The Chemex was invented in 1941 by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm, PhD, an eccentric chemist who, throughout his career, has developed over 300 patents. His focus was on making everyday objects more functional, attractive and enjoyable to use. The iconic Chemex, and its hourglass shape, has remained unchanged for over 70 years. In 1943, the Museum of Modern Art in New York displayed it as one of the best-designed products.
The Chemex was also selected by the Illinois Institute of Technology as one of the 100 best designed products of modern times. The Chemex can be found in museums throughout the world such as the Corning Museum of Glass, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and is included in the permanent collection at the Brooklyn Museum. Better yet, it lives on our coffee shelf and in our coffee lab, is an integral part of our family, and is our go-to brewer.
It is also owned by a family business, like Abide Culture Coffee Roasters.
While there are different brewing methods using the Chemex, this is our preferred method at Abide Culture Coffee Roasters:
Abide Culture Coffee: whole bean [50g]
Chemex [8 cup]
hot water [900g](off-boil, around 195°F-200°F)
•a burr grinder allows the grind to be more consistent.
measure out 50g of coffee [dose] and grind it medium/coarse: about 1000-1100µm.
NOTE: when using a lighter roast—for better extraction—grind a little finer and lower your water:bean ratio. if using a 16:1, try a 15:1 or 14:1.
place a chemex filter into the top of the hourglass. if using a tri-fold, open up the filter so that three of the filter squares are placed where the spout is located. rinse the filter using hot water: in a circular motion, starting in the center, outward. this is important because it rinses the paper flavor and heats the bottom of the hourglass. dump the water and place the chemex on your scale.
pour your ground coffee into the center of the filter, leveling it out with a little shake to create a flat bed. tare—or zero—the scale. start your timer and begin the pour, from the center outward, careful not to pour on the filter. pour between 100-150g of water and stop, allowing the coffee to "bloom", or expand. the bloom should last about 60-90 seconds. this step is crucial since this is where the extraction bloom begins. The coffee will not bloom a second time.
NOTE: first pour water amount should be between double to triple the amount of your coffee dose.
the kubomi method: the kubomi method is an old brewing technique which is used to create a downward spiral divot in your coffee dose to help evenly saturate the coffee grounds during the bloom. after the filter is rinsed, the filter is properly dosed, and the coffee bed is flat; using either a chopstick or glass stir stick [we prefer the glass]: vertically place the bottom of the utensil into the coffee and gently press down to the bottom of the bed. careful—as to not rip through the filter—slide the utensil to the side brewer [preference: left or right] using a circular counter/clockwise [again, preference] motion to the center of the bed. once in the middle of the spiral, remove the utensil. this is the kubomi method.
begin the second pour, following the same pouring pattern, center outward; avoid pouring on the filter. pour around 200g of water.
begin the third pour, following the same pouring pattern, center outward; avoid pouring on the filter. pour around 200g of water.
begin the fourth pour, following the same pouring pattern, center outward; avoid pouring on the filter. this should be the last pour, finishing at 800g of volume on the scale. the whole pour process should take about four minutes.
allow the water to drip through the coffee entirely. once finished, discard the filter and coffee grounds.
TIP: instead of throwing away used coffee grounds, we like to add them into our compost mixture.
swirl. pour. sip. enjoy.