Chemex Coffee: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Perfect Pour

There’s nothing quite like a steaming hot cup of coffee to start your day off right. If you’re looking for a unique brewing method to elevate your morning routine, look no further than Chemex coffee.

The Chemex brewing process combines art and science to create a clean and flavorful cup of coffee. But for those new to the world of Chemex, the process can seem daunting. That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide on how to make Chemex coffee.

Key Takeaways:

What is Chemex Coffee?

Chemex coffee is a pour-over coffee brewing method that incorporates a uniquely designed glass coffee maker, the Chemex coffee maker. The Chemex coffee maker is made from non-porous borosilicate glass and comes in different sizes to accommodate different coffee brewing needs.

One of the most striking features of the Chemex coffee maker is its proprietary paper filters, which are thicker than regular coffee filters. These Chemex filters are designed to fit snugly against the walls of the coffee maker and create a natural seal, preventing any coffee grounds from escaping into the final brew.

The Chemex coffee maker brewing process typically produces coffee that’s crisp, clean, and bright, with little to no bitterness. Due to the filter’s thickness, Chemex coffee filters out most of the coffee’s oils and sediments, resulting in a smooth and pure flavor.

Choosing the Right Coffee Beans and Roast Level

When it comes to making the perfect Chemex coffee, selecting the right coffee beans is crucial. Opt for high-quality beans, preferably freshly roasted within the past two weeks, to extract the best flavors and aromas.

The roast level of your coffee beans also plays a significant role in the brewing process. Lighter roasts tend to bring out the coffee’s floral and fruity notes, while darker roasts offer a bolder and richer flavor profile. However, keep in mind that the level of roast you choose will ultimately affect the overall taste of your Chemex coffee.

Experiment with different coffee roast levels to see which one suits your taste preferences best. Remember that different types of coffee beans and roast levels can produce different flavor profiles, so don’t hesitate to try something new and adjust your brewing process accordingly.

Grinding Your Coffee

Now that you have chosen your coffee beans, it’s time to grind them to the appropriate size for your Chemex. The key to perfect Chemex coffee is a consistent grind size.

Depending on your preference, you may need a finer or coarser grind for your coffee. For the Chemex, a medium-coarse grind is ideal. This type of grind will allow for an even extraction of the coffee without causing it to be too weak or too strong.

Investing in a burr grinder is the best way to ensure precise and consistent grinding. Unlike blade grinders, which chop the beans unevenly, burr grinders crush coffee beans between two burrs to create a uniform grind. Burr grinders also allow you to adjust the grind size accurately, which makes them perfect for Chemex coffee.

Preparing the Chemex and Filter

Before you start brewing your Chemex coffee, it’s crucial to prepare the Chemex and filter properly. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Preheat the Chemex

Place the Chemex on a scale and fill it with hot water to preheat the vessel. Swirl the water around to ensure all surfaces are heated. Discard the water before brewing.

Step 2: Fold and Place the Filter

Open the Chemex filter and fold it in half, then in half again, creating a cone shape. Place it in the Chemex with the thicker side against the spout, ensuring no folds are covering the spout.

Step 3: Rinse the Filter

Boil fresh water and rinse the filter thoroughly to remove any papery taste. This will also preheat the Chemex. Discard the water used for rinsing.

With these steps completed, your Chemex and filter are ready for brewing.

Brewing Process

Now that you have prepared everything, it’s time to start brewing your perfect cup of Chemex coffee. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Start by measuring your coffee beans. A general rule of thumb is to use 1 gram of coffee per 15 grams of water, but adjust according to your preferences.
  2. Grind your beans to a medium-coarse size, similar to sea salt. A burr grinder is recommended for consistent grind size.
  3. Boil water and let it cool for 30 seconds until it reaches around 200°F – 205°F (93°C – 96°C).
  4. Place the filter in the Chemex and preheat it with hot water. This will also rinse out any paper taste. Discard the water.
  5. Add the ground coffee to the filter and make a small well in the center. Pour a small amount of water, enough to saturate the grounds and let them bloom (expand and release gas) for about 30 seconds.
  6. Next, add water slowly in circular motions, pouring from the center outward, until you reach your desired coffee-to-water ratio. Aim to finish the entire brewing process in about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Once you have added the desired amount of water, let it drip through the filter and into the Chemex. Don’t rush this step, as it can impact the overall taste of your coffee.
  8. When the dripping slows down to a stop, remove the filter and discard the grounds. Serve and enjoy your perfectly brewed Chemex coffee!

