How to Make Great Coffee with the Chemex

Dayne Dayne (57)
10 minutes

The Chemex is a glass container, manual pour over style coffeemaker invented by Peter J. Schlumbohm, Ph.D., in 1941. It has been heralded as one of the best designed products in modern times and is on display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Smithsonian, the Philadelphia Museum and the Corning Museum.

The result of this design is a coffee akin to drip coffee, but since it is prepared manually with much more care than a drip coffee machine, it can make a much cleaner cup with flavors you have never experienced out of a drip machine. The chemex filters used are also responsible for some of these characteristics because it is a thicker filter than most. This leads to filtering out many of the oils present in much of the coffee you're used to.

If you've got your Chemex and you're ready to go, lets get started!

Chemex ×1
kettle (gooseneck preferred) ×1
Chemex filter ×1
scale ×1
whole bean coffee ×1

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Filling a gooseneck kettle with water

Measure out about 1000g of water. Since 1g = 1ml, you can also use 1000ml or 1L.

Close up of coffee grounds

Grind about 45g of fresh coffee. The grind you're shooting for is just finer than a french press grind.

wetting the filter of a chemex

Unfold the chemex filter and place the side with 3 layers on the spout of the Chemex. This allows air to escape during the brewing process. Rinse the filter with a good amount of water.

top down view of water being poured from a chemex into a mug

Folding the filter over and holding it in place, empty the Chemex. I usually pour this into my coffee mug to preheat it a bit.

top down view of a chemex coffee maker filled with dry coffee grounds

Shake the Chemex a bit to settle the grounds flat. Make sure to zero out your scale for the first pour.

top down view of a chemex coffee maker filled with wet coffee grounds

Pour about 100g of water evenly over the grounds and start your timer. Optional: some people like to stir gently at this point to ensure all of the grounds are saturated. I like to think I can pour evenly enough that this is not necessary.

45 seconds after you finished your first pour, begin the second pour. Slowly pour 300g of water in concentric circles, avoiding the edges of the filter. Your total weight after this pour will be 400g.

At roughly 2:30 (or when most of the water is gone from the grounds), begin pouring the final 300g of water. Use the same method as the second pour but make sure you don't pour higher than the previous maximum height already established by the second pour. Your final weight at the end of this will be 700g.

pouring chemex coffee into a mug

Swirl the coffee in the Chemex and serve it!

Want to set your coffee to brew ahead of when you wake up? This guide can help!
Michael Michael (175)
1 minute

I love that morning cup of coffee, but I don't necessarily love the process of making it when I first wake up.