I have been in search of the perfect cup of coffee for a long time now. As an avid coffee drinker, the daily “grind” includes multiple cups; not just to keep me going, but to give me something to look forward to when I wake up!
For the last several years my home brew has been like many others were I put the K-cup into the Keurig, push the backlit button, and wait for my cup to fill. But a few months ago I started craving more. The pre-measured K-cups just were’t cutting it. I had tried the darkest roasts I could find, but they just weren’t enough.
Finally, I have discovered how to make the best cup of coffee yet. After doing quite a bit of research I settled on getting a Chemex, which turned out to be a great decision.
I purchased everything I would need in stages; electing to use pre-ground coffee for a while, rather than grinding my own whole beans. Part of this was because I wanted to learn the process without ruining expensive coffee beans, but also having everything needed for the best cup can actually cost more than a Keurig.
To start, I bought the Chemex, a kettle, and Chemex filters along with pre-ground coffee I purchased from the store; usually Starbucks French Roast. After getting the hang of the process, which isn’t hard, I purchased a food scale and a coffee grinder. I am now grinding my own coffee and I have never had a better cup!
Here is the full process I go through:
Step 1: Put a Chemex filter into the Chemex with the triple layer on the spout side (you will understand this when you go to do it). Chemex sells both cone and square shaped filters – I have only used the cones, but it seems like there isn’t much of a difference.
Step 2: Put warm water in your kettle and pre-wet the filter.
Step 3: Pour out the excess water after wetting the filter. This is important to remember because your coffee will be watered down if you forget. And trust me, I have read about plenty of people that forget to do this!
Step 4: Heat up enough water for the amount of coffee you want to make. I purchased the 8-cup Chemex, but they make a tiny 3-cup, a small 6-cup and a larger 10-cup. When I started paternity leave I was drinking an entire pot each morning (40 oz) which is clearly way more than I should have; but it’s so good! For the last few weeks I have been making half a pot. I fill up my “Dad EST. 2016” mug with water twice (and sometimes a little more), dump it in the kettle, and then get the water boiling. **You do not want to pour boiling water on your coffee, though. The recommend temperate is between 180-200 F.
Step 5: Once you have the water heating up, measure out the amount of coffee beans you want to use. This is totally dependent on how strong you like your coffee, and the type you are using. For me, I like a strong dark roast, so I often lean on the side of having extra. The most recent beans I have been purchasing call for 2.5 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 5 ounces. Even for me that is too much, but over time, as you experiment, you will find the right balance of coffee to water.
Step 6: Make sure to set your coffee grinder on the right setting. For the Chemex you should be close to the coarse side so you will see in the picture below the black dot is almost all the way to coarse for me.
Step 7: Put your beans in the grinder and start grinding.
Step 8: Take your ground coffee out, put it into your pre-wet filter, and pour your 180-200 F water onto the grounds. This is an area were it is more of an art rather than a science. For the first pour, all you want to do is get enough water in there to get the coffee grounds wet so that they can “bloom”. You will want to let them sit for 30 seconds to a minute once you do this.
You should’t really see any standing water while you are getting the coffee to “bloom”.
Step 9: Now that you have let the coffee grinds sit wet for a minute, you can go ahead and start pouring in the rest of the water. Chemex recommends that you follow either a circular or lined pattern making sure to cover all of the grounds as you slowly start to fill it up with water.
Step 10: It will likely take two or three pours depending on how many cups you are making. When I switched to only filling it half way, I could get away with two pours rather than the four or more it was taking me before. As you are pouring, be sure not to fill the water all the way to the top of the cone. Leaving a quarter inch or more is recommended.
Step 11: Once you have let the water drain out completely, remove the filter.
Step 12: Pour your fresh coffee into your favorite mug. I have seen a lot of recommendations that you should pre-heat your mug. I have never done this and my coffee tastes great, but certainly an option.
Step 13: Put the lid on your Chemex (sold separately) and place it on the warmer on your stove to come back to after you are done with your first cup!
Hope you enjoy. If you have any leads on a fantastic brand of coffee, let me know; I am always open to trying new ones!