Invented by a chemist to improve filter-type (infusion) brewing, Chemex have a devoted following of folks ...count my own mother as one of them. The cornerstone to this method is the Chemex brand filters; they are 20-30% heavier than any other filter and are a special paper formulation to remove undesirable sediment but allow positive aromatic compounds to pass through.
The fine paper grain holds back "mud," while permitting correct filtration speed: a Chemex brews at least 1-2 minutes slower than normal paper filters, more in line with the optimal time that hot water and grinds should contact each other: 4 minutes. The Chemex filter paper is heavy - so pre-rinsing is essential. You can also try using a Hario V-shaped filter in the Chemex - Tom posted a YouTube video on this.
The Chemex is all glass and the easiest-to-clean brew device out there. Maybe the best thing about the Chemex is that you see the process, interact, make changes. There's a lot to be said for that, and we shouldn't dismiss it.
Everyone has their pour technique (let the coffee pre-infuse/bloom or not, pre-wet the filter, pour at a particular rate) and the results are there in the cup. Machines don't allow for this, usually.
Want to impress your friends? Tell them that your Chemex is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. We have a new page with full instructions for Chemex brewing.
Interested in what Chemex users are saying about their brewers? Check out the Sweet Maria's Coffee Home Roasting Forum for more conversation about this home roasting and other home roasting topics.
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