Chemex 101: Brewing Tips And More

Chemex is maybe one of the most fundamental and useful coffee makers in the world that inevitably makes everyone fascinated about it. It is not only a simple coffee brewer but also a delicious coffee maker. Just like other coffee makers, it has its own brewing style and therefore tips and tricks. What’s more, it has special coffee filters that can upgrade your coffee to the next level. Then let’s see what is Chemex and other things that a coffee lover needs to know about it.

What Is Chemex?

Chemex coffee maker is invented by Peter Schlumbohm in 1941. It is a manual pour-over style glass coffee brewer and it is manufactured first by the Chemex Corporation in Chicopee, Massachusetts.

In 1958, After 17 years of its production, it is accepted as “one of the best-designed products of modern times” by the designers at the Illinois Institute of Technology. What’s more, in New York City, it is included in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

Although Chemex sizes can change when it comes to its design, we can say it is a glass flask shaped like an hourglass and the handle of this hourglass is wrapped in wood with a leather tie. With its simple yet clever design and its usefulness, it is not surprising to see it in a museum.

Being one of the best coffee makers, Chemex brings out flavor from the coffee beans using the heat and slow saturation process. It also has some special filters to ensure that you don’t have some sediment leftovers in your coffee.

How Does Chemex Work?

Not surprising, it works similarly to other pour-over coffee makers but there is one exception. The Chemex filters are inserted into the brewing vessel itself. The slender design of the Chemex and the fact that it uses a dense filter slow down the flow of water.

You put the coffee grounds in the filter and pour the water slowly. The resulting coffee is contained in the bottom of the vessel and ready to be served. You may wait a little bit longer when brewing your coffee using Chemex because of the restricted flow but this longer time allows your coffee to be more tasteful.

What Makes Chemex Special?

As we mentioned above, it could be the best coffee maker in the world. But why? Let us explain.

Chemex brewing gives us a cup of coffee that tastes better than other coffee makers because of its unique filter and shape as well as its glass design. The fact that it is made of glass ensures that there are no additional flavors in your cup and you are tasting pure coffee. If you are in the pursuit of clean and pure coffee, you might love Chemex.

Another thing that makes this coffee brewer special is that it can create a smoother cup with less bitterness without losing the body. Chemex coffee is very bright and clear compared to other coffee makers so it might be the best choice if you want a clean cup of coffee.

What Size Chemex Should You Buy?

The classic Chemex pour-over comes in four sizes. 3-cup, 6-cup, 8-cup, and 10-cup model. The difference between the 6-cup, 8-cup, and 10-cup sizes is the size of the belly of the Chemex, that is, the bottom part. The 3-cup model is smaller but it has a cone (top part) with a different angle. This cone influences the way the water saturates so it affects the taste of your coffee a little bit.

In conclusion, if you want to brew single servings (10-15 ounces), you might find 6-cup the most useful. Most people use 6-cup and 8-cup models because they are enough to make coffee for 1-2 people or even more.

Classic ChemexCapacity (US)Capacity Metric
3-cup1 pint473 ml
6-cup30 ounce887 ml
8-cup40 ounce1,182 ml
10-cup50 ounce1,479 ml

What About Chemex Filters?

Chemex coffee filters are one of the things that make Chemex unique. These filters are 20-30% thicker than ordinary coffee filters in order to filter out bitterness and oils from coffee grounds. Also, it is what makes your coffee super clear.

When it comes to using these filters, it might seem hard but it is easy. The folding part is actually easy. Just keep it folded and then open it up so you can get one layer on one side and three layers on the other. The three-layer part is the part where you put against the pour spout on the Chemex.

Which Chemex filter papers should you choose? Square vs circular filters? There is actually no difference between them but the little points on the square one can make it easy to lift up. So you might choose circular filters if you have to make a decision.

How To Brew Coffee With A Chemex?

What You’ll Need

  • Medium-coarse ground coffee
  • Chemex
  • Chemex coffee filter
  • Water


  1. Grind Your Coffee BeansYou can select your favorite coffee beans. We suggest grinding them to medium coarse ground. It is the best grind setting for Chemex. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can buy ground coffees.
  2. Place Your FilterOpen your Chemex filter into a con shape and make sure one side of the cone has three layers. Also, make sure that three-layer portion of the filter covers the pouring spout.
  3. Add Your CoffeeIf you wonder how much coffee for Chemex, for every 5 oz cup, put one rounded tablespoon of ground coffee into the filter cone. If you want a stronger coffee. You can use more coffee without worrying about bitterness because Chemex eliminates bitterness.
  4. Let It BloomBoil your water and after it boils, remove it from the heat and wait for it to stop boiling vigorously. Pour small amount of water over your coffee grounds to wet them a little and wait about 30 seconds for them to bloom. Bloom brings out the most desirable elements from your coffee grounds.
  5. First PouringAfter blooming, slowly pour the water over the grounds while keeping the water level below the top of your Chemex.
  6. Second PouringAfter first water pouring, slowly pour the remaining of the water over the grounds. This time, use a circular or back-and-forth motion to ensure an even soaking of the coffee grounds.
  7. Remove The FilterAfter brewing desired amount of coffee, remove the filter with the grounds.
  8. Enjoy Your CoffeePour your brewed coffee into your favorite coffee mug and enjoy your coffee!

Brewing Tips And Tricks For Chemex

Now that you have learned the basics of how to make Chemex coffee, you can apply these tips and tricks to your brewing to make your coffee even better.

  1. Use a burr grinder to get more consistent particle size. Also, it allows an even extraction and fuller bodied cup of coffee.
  2. Preheat your Chemex and dampen the filter with warm water to rinse.
  3. Perfect temperature for water when you use Chemex is about 200°F.
  4. Keep your Chemex clean to refrain from any sediment.


Which Grind Size Should I Use?

As we said earlier, the best Chemex grind size is medium-coarse ground. You can either grind your coffee beans by yourself or you can buy them ground.

How Can I Wash My Chemex?

You can use a dishwasher but be sure to remove the collar and tie. Another way you can clean your Chemex is by hand.

Can I Use Chemex Without A Scale?

Although we don’t recommend it, you can use Chemex without using a scale. However, using a scale when you make coffee is one of the most important things that make your coffee better.

What Coffee To Water Ratio Is The Best For Chemex?

Chemex uses the same coffee to filter ratio as other methods. It is 10 grams of coffee for every 6 ounces of water, which is a 1:18 ratio. If you want a stronger or lighter coffee, you can change it of course.

Can I Place Chemex On The Stove?

You can put Chemex on electric burners where the coils are not exposed. However, you should be careful to keep the temperature in the lowest setting so that you don’t burn your coffee.

How Can I Keep My Coffee Warm?

You can either place your Chemex on a stove or in warm water. Also, you can wrap a towel around the carafe.

What Type Of Coffee Roast Should I Use For Chemex?

Actually, You can use any type of roast when you use Chemex. It works very well with light, medium, and dark roasts.

Wrapping Up

In this article, we tried to give you everything we know about Chemex and we hope that you can prepare yourself a delicious cup of coffee after learning how to use Chemex. Now that you have learned most of what you need to know about Chemex, you can make some experiments with Chemex and create the best coffee for you and your friends. If you have some suggestions or questions, let us know in the comments section!

Chemex 101: Brewing Tips And More

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