The Ultimate Guide to Brewing the Perfect Chemex Coffee: Brand and Bean Recommendations, Correct Grind Size, and Step-by-Step Instructions
Are you tired of mediocre coffee that fails to satisfy your caffeine cravings? Say goodbye to lackluster brews and say hello to the best coffee Chemex experience you've ever had! In this article, we'll dive deep into the legendary Chemex brewing method, unraveling the secrets behind its impeccable flavor profile. From understanding how it works to unlocking the perfect grind size, we'll guide you every step of the way to craft a cup of coffee that will leave you craving for more. So, grab your favorite mug and prepare to embark on a coffee journey like no other!
What Is a Chemex and How Does It Work?
Chemex is the original pour over coffee maker. It was invented in 1941 by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm in a science lab. Made of borosilicate glass, the same material used in labware, the Chemex is specifically designed to enhance the natural flavors of coffee while providing a clean and pure brew.
A key feature of the Chemex is its ability to produce a clean cup of coffee. The thick, folded filter removes any grit or sediments, ensuring a smooth and sediment-free brew. However, it is worth noting that the filter may also remove some flavor. To allow for a fuller flavor experience, there is an option to purchase a stainless steel filter for the Chemex, which allows more flavor to come through.
When using a Chemex, the brewing process extracts the complex scents and flavors from the coffee beans, resulting in a great-tasting cup of coffee. However, the Chemex truly shines when it comes to highlighting the distinct flavors of unique coffee beans.
It is important to note that there is a learning curve when using a Chemex. You need to learn the optimal pouring technique, including when to start and stop the pour. With practice, however, pouring becomes second nature.
Brand and Bean Recommendations Especially for the Chemex
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee by Volcanica Coffee
For the best Chemex experience, I highly recommend trying Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee. These Arabica beans are known for their sweet taste and light to medium body. They are comparable to some of the best coffees in the world, such as Hawaiian Kona and Jamaican Blue Mountain.
Volcanica Coffee's Yirgacheffe is sourced from a group of small farms located at elevations of 5,400-5,900 feet. The beans are shade-grown in volcanic ash, ensuring a unique and high-quality product. This coffee offers a delightful flavor profile reminiscent of blackberry wine, with floral notes and a range of berry flavors. When brewed in a Chemex, these flavors are enhanced, with hints of lemon and lavender creating a truly complex and satisfying cup of coffee.
If you prefer chocolate and smoke flavors in your coffee, it is recommended to explore other options.
Café Britt Costa Rican Tres Rios Valdivia Coffee
Café Britt specializes in Costa Rican coffee, both in terms of cultivation and roasting. The Tres Rios region in Costa Rica is renowned for producing exceptional coffee beans.
This family-owned operation takes pride in its commitment to sustainability and fair practices. The Valdivia Coffee is carbon neutral and produced through shade-grown methods on high mountains. The coffee undergoes sun drying, further enhancing its unique qualities.
With a medium light roast, Café Britt's Costa Rican Tres Rios Valdivia Coffee offers a spicy and sweet flavor profile. When brewed using a Chemex, additional flavors of allspice, orange, and plum emerge, creating a pleasant reminiscent of a sweet chutney.
Java Planet Guatemala Organic
For those who prioritize sustainability and fair trade practices, Java Planet's Guatemala Organic coffee is an excellent option. The beans for this coffee are sourced from a single family farm in Guatemala. The fair-trade coffee is shade-grown and intercropped with guava, plantain, and banana trees. Notably, it has low acidity, making it suitable for individuals with sensitive stomachs.
With a medium roast, the Guatemala Organic coffee showcases classic chocolate and caramel flavors. When brewed in a Chemex, its clean taste truly shines, offering a subtle fruity undertone to the quintessential coffee flavor.
Peet's Coffee Single Origin Brazil
If you have difficulty finding the other recommended options, Peet's Coffee Single Origin Brazil offers a readily available alternative. This coffee originates from the Minas Gerais region in Brazil, located in the Amazon Rainforest's south central part.