Remember, adjusting the coffee-to-water ratio and other variables can impact the taste and strength of your coffee. Be patient and experiment to find your perfect brewing method.

Timing and Extraction

Getting the perfect cup of Chemex coffee comes down to timing and extraction. Extraction is the process of dissolving soluble flavors from the coffee beans into the water during brewing. The goal is to extract the perfect amount of flavor without getting too much bitterness or acidity.

The ideal brew time for Chemex coffee is between 3 and 4 minutes. Adjusting your coffee-to-water ratio can affect the brew time and extraction, so it’s important to measure carefully.

The coffee-to-water ratio recommended for Chemex coffee is between 1:15 and 1:17, meaning 1 gram of coffee for every 15 to 17 grams of water. This ratio can be adjusted based on personal preference, but it’s a good place to start.

Water temperature is also crucial for achieving the perfect extraction. The recommended temperature for brewing Chemex coffee is between 195 and 205°F. Using water that’s too hot can over-extract the coffee, resulting in bitterness, while using water that’s too cool can under-extract the coffee, resulting in a weak brew.

During the brewing process, you’ll want to keep an eye on the coffee bed and adjust your pouring technique as needed. If the coffee bed is dry and uneven, it may be under-extracting, so you may need to pour more water, but if the coffee bed is muddy and clumpy, it may be over-extracting, so you’ll want to slow down your pouring or adjust your grind size.

Remember, the key to achieving the perfect extraction and brew time is to experiment and adjust based on your personal preferences.

Serving and Enjoying

Part of the appeal of Chemex coffee is the unique serving experience it offers. The iconic Chemex carafe is not only visually stunning but also functional in keeping your coffee hot and ready to serve. Here are some serving suggestions to elevate your Chemex coffee experience:

  • Pair with desserts: The clean, bright flavors of Chemex coffee make it a perfect accompaniment to a variety of desserts. Try pairing it with a fruity tart or a rich chocolate cake for a decadent treat.
  • Share with friends: The generous size of the Chemex carafe makes it easy to share your coffee with friends and family. Set it out during a brunch or gathering and let everyone enjoy a fresh cup.
  • Experiment with cream and sugar: While Chemex coffee is delicious on its own, adding a splash of cream or a spoonful of sugar can bring out new flavor notes. Try different combinations to find your perfect cup.

No matter how you choose to enjoy your Chemex coffee, be sure to savor every sip. The care and attention put into the brewing process is reflected in every delicious cup.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Proper cleaning and maintenance of your Chemex coffee maker will ensure that it lasts for a long time and continues to produce delicious coffee. Here are some steps to follow:

Regular Cleaning

After each use, dispose of the used coffee grounds and rinse the Chemex with hot water. For a deeper cleaning, use a mild soap and a soft cloth or sponge to wash the glass and the wooden collar. Avoid using abrasive cleaners, as they can scratch the glass.

To clean the Chemex filter, gently remove it from the glass and discard the used grounds. Rinse the filter with hot water and let it air dry. You can reuse the filter multiple times, but make sure to clean it thoroughly between uses.


If you notice any mineral buildup in your Chemex, it’s time to descale it. You can use a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar to remove the mineral deposits. Fill the Chemex with the solution and let it sit for about an hour. Then, rinse it thoroughly with hot water and let it air dry.

Repeat this process as necessary to keep your Chemex in good condition.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

While the Chemex coffee brewing process may seem intimidating at first, it’s worth mastering to achieve the perfect cup of coffee. However, sometimes things can go wrong and result in coffee that is too weak, too strong, over-extracted, or under-extracted. Here’s how to troubleshoot these common issues:

Chemex coffee too weak

If your Chemex coffee is weak, it may be due to using too few coffee grounds or brewing for too short a time. Try increasing the amount of coffee grounds you use or brewing for an additional 30 seconds.

Chemex coffee too strong

When your Chemex coffee is too strong, it may be due to using too many coffee grounds or brewing for too long. Adjust the amount of coffee grounds you use or shorten the brewing time by 30 seconds to achieve a milder flavor.


Over-extracted coffee can taste bitter or sour. This can happen when you use water that is too hot or brew for too long. To avoid over-extraction, experiment with lower water temperatures or shorten the brewing time.


When coffee is under-extracted, it can taste weak or sour. This can happen when the water is not hot enough or you brew for too short a time. Try increasing the water temperature or brewing for an additional 30 seconds to achieve a more robust flavor.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t achieve the perfect cup of Chemex coffee right away. With a little bit of trial and error, you’ll be able to master the process and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee every time.

