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Updated: March 29, 2019
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The Chemex coffee maker, so named because it was developed by the Chemex Corporation, is an hourglass-shaped glass device used for making coffee. The Chemex brewer is prized by many coffee enthusiasts for its low-tech design, allowance for minute control over the brewing process, and ability to filter oils and solids out of the coffee. Learning how to use a Chemex coffee maker is a very simple process, and will allow you to increase your coffee preparation repertoire.
Unfold the coffee filter into a conical shape. The ideal filter choice for use with a Chemex brewer is the Chemex-bonded filter. This filter is made from a very thick paper, which increases brewing time and prevents collapse, as the Chemex brewer does not support the underside of the filter. The filters are square-shaped, and can be folded into a cone by pulling 1 of the 3 folds away from the others.
Place the folded filter into the top of the brewer. The thicker side, with 3 folds of paper, should rest against the pouring spout of the brewer.
Wet the filter with hot water. Because Chemex filters are especially thick, they tend to impart an unpleasant papery taste to the coffee. This can be prevented by pre-wetting the filter. Pour a few ounces (50 ml or so) of hot water into the filter; the water should quickly wick up into the entire filter. Once the filter is soaked, pour the water out into the sink.
Place the ground coffee into the filter. Coffee should be ground using a medium setting, similar to the grind used for automatic drip coffee makers. Use 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of ground coffee per 3 fluid ounces (90 ml) of water.
Heat water to the proper temperature. For brewing coffee, water should be heated to between 195 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit (90 - 93 degrees Celsius). This can be achieved by letting water come to a rolling boil and then removing it from the heat source for 30 seconds.
Pour a small amount of water over the coffee grounds. Begin by pouring in a circular motion just enough water over the ground coffee to soak all of the grounds, but not enough to allow any of the coffee to float up onto the surface of the water. This process, called "blooming," allows the grounds to expand and prepares them for even extraction.
Pour the remaining water over the ground coffee. After allowing the coffee grounds to bloom, pour the rest of the water into the filter. It is best to pour a small amount at a time, as this keeps the overall volume of water low and ensures effective infusion.
Remove and discard the filter. Once the water has drained through the grounds (this process should ideally take 4 minutes), remove the filter, and discard it. Coffee grounds and filters can readily be composted.
Pour the coffee as desired. Pour the coffee by gripping the Chemex brewer by the wooden collar and tilting it. Do not attempt to place the glass brewer onto a heat source to warm the coffee; this can cause the glass to fracture.
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