How to Brew Coffee With The Chemex

By Evelina •  Updated: 07/05/21 •  7 min read

When Peter Schumacher invented a new way to brew coffee, he made history with his design for a simple yet functional device that revolutionized how people drink coffee around the world today.

Peter Schlumbohm invented the Chemex coffee maker in 1941. Schlumbohm was known for his love of fresh coffee and for his unique creation and approach to brewing it. The Chemex is a traditional glass and metal coffee pot with a cone shaped filter. It has been used by experts as well as enthusiasts in the home brewing industry.

Schlumbohm’s invention has been around for more than 75 years now, but it is still widely used today because it brews coffee with much less bitterness than other methods such as French press or drip coffee makers.

The paper filter removes all sediments and oils which can affect the taste of the coffee. The grounds are placed in the bottom of the filter, and the coffee is brewed using water that is held in a carafe.

In this article we will cover how to make coffee with the chemex and some tips and suggestions on how to get the most out of the brewer.

The Chemex Brewing Process

1. Pick The Right Grind Size

The recommended grind size for the chemex is medium to coarse. It will look similar to sea salt when ground. Using a different grind size will affect the way the coffee tastes.

2. Prepare The Filter

It’s time to prepare the filter. Simply, wash the filter with warm water and place it into the Chemex. There are two types of filters: one round and one square. The square filters are more popular because they allow for more control over the drip coffee.

3. Grind The Beans

Grind your desired amount of beans using either an electric grinder or a manual burr grinder. Use freshly ground beans to get maximum flavour.

4. Place The Grounded Coffee in The Filter

chemex brewing guide

The grounds are placed in the top of the Chemex. The filter will hold all the grounds and prevent any from getting into your final cup.

5. Add The Water

Start pouring the hot water slowly over the grounds. Using a steady pouring motion will prevent any coffee grounds from escaping through the filter.

6. Stirr Gently

Gently stir the grounds into the water. This should be done for about a minute in order to release more flavour from your beans.

7. Remove The Filter

After pouring all the water, wait for all the water to pass the filter and then remove it from the chemex.

8. Enjoy Your Coffee!

And it’s done! You should now have a delicious cup of coffee. Don’t forget to clean the Chemex right away.

Brewing Tips and Suggestions

1. Water Temperature

One thing to take note of is the water temperature. The ideal temperature range is between 185-195 degrees F.

2. Amount Of Coffee To Use

When brewing with the Chemex, it is recommended to use a 1:15 coffee to water ratio every time you brew. This will ensure that your coffee does not taste too watered down or bitter and you can enjoy the flavour of the beans.

3. Cleaning

The Chemex should be cleaned right away after brewing. It should be given a quick rinse with warm water and then air dried. This prevents any mineral deposits from getting into your next cup of coffee.

4. Paper Filter Storage

If you are not going to use your chemex for a day or two, then make sure to store your filters in a cool, dry place away from sunlight as this will cause the filters to crack with time due to the paper’s cellulose content.

5. Using A Grinder

If you are grinding your own beans, try grinding them just before brewing to ensure that they are fresh.

6. Agitation Matters

Sometimes stirring the grounds gently while you brew can make or break your cup of coffee. This happens because if you don’t stir, some grounds might not be evenly covered by water and thus the extraction process will lead to a cup with an unbalanced flavour. 

Read Also: How to Grind Coffee Beans Without A Grinder

6. The Chemex and Other Uses

The Chemex is not just limited to making coffee. It can also be used to brew tea, cold brew coffee, or even iced tea! Plus since it’s so aesthetically pleasing some people even use it as a vase. 

Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ

Why is my Chemex Coffee Bitter?

Bitter coffee usually means over-extracted coffee. Over extraction is the extraction of more coffee than is necessary to make a batch of coffee. It’s a problem that affects the flavor and quality of your coffee but it doesn’t have to be.

When you brew an over-extracted cup, you’re getting a little too much bitterness and acidity for your taste. The result is an overly strong yet too thin cup.

Coffee over extractions are caused by:

– Brewing different batches at different times or different days

– Brewing with very fine grinds

– Brewing with very hot water

– Over brewing or over steeping

The solution to this problem is simple. Make sure you are using the appropriate grind size for your Chemex. If that does not solve the problem, try changing other variables like a lower water temperature or a shorter brew time. 

Can you use any Filter for Chemex?

It is not recommended to use any filter but the Chemex paper filter. The purpose of the filter is to minimize sediments and oils that can affect the taste of your coffee.

Can you warm up Chemex Coffee?

It is not recommended to warm up your coffee in a Chemex as it may affect its flavour. However, it is totally up to you at the end of the day. 

Last Thoughts

The chemex is a highly efficient coffee maker that can produce a great tasting cup of coffee. However, it has its limitations and needs some practice to master.

You will need to pay attention while brewing in order to get the best flavour from your Chemex. In addition, you should make sure that you clean out the coffee maker immediately after brewing to prevent any sediments from affecting your next brew.

I hope this article was able to shed some light on how to make coffee with the chemex. Enjoy!


Evelina’s passion for coffee could never been hidden. Having worked as a barista, she learned the true value of the coffee bean and its secrets. As she continued to evolve as a barista, so did her knowledge, techniques on making different coffee blends and most importantly how to operate every kind of gear when it comes to coffee. Having a degree in biomedicine and being a barista, allows her to provide our community with in-depth knowledge surrounding the topics of coffee.