This single-origin coffee is medium roasted, resulting in a smooth, round, and balanced flavor. When brewed in a Chemex, the coffee becomes even more indulgent, taking on notes of milk chocolate, hazelnut, and sweet fruit.
Cooper's Kenya AA Single Origin Medium Dark Roast
While the Chemex is most suited for light and medium roasts, there are options available for dark roast enthusiasts. Cooper's Cask Coffee, a family-owned business based in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, offers their Kenya AA Single Origin coffee as a medium-dark roast (though it is recommended not to go even darker in a Chemex).
The Kenya AA bean used is of the Bourbon varietal, selected for its bittersweet chocolate and tart dark cherry flavors. Brewed in a Chemex, the coffee exhibits additional notes of honey, molasses cookie, and dark fruit.
You can find Johanna at https://JohannaHaas.com. She is a former professor who currently works as a freelance writer and editor. Among her loves are coffee, cats, and creativity.
Recommended Coffee Roast for Chemex
When brewing with a Chemex, you have a variety of options for coffee roast. Most people prefer medium roasted coffee beans for their Chemex brews. However, lightly roasted coffee beans from small farms with limited batches are also popular choices.
For my Chemex brews, I personally enjoy using medium roasted coffee beans. The combination of complex flavors and a well-balanced roast level creates an amazing taste experience.
That being said, specialty coffees with lighter roasts can also be a delightful choice. The Chemex filters remove some of the flavors, resulting in a balanced flavor profile that may be new to your palate.
Many coffee enthusiasts opt for light or medium roast coffee beans from small farms. These beans offer unique flavors that the Chemex brewing method can elevate to an even higher level.
Below, I will discuss five countries that offer outstanding coffee options. Through a taste test, you can make an informed decision about which coffee origin suits your preferences best.
Correct Grind Size for Chemex
To achieve the best possible taste in your Chemex coffee, it is crucial to use the correct grind size. Through my experience, I have found that using a medium to fine grind works best for extracting all the flavors from the coffee beans.
The photo below showcases the coffee grind size I use when brewing coffee with my Chemex:
As you can see, the coffee grind size appears quite fine, slightly finer than coarse sea salt. While it still maintains some structure, it is not overly coarse.
If you own a coffee grinder at home, I recommend experimenting with different grind settings. Adjust the grind size finer or coarser with each brewing session.
If your coffee tastes slightly sour, try using a finer grind. On the other hand, if your coffee has bitter notes, it is possible that the grind is too fine, resulting in over-extraction. In this case, adjust to a coarser setting.
Brewing your dream coffee at home involves some trial and error. However, this process allows you to explore various coffees from different origins along the way.
Once you find the perfect grind setting on your coffee grinder, you won't want to go back to using a different coffee brewer anytime soon.
How to Make Chemex Coffee
If you have just finished reading this article about the best coffee beans to use for Chemex and you haven't had the opportunity to brew coffee with a Chemex before, I recommend checking out my pour-over guide.
The pour-over guide includes instructions specifically for using the Chemex, ensuring you know exactly how to brew an amazing cup of joe.
If you are interested in reading the article, click here to be directed straight to the article.
In that article, you will find more details about Chemex coffee brewing, including the coffee-to-water ratio and the differences between pour-over coffee and other brewing methods.
In conclusion, if you're a coffee lover looking to elevate your brewing game, the Chemex is a must-have. Its sleek design and unique brewing method not only result in a clean and flavorful coffee, but also make it a stunning addition to any kitchen. Remember to choose a high-quality coffee bean, grind it to the perfect size, and follow the step-by-step guide on how to use the Chemex. With a little practice and attention to detail, you'll be enjoying the best coffee imaginable, right in the comfort of your own home. Cheers to the perfect cup of Chemex coffee!
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