"Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well."
John W. Gardner.
One of the driving themes of the modern coffee industry has been to refine the processes that make up our daily cup.
In this tradition, much light has been cast on coffee producers, roasters, and baristas. However, deep behind the scenes are the craftsmen who have made the tools that allow us to refine our techniques and service. The professional coffee community has long been blessed with the tools created by the likes of Melitta Benz, Giuseppe & Bruno Bambi, Reg Barber, Paul Van Doren, and the countless others whose creations we rely on every day.
One such craftsman was chemist and inventor, Peter Schlumbohm. In 1941, he gave the coffee community one of the most iconic brewers of all time; the Chemex. Its flawless, all-glass, design has been an integral part of Coava's brew bar, but moreover it has been a constant reminder of the tradition of refinement. Schlumbohm's "goal was to create an attractive yet simple and fabulous vessel" and that he did. Over the years, it has won countless awards for design and has been given permanent honors in the Smithsonian and New York's Museum of Modern Art.
Schlumbohm's coffee maker wasn't just pretty, it was also functional. The glass brewer combined with his one-of-a-kind laboratory inspired paper filter added a level of flavor transparency to the coffee rarely seen before. This is due to the filters quality and density being upwards of 30% heavier than those found in other brew methods. The Chemex filter is often described as feeling closer to cloth than paper.
For this Brew Series post we used Benjamin Miranda's coffee from Honduras. The Chemex really highlighted how very clean his coffee really is. Among layers of complexity we found the fruity richness of a fig balanced by honey and pecan.
A couple of disclaimers for you to consider:
1) Due to popular request for our favorite method to "brew for two," we chose to highlight parameters for making two 10 ounce cups.
2) Though we always recommend purging your grinder with a little fresh coffee before grinding for your daily cup, it is much more important to do so for the Chemex. The quality of the filter pulls all sediment and some oils away from the coffee, so if your grinder has any old grounds/or oils clinging to it your brew may become noticeably tainted.
Standard Chemex Paper Filter
Dose: 40 Grams
Grind: #5.5 (for finding your grind visit our post here)
Total Water: 600 Grams
Yield: Two 10 Ounce Mugs
With this method one #coava250 gram bag yields 12 cups through the Chemex.
Step 1. Purge your grinder with 1.5 grams grind on #5.5
Step 2. Set your filter in the Chemex with three layers against the spout and one layer against the handle side.
Step 3. Preheat the Chemex and remove any paper filament by rinsing the filter with hot water thoroughly.
Step 4. Empty the Chemex of rinse water
Step 5. Add your freshly ground coffee to the bottom of the filter. Give it a light shake to help the ground settle evenly.
Step 6. Start your timer and gently pour 75 grams of 200 degree water into the coffee bed. Your pour should last no longer than 15 seconds and be done in an even circular motion.
Step 7. At 45 seconds, again gently pour in circles in order to resaturate the coffee and bring your overall water weight to 350 grams.
Step 8. At the 2:30 mark bring your water weight up to 600 grams by once again using a gentle circular pour.
Step 9. Depending on your grind and the density of the coffee you use your brew should finish between 3:30 - 4:00 minutes.
Now that you have the power... use it wisely.
Recommended Coffees For Brewing on the Chemex: