How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex

Posted on February 08 2022, By: Ana Ocansey

Pouring water into coffee in Chemex pitcher

What is my favorite coffee preparation method? Using the Chemex pitcher pour-over method! I first learned how to use it over 10 years ago at a class given in Manhattan at a local coffee shop after working hours. Those lessons have always stayed with me, though I am always learning different techniques and tweaks. 

My mid-morning pause 

Using my Chemex pitcher to prepare my morning coffee is part of my daily routine after walking my daughters to school during the week. Preparing my coffee in this method allows me to pause for the day before beginning my workday.  

Chemex pitcher with filter on weight scale with coffee grinder in the background

Equipment you need: 

  • Burr coffee grinder 
  • Food weight scale 
  • Chemex pitcher 
  • Chemex filter 
  • Gooseneck water kettle (not pictured above)


How I prepare it 

Boil filtered water 

I put filtered water to boil in my water kettle. Filtered water is key to a good cup of coffee. It makes up 98% of the coffee so depending on the chemical and mineral makeup of your water, the flavor and effects on your body can vary. I like to get the water’s temperature to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Weigh and grind the coffee 

While the water boils, I do most of the preparation. I weigh 50 grams of whole coffee beans and grind my burr grinder to grind it. The burr grinder leaves a more uniform grind compared to the blade grinder. The ground size is important. I use a medium-coarse grind since the coffee will be in contact with the water for about 4-5 minutes.  

Once the coffee is ground, I bring out the stars of the show; I bring the Chemex pitcher and a Chemex paper filter. I take this time to choose the coffee mugs I want for today. 

Put the filter, coffee, and water into the Chemex 

When you look at the folder filter, you see 4 folded sides. Take it and separate one of the paper folds from the other 3. The side with the 3 folds of paper is placed to the front of the Chemex filter.  When the water boils, I pour just enough water to wet the filter. Doing this helps remove the paper taste as well as warm up the pitcher. I swirl the water around the bottom of the Chemex pitcher and discard it once the water has emptied from the top. This should be around 30 seconds, enough time to get the water to the perfect temperature.  

I place the now warm Chemex pitcher on the scale and set it to 0 grams (g). There are different ratios people use, depending on personal taste. I like using a 1:14 ratio of coffee to water. I put the 50g of freshly ground coffee into the Chemex pitcher and re-set the scale to 0g. I then pour 100g of the hot water, just enough for the just-ground coffee grounds to get wet and bloom. I let it rest for about 30 seconds before adding the rest of the water. The bloom you see is the effects of the gas being released from the freshly ground coffee.


Add the rest of the water 

My technique is to add the water in one continuous flow, meaning I do not stop the flow. I slowly begin from the center and move in circles making my way toward the outer edge, without actually pouring water on the sides of the filter. I then begin bringing in the flow towards the center in the same slow direction.

Pouring water into coffee in Chemex

By the time I get to the center, there is usually about 500 grams of water. At this point, I leave the stream of water flowing in the center in a steady flow until the total weight gets to 700 grams. I take it off the weight scale and serve it into the mugs I picked for the day.


I share my coffee with my husband where we can sit down to enjoy a sweet pause in the morning. 

Though it seems the preparation may take a while, it is worth the extra time, and cleanup is very easy and fast.

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