The Chemex: Simplicity,  minimalism and a mildly predetermined extraction process One unique characteristic about the Chemex is it’s simplistic design and affinity to a minimalist lifestyle compared to other brewers […]

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The Chemex: Simplicity,  minimalism and a mildly predetermined extraction process

One unique characteristic about the Chemex is it’s simplistic design and affinity to a minimalist lifestyle compared to other brewers that fall in the pour-over category. The Chemex can be a standalone brewer if you need it to be. It’s not entirely required to use a gooseneck kettle as in the case of V60 brewing. You could actually just use your standard kettle that you use to boil water at home and just pour really slowly in as thin a stream as possible.Just be careful to not pour to aggressively around the edges as you could still create channeling and consequently an uneven extraction (albeit on a lower level to that of v60 brewing). I’m saying all of this because the standard filter for the Chemex is 20-30% thicker than other common brands and seems to restrict the flow rate and govern the brewing dynamic. In this way- immersion is more in play and extraction seems to occur a little slower. Thus, a longer extraction is inevitable and grinding in the coarser spectrum will only get you so far. This is a bonus for those who prefer the simpler life with less hassle.

Chemex Brewing

Chemex brewing

 

The Filter effects 

Chemex filters are the most effective I’ve ever encountered. Other common filters already remove up to 90% of the oils in coffee, and I suspect the Chemex removes even more. The oils in coffee are composed of a similar triglyceride composition to butter and cotton seed oil, and similarly can impart particular textural qualities to your brew. Oils, by their very nature carry aroma compounds in the cup, and get released as vapours when you take a sip.

Losing out on aroma compounds in this case is not such a bad thing. When oils get removed by means of an effective paper filter- acids are accentuated, and these are critical in adding structure to the cup, which essentially makes it feel more alive.

Using Chemex paper filtration can also be an effective means of making bad coffee taste a little better. A great deal of negative characteristics in coffee represent themselves as aroma compounds.

Pouring a Chemex

 

Conclusion

The Chemex brewer would be a good investment for someone who wants a tasty, hassle-free experience. I would highly recommend getting a scale, as you should still be working according to a particular coffee to water ratio just like any other brew method.

Enjoy the brews.

For a Chemex brew guide click here.

Buy your Chemex from Origin De Waterkant or Maboneng 

I’m the Head Roaster at Origin. I joined the company in 2008. My primary focus is on developing roast profiles for the diverse array of great coffees that we purchase throughout the year. I am interested in understanding what makes coffee special, such as processing, varietals and anything else pertaining to geographical distinction.

In my spare time, I focus on something a little different. I am an aspiring mycologist and nutrition enthusiast focusing on gourmet and medicinal mushrooms and the human microbiome. I also dabble in fermentation from time to time.