The Chemex: A manual coffee brewer

This classic manual coffee brewer is a great choice for couples, groups of friends or if you like to drink multiple cups of coffee in quick succession!

In the last couple of decades the Chemex has seen a resurgence in popularity (and for good reason). First sold in 1942, this beautiful manual coffee brewer is definitely a celebrity among its peers. It’s had cameo roles in Friends and the classic James Bond movie, From Russia with Love and is sure to get your heart racing this Valentine’s Day.

Before we plunge into a step-by-step guide on how to use your Chemex, let’s do a quick show of hands.

Who already owns one? You do? Good!

Now, for those of you who wanted to put their hands up but haven’t quite gotten around to buying your own, fear not, you can grab one here (there’s also an 8-cup available in the shop) and then we can crack on.

 

 

A step-by-step guide to using a Chemex

 

Preparation

Start by placing the Chemex filter in the brewer. It’s important to ensure the multiple folds line up against the spout (this helps to reinforce the filter, ready for pouring). Pour hot water around the edge of the filter (this makes the paper stick to the glass and creates an effective seal.) Discard the hot water.

Weigh and grind your coffee

Let’s assume you’ve got a good quality coffee grinder, but if you haven’t, we’d highly recommend this electric coffee grinder or this manual coffee grinder.

First of all, grind your coffee beans. You’ll need 42g (6 tablespoons). The consistency you’re looking for is of kosha salt (between table salt and rock salt).

Next, add your perfectly ground coffee to the Chemex filter. You’ll need to give the brewer a gentle tap to help centre the coffee. Now you’re ready to pop the Chemex onto your scales and tare (the tare button sets your scales to zero).

Saturate your coffee grounds

Chemex Brew Guide by Cracking Coffee

Once the Chemex is on the scales and you’ve tared, start a timer.

Using a circular motion, slowly pour the hot water over your coffee grounds until they’re all saturated (about 150ml). Give them a gentle stir – be sure to use a wooden stirrer to prevent damage to the glass. Stir until you’ve removed any dry lumps.

Pour over more water

After 45 seconds (keep an eye on your timer!), begin the second pour. Start by using a wiggly motion as it’ll help to reintegrate the coffee and water, then move back to the circular pouring motion.

It’s very important to pour evenly as this is what creates that beautiful light golden crema. If the pour is uneven, you’ll see dark patches appear on the surface. If this happens, you can tap them gently with a spoon and mix them in.

Fill until water reaches a fingertip away from the rim. This represents approximately 450ml of water.

Fill to the top

Chemex Brew Guide by Cracking Coffee

When your timer hits 1 minute 45 seconds, fill the brewer right to the top. This will reflect approximately 700ml of water.

Brew a delicious coffee!

After 4 minutes, the brewing process will nearly be complete. There’s a bubble in the glass which acts as a reference point, indicating 20 ounces. When the water reaches this bubble, remove the filter and let it drain into the sink.

And there you have it – a perfectly brewed Chemex coffee.

It’s always worth experimenting with your grind, if you have a good quality grinder then you’ll be able to ‘dial in’ your favourite consistency and always enjoy fresh coffee that tastes its best.

We hope you find this Chemex brewer walkthrough helpful. If you’d like to hone your technique, why not watch our video brew guide?

 

Let’s talk about the mighty AeroPress.

Chances are, if you like coffee, you’ve probably sampled a cup of delicious AeroPress brewed coffee by now. If you haven’t, where have you been?

How to use an AeroPress, and why

The Aeropress represents a completely new way to make coffee.

It works by mixing the water and coffee grounds together (for around 10 seconds). When you plunge, gentle air pressure pushes the water and coffee mix through a micro-filter in around 20 seconds. This means that the total brewing time is only ever approximately 30 seconds!

The result? An exceptionally smooth, rich flavour.

The standard brewing method

 

To begin, grind your coffee. You want it to resemble the consistency of fine table salt. Next, measure two AeroPress scoops of the freshly ground coffee.

Place the AeroPress filter into the basket and rinse it with hot water. Using hot water, pre-heat the AeroPress and your mug.

Position the filter basket on the AeroPress and sit the brewer on your mug. Use the funnel to add your coffee grounds.

Using a circular motion, pour the hot water into the AeroPress. It’s important to saturate all of the coffee grounds. Pour until the hot water reaches the No.2 mark on the AeroPress. To ensure all-round saturation of the coffee grounds, spin the chamber a little.

Lastly,  give the coffee grounds (or, to use the technical term, slurry,) with the paddle. Place the plunger on top of the AeroPress. Press down slowly, applying a steady, even pressure throughout. When you hear a hissing sound, stop!

Enjoy!

If you’d prefer to watch a video, check out our video brew guide.

The inverted brewing method:

  1. Start by warming the AeroPress and your favourite cup..
  2. Put the plunger into the top of the AeroPress and flip the whole brewer upside down. The first time you do this, it might feel a little precarious! Just be mindful not to knock it over when it’s full.
  3. Place one AeroPress scoop into the upside down AeroPress and fill to the halfway mark with boiling water.
  4. Let the coffee brew for approximately 30 seconds before filling to the top. Give the coffee grounds (slurry) a gentle stir.
  5. Pop a paper filter into the basket and wet it with hot water to remove any potential papery taste. Lock the basket to the top of the AeroPress.
  6. Next, brace yourself! You’re about to flip the whole thing the right way up again.
  7. Ok. Here goes (deep breath). Flip the whole brewer and sit it nicely on top of your pre-warmed cup.
  8. Gently push the plunger. Make sure you apply steady, even pressure over the course of 30 seconds. Stop plunging when you a hissing sound.

Ta da! Enjoy your delicious AeroPress coffee.