Video: How to brew coffee using a Chemex coffee maker

By Teah Teriele — / Death Wish Coffee Blog

Chemex Brew Guide: How do I brew coffee in a Chemex?

If you've ever seen us at an event, you'll recognize the Chemex pour-over coffee maker immediately. We think it makes the best version of Death Wish Coffee. We went through all of the reasons that we love this brewer, and combined instructions on how to use it in a quick, two-minute video with everything you need to know about what may be the best coffee maker around.

A Chemex coffee machine pictured brewing coffee next to a white coffee cup and tea kettle

The Chemex is one of the most classic and efficient ways to make your coffee. Invented in the 1930s by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm, this hourglass-shaped brewer comes with special filters that allow for a perfectly steeped pot. Not only does is the Chemex an excellent way to brew, it also looks really great on a countertop.

What you need: 

  • Chemex 6-cup brewer
  • Chemex filters
  • Kettle 
  • 20 Ounces of Water 
  • 8 tablespoons of coffee 

This hourglass-shaped Chemex coffee machine is filled with coffee grounds and hot water to brewˆThis photo shows what a Chemex bloom looks like. 

Chemex Directions: 

  1. Grind your coffee coarse. Your grind for a Chemex is typically the coarsest setting on a grinder. It should resemble rock salt in particle size. 
  2. Heat your water. Heat 20 ounces of water using a kettle to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Tip: If you don't have a fancy kettle or even a thermometer, you may boil water on your stovetop, then let it sit around one and a half minutes — this should bring you right around 200 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Wet your filter. Wetting your filter with warm water before use helps take out any wood or paper taste. 
  4. Add coffee. Add 2.5 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 oz. of water used. So for 20 ounces of water, use between 6-8 tablespoons. The more coffee you use, the stronger it will be.
  5. Wet coffee. Add water until coffee is fully submerged and wait for 30 seconds. This will allow the coffee to bloom, giving you the best flavor. 
  6. Brew coffee. After you bloom your coffee for 30 seconds, slowly add water in a slow, circular motion from the outside ring to the inside. The brew should take a total of about 4 minutes. Tip: If it takes longer than four minutes, you may need to adjust your grind to be more coarse. If it takes much shorter, your grind may need to be finer.
  7. Remove filter. After your coffee has completely brewed, dispose of the coffee and filter, or better yet, re-use the grounds.
  8. Enjoy! Pour by holding the wooden collar, and drink up 

A Chemex coffee machine shown being brewed next to a black bag of Death Wish Coffee

Things to Keep in Mind

Water temperature for a Chemex pour over: 205 degrees Fahrenheit 

Since some traditional coffee makers can only reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit, manual methods of brewing immediately have the edge over an auto-drip pot. We use this Death Wish Stovetop Gooseneck Kettle. A Gooseneck kettle gives you the most precise pour. 

Can I use preground coffee in my Chemex?

If you buy preground coffee, the water will take far too long to pass through the filter and will over extract and become bitter. It is possible to brew a cup, but it will not produce coffee that properly represents the taste of the Chemex.

Brewing ratios for a Chemex: Strong

  • Water to coffee ratio for a Chemex, by weight: 12:1
  • Water to coffee ratio for a Chemex, by volume: 6oz:2.5 tbs

One of the wonderful things about the Chemex is your ability to control the brew — this comes through best during the set-up process. It's possible that the Chemex can make the strongest coffee of any non-pressurized coffee maker. Experiment with the ratio that best suits your taste. 

Blooming your coffee is important! 

This is the part of the brewing process where unwanted gasses from the coffee are released as the water hits the grinds, also called "blooming." This is done by pouring just enough water to saturate the grinds in your filter and waiting ~30 seconds. You'll notice your coffee "blooming" — forming bubbles and expanding. This means that your coffee is fresh. 

    Why use a Chemex? 

    • Fresh Cup Every Time
    • Non-porous glass does not impart flavors onto the coffee
    • Chemex Filters provide a clean, strong cup of coffee every time
    • Ability to customize your brew to the strength that you like
    • Can be used as a coffee or water reservoir
    • Satisfaction of brewing your own coffee through the entire process  

    Related: Why I love brewing in a Chemex


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