Exploring Chemex Variations

While the classic Chemex brewing process outlined in this guide produces a delicious cup of coffee, it is always fun to experiment with different variations. Here are some ideas to try:

Chemex Iced Coffee

During the hot summer months, iced coffee can be a refreshing alternative to hot coffee. To make Chemex iced coffee, simply follow the same brewing process outlined in this guide, but use a slightly finer grind and a higher coffee-to-water ratio. Once you have brewed your coffee, pour it over ice and enjoy!

Chemex Pour-Over Variations

There are many ways to customize your Chemex pour-over technique. Try adjusting the water temperature, experimenting with different coffee-to-water ratios, or altering the pouring technique. You can pour in slow, circular motions, use a rapid pour, or even pause between pours to allow the coffee to bloom before continuing.

Another variation to try is the “inverted” method, in which the Chemex is flipped upside down and the coffee is brewed with the filter on top. This allows for greater control over the brewing process and can result in a unique, complex flavor profile.

With so many variations to explore, the possibilities are endless. Don’t be afraid to get creative and find your own perfect cup of Chemex coffee!


Congratulations, you’ve now become a Chemex coffee brewing expert! By following this step-by-step guide, you are guaranteed to achieve the perfect Chemex coffee every time.

Remember, the key to a great cup of Chemex coffee is selecting high-quality coffee beans, grinding them to the appropriate size, and carefully following the brewing process. By taking your time and paying attention to the details, you’ll be rewarded with a rich, flavorful cup of coffee that you can truly savor.

We hope this Chemex coffee brewing guide has been helpful to you. Whether you’re a seasoned coffee lover or a new enthusiast, mastering the art of Chemex brewing is a worthwhile endeavor.

Keep exploring

If you’re looking to mix things up, try experimenting with different roast levels, coffee-to-water ratios, and pouring techniques. You may even want to try brewing iced coffee using your Chemex!

With so many possibilities, the world of Chemex coffee brewing is yours to explore. Enjoy the journey, and cheers to the perfect cup of coffee!


Q: What is Chemex coffee?

A: Chemex coffee refers to a specific brewing method using a Chemex coffee maker and unique Chemex filters. It produces a clean and flavorful cup of coffee with a distinct taste.

Q: What kind of coffee beans should I use for Chemex coffee?

A: It is important to choose high-quality coffee beans for the best results. Opt for fresh, whole beans and consider your preferred roast level to enhance the flavor of your Chemex coffee.

Q: How important is the grind size for Chemex coffee?

A: The grind size is crucial for Chemex brewing. It affects the extraction process and the overall flavor of the coffee. It is recommended to use a burr grinder for consistent and precise results.

Q: How do I prepare the Chemex and filter?

A: To prepare the Chemex, preheat it with hot water, fold the Chemex filter and place it in the brewer, ensuring the triple-layered side is facing the spout. Rinse the filter with hot water to remove any paper taste.

Q: What is the brewing process for Chemex coffee?

A: The brewing process involves carefully measuring the coffee-to-water ratio, heating the water to the appropriate temperature, allowing the coffee to bloom, and using a specific pouring technique to ensure even extraction.

Q: How long should I brew Chemex coffee?

A: Brew time can vary depending on personal preference and the amount of coffee you are brewing. Generally, it is recommended to brew for 3-4 minutes, but you can adjust the time to achieve your desired strength and flavor.

Q: How do I clean and maintain my Chemex coffee maker?

A: To clean your Chemex, simply rinse it with warm water after each use. Occasionally, you may need to descale it using a mixture of water and vinegar. Proper cleaning and maintenance will ensure optimal performance and longevity.

Q: What should I do if my Chemex coffee is too weak or too strong?

A: If your coffee is too weak, you can adjust the coffee-to-water ratio or increase the brew time. If it is too strong, you can decrease the amount of coffee or shorten the brew time. Experimentation is key to finding your perfect balance.

Q: Are there any variations of Chemex coffee?

A: Absolutely! You can explore different variations of Chemex brewing, such as making iced coffee or trying various pour-over techniques. Get creative and discover new flavors and combinations.

Q: What is the importance of following a step-by-step guide for Chemex coffee brewing?

A: Following a step-by-step guide ensures consistency and helps in achieving the perfect Chemex coffee. It allows you to understand the factors that influence the flavor and make adjustments to suit your preferences.