How to Make Coffee with a Chemex

The Chemex is less expensive than many home coffee brewers, but it produces a cup that coffee expert Mike Phillips says is far superior. Get tips on grinding coffee correctly for a Chemex, plus how to master a slow, two-stage pouring technique.

Released on 3/24/2010

Credits

Starring: Mike Phillips

Transcript

00:00
(upbeat music)
00:05
(mellow house music)
00:13
Hello, my name is Mike Phillips.
00:15
I'm with Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea.
00:17
Today, we're gonna teach you how to brew a Chemex.
00:20
This is a paper filter brewing device that falls
00:23
into the category known as a pour-over.
00:26
Which basically is any type of brewer where you
00:29
pour the water over coffee in a manual fashion.
00:33
One of the first things you want to do
00:35
with any type of paper filter brewing device,
00:37
even if it's your home machines that have the basket
00:40
with the paper filter in it, you want to rinse that filter.
00:43
Paper filters tend to have a little bit of a papery taste
00:46
associated with them, as you might expect.
00:49
So if you run a little bit of hot water through there,
00:51
it's going to help rinse out that taste.
00:54
And also, the water that goes into the bottom
00:56
is gonna preheat the vessel.
00:59
So now I'm gonna weigh out some coffee.
01:02
There's a golden rule that's a really safe place to start
01:05
where you use two grams of coffee
01:06
for every one ounce of water.
01:08
So I've worked with this coffee a little bit,
01:11
and I found that about 60 grams and 28 ounces of water
01:16
produces a really nice cup.
01:18
So that's what we're gonna go with.
01:20
And you're gonna want to grind this up fresh
01:22
right before you brew.
01:23
That's all of your essential elements to making good coffee.
01:27
This is going to be a little bit finer
01:28
than you would for a French press,
01:30
but still a decently coarse grind.
01:34
We're gonna add that to there.
01:38
(grinding)
01:41
Okay, so we've just ground our coffee fresh.
01:44
We've got water that I'm preheating in the Chemex here.
01:48
We'll pull that filter and get the water out.
01:57
So now we are ready to brew.
02:00
We're gonna have water just off the boil
02:02
about 10 to 20 seconds.
02:03
You don't want it still boiling.
02:05
It's gonna be a little too hot for brewing.
02:09
Add your coffee there.
02:11
Now, what we're gonna start with.
02:15
Pouring technique is really important for a Chemex.
02:17
You can do it in fairly easy ways,
02:19
but one thing that you really want to focus on
02:23
is what's called a bloom.
02:25
If you'll notice, I'm doing a very slow pour.
02:28
And what I'm going to do is I'm going to try
02:31
and get all those grounds wet.
02:33
I want to saturate them all.
02:35
And then, if you can see that coffee's starting
02:38
to expand a little bit.
02:39
That's where the term bloom comes in.
02:42
What's happening is there's turbulence where the water
02:44
is pushing out gases that are still in the coffee.
02:47
That's assuming it's fresh.
02:49
You're not going to see such a pronounced bloom
02:50
on stale coffee.
02:52
So you let that occur for about 20 to 30 seconds.
02:56
You'll notice that it's done
02:58
when there's a slight collapse to it.
03:00
And this means that you're ready to start your pour.
03:03
Now, to keep it simple, there's all different techniques
03:06
people use for this.
03:07
We're going to do two separate pours.
03:11
Looks like that's about ready there.
03:13
The first pour we're gonna use this really thin stream
03:19
to go in a circle.
03:21
We're saturating all of that coffee,
03:23
getting the crust in there that develops,
03:27
slowly bringing that water level up to the top
03:30
keeping everything wet.
03:33
Now, once you've brought it up
03:35
with probably about two-thirds of the water
03:38
that's in the kettle,
03:40
you're gonna let it sink down a little bit.
03:43
And then this last pour, we're gonna do
03:44
right into the middle of the Chemex.
03:46
And what this is gonna do is it's gonna push more so
03:49
to the bottom of the filter and that's gonna stir
03:52
those grounds around.
03:53
If you keep going around the edges,
03:55
the coffee will tend to settle in the bottom of the cone,
03:58
and choke out the extraction, make it go very slow.
04:01
So you don't want to let that water get too low
04:03
before you start this last pour here.
04:07
And you keep that right towards the middle there,
04:10
and this is gonna really agitate those grounds
04:12
in the bottom of the cone.
04:14
Keep that extraction occurring all throughout
04:16
at a nice, even pace.
04:19
This kettle's really nice, because you can speed up
04:21
or slow down as you need to keep that water level
04:25
right where you want it.
04:27
And if you've done this properly, you're gonna see
04:30
that the grinds kind of stick to the edge of the cone
04:33
and slide all the way down.
04:34
If at the end, all the coffee grounds are
04:37
in the very bottom of the filter,
04:39
that means you may need to switch up your pouring technique,
04:42
because you got all the coffee concentrated down there,
04:45
and you probably overextracted the brew just a little bit.
04:48
So now, we're down to the last few drips.
04:51
The extraction's pretty much finished,
04:53
took about three minutes, three and a half minutes.
04:56
And as you can see, the grinds are all around the edge there
05:00
that's the sign of a good extraction.
05:03
You're gonna pull that filter out,
05:08
and that is a finished Chemex.
05:11
Now, this is a relatively inexpensive brewing device.
05:15
It's probably cheaper than most home brewers.
05:17
And it easily produces a cup that I personally think
05:22
is far superior.
05:25
Clean, articulate, and it tastes fantastic.