As a journalist and graduate student, coffee is like an old friend.
It’s hard to imagine that about four years ago, I couldn’t even choke down a sugar-filled Starbucks mocha. Now, it’s sometimes difficult to choke down a Starbucks mocha, but for entirely different reasons.
My coffee journey has gone past the occasional coffee drink with lots of sugar and flavors to the stronger espresso drinks with just the slightest amounts of milk and flavoring.
So, for Christmas, one of my best friends decided he would merge my love of coffee with my love of science and get me a Chemex.
For non-coffee addicts, a Chemex is an Erlenmeyer Flask-like coffee brewer that is beautifully simplistic. But as the name suggests, it takes making a cup of coffee and converts it into an almost scientific process — requiring a kitchen scale for extra precision and a coffee grinder to get the coffee ground just right.
But for real, it’s a beautiful coffee maker. It’s so simple and really fits in with any kitchen décor, more so than my giant Keurig that takes up so much counter space.
So the process of using a Chemex is relatively simple though at some points, it feels like you’re babying your coffee.
You grind your coffee beans to a medium-coarse grind. You take your Chemex filter (Yes, you need to buy special filters. I got mine for about $10 for 100 at Williams-Sonoma) and insert it into the top of the Chemex. You should have a three-layer portion when you insert it; this will go right over the pouring spout.
Here’s where some of the babying happens. You have to wet the filter with a little bit of boiling, filtered water to get the paper taste out of the coffee and dump the water out before you continue brewing.
Then you add in about one tablespoon of ground coffee for every 5 ounces of coffee you want, I use about 6 tablespoons. Once you have the appropriate amount of coffee in your filter, add a little bit of water to allow the coffee to bloom for about 30 seconds.
Now, you slowly pour the rest of the water — approximately until your kitchen scale has indicated that you have added 700 grams of water to the Chemex. If the grind is correct, the coffee should finish brewing in about four minutes.
Pour the coffee and enjoy.
I’ll admit that while I love coffee, I’m still learning about the nuances of coffee brewing. But there’s definitely a noticeable difference in the taste of Chemex brewed coffee and coffee I brew in, say, my Keurig or in a coffee maker.
I love my Chemex. I admit that it probably doesn’t have a place in my already busy morning routine, but it’s a nice treat for myself on weekends. Plus, my inner scientist enjoys the nerdiness that comes from brewing coffee from a Chemex.