scale to Grind
Arguably the hardest part of this process is picking out the best coffee. [Pro Tip: We prefer coffees from roasters like Tweed, Onyx, Edison Coffee Co., Bloom, etc. Click on the names of the coffee roasters to have some of their incredible selections delivered to your next perfect morning.] This morning we chose to use Coshaco by Tweed. (In case you couldn’t tell, we are still dreaming of our Houndstooth experience. Check out this link to read about our time with them!) Once you have your coffee of choice, measure out 42 grams of whole bean coffee or roughly 4.5 tablespoons (if your coffee is pre-ground use 3 tablespoons.) Next, use a burr grinder (if available) and grind it on a courser setting. It should look like Kosher salt.
Step 2: Getting Heated
The second step is where you will heat your water in the gooseneck kettle between 202 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Before you are ready to preheat your vessels, place the folded filter into the funnel. (Make sure the 3 folded layers are facing the pouring spout.) Then generously pour the water on the sides of the filter, which create a vacuum. Without removing the filter, pour the water out of the Chemex (We promise the filter will not fall out). And before you get started place a little bit of your water into the mug(s).
Step 3: Blooming with Excitement
After preheating your vessels, place your
ground coffee into the Chemex. [Hint: Avoid getting grounds on the sides of the vessel. Aim to keep it in one mound.) Next, you will need to flatten out the bed of coffee by gently shaking it from left to right. Then pour 150 grams in a spiral motion while trying to maintain a steady stream of water. This should take you roughly 15 seconds.
Step 4: Did You Get a Pulse?
At 0:45, pour to a total of 450 grams for pulse number one. While doing this, you should pay special attention to the dark spots by trying to hit them during your spiral, and be sure to dodge the brighter spots. (You want those.) After the timer reaches 1:45, pour (again with the spiral motion and colored spots) your second pulse. We recommend pouring to 700 grams in order to uphold a 1:16.6 ratio. If you are more calculated, shoot for a 1:16 ratio, which is an ending total of 672 grams. [Pro-tip: Either way, the belly button should be about where your coffee stops filling up the bottom vessel.]
Step 5: Split Ends
After about 4:00 your coffee should be done brewing, and you are ready to serve. Go ahead and dump out the water in your mugs from Step 2: Getting Heated. Then, if you are up to the challenge, hold both of those mugs in your right hand (if you pour left-handed) and try to get the coffee to split between the ridge of the air channel and the side of the Chemex. Or, give it a couple swirls and fill your warm mugs with a smile.