Kitchen Magic

Chemex – The Magic of a Perfect Cup of Coffee


I started drinking coffee in high school, long before I knew Chemex was a thing.

One day I was home from school with strep throat, feeling awful and studying for a statistics exam. My throat felt like it was full of stabby little knives and I was going cross-eyed trying to focus on combinations and permutations.

It was all around miserable.

cup of TIm Hortons Coffee
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Coffee is Magic!

My Mom came home after work and brought me a large Tim Horton’s Double Double (iykyk!)

I drank that hot coffee in about 10 minutes. It soothed my throat and gave me a burst of energy and I started to feel better. Like, a lot better.

I told my Mom excitedly, “I feel better! I think the coffee made me better!” I felt more and more like myself as the night went on and by the next day I was back at school and acing (well, not failing) my Stats exam and extolling the curative virtues of coffee.

My Mom and I still talk about the day the coffee miraculously healed me (couldn’t have been the antibiotics. LOL)

2 girls jumping for joy

The thing is, I still feel this way about coffee. It has gotten me through a lot!

My wild 20’s, two degrees and countless early morning classes; lack of sleep from 4am feedings with two babies, and long work days after rough nights when I still young enough to burn the candle at both ends.

And coffee continues to feel like a freakin’ miracle to my ‘approaching middle-age brain’ when the alarm goes off at ‘stupid-o’clock’ every morning before work.

Sweet, sweet life-giving caffeine!

I actually did my Honors Thesis on caffeine and the impact it has on the brain.

All this to say – I take my coffee very seriously!

coffee beans on table with a heart shape in the middle

Table of Contents

So, What the Heck is Chemex Coffee?

There are so many different factors that go into making the perfect cup of coffee, from the country of origin to the type of bean, from the roast to the grind. Given all that goes into coffee, adding new brewing methods – like Chemex or pour over brewing – can feel intimidating.

Well, f*ck that!

Chemex, or pour over coffee, may currently be trendy and it may sound fancy, but it is actually extremely simple and almost always results in a delicious, smooth cup of coffee.

Don’t Worry – Chemex is Easy!

Don’t let the fancy pants gatekeep Chemex coffee from you! Chemex is just a type of pour over coffee maker – and an easy to use one at that!

I’m going to break down Chemex pour brewing for you step by step.

With instructions on how to use this brewing method and guidance on how to pick the perfect beans for your Chemex endeavors!

Soon you’ll be a coffee connoisseur, expertly brewing delicious coffee to satisfy your unique tastes and preferences, your family’s tastes and preferences, your dinner guests, the mailman… you get it. You’ll be insufferable 🙂

Super Quick Coffee History

Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages, and it has been enjoyed for centuries. The coffee plant was first discovered in Ethiopia, and coffee beans were first roasted and brewed in Arabia. Coffee made its way to Europe in the 1600’s, and it quickly became a popular drink.

once upon a time written in coffee grinds

Fun Facts About Coffee

  • Today, coffee is grown in more than 50 countries around the world and is a main-stay in the morning, breakfast routines of millions around the world. (Because it’s miraculous, obvi!)

  • Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world, behind only crude oil

  • Coffee is a fruit. The coffee bean is actually the pit of the coffee fruit

  • When coffee berries turn from green to bright red, they are called “cherries”

  • 2% of the world’s population — about 125 million people — depend on coffee for their livelihood.

  • The average North American coffee drinker consumes about three cups of coffee a day

  • Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world, Colombia is second

  • The word “coffee” comes from the Arabic word for wine, “qahwah”

cherry fruit on tree

Chemex Pour Brewing

Chemex brewing was developed in 1941 by German chemist Dr. Peter Schlumbohm.

He designed the Chemex brewer with the intention of making a better cup of coffee. The Chemex brewer is a simple glass carafe with a conical filter attached to the top.

Chemex Coffee Maker Brewing Coffee

The coffee grounds are placed in the filter, hot water is added, and the coffee brews through the filter into the carafe below.

When brewed correctly, Chemex coffee is smooth and flavorful, leaving no bitter aftertaste or icky sediment at the bottom of your mug. It is actually one of the easiest brewing methods and gives you much more control over than your standard drip machine.

So HOW Do You Make Chemex Pour Coffee?

First – Get Your Chemex Gear!

Chemex Brewer

Chemex coffee makers (pour over coffee makers) are actually quite elegant looking and take up very little space on your counter. We like this model. It works perfectly and looks nice too!

Coffee Filters (aka Paper filters or Chemex filters)

These coffee filters are made specifically for Chemex coffee makers.

Coffee Beans (more about this below)

While we recommend finding a local roaster, if that’s not available, these beans from Kicking Horse Coffee OR these from Death Wish Coffee Co. are a great option. Both companies have a climate friendly pledge.

Coffee grinder (Burr)

Of course you can always buy your coffee pre-ground but grinding your own ensures the freshest coffee. A burr coffee grinder will give you the best flavor extraction. A burr grinder is a bit of an investment, but it is SO worth it if you want to level up your coffee experience! This grinder is very reasonably priced and has worked well for us for years!

Electric Kettle

Heat up some water with an electric kettle or boil some water on the stove. If you’re in the market for an electric kettle, this colorful little guy is just too fun!

Pitcher or measuring cup

Any measure cup or large container will do.

Chemex Brewing Instructions

  • First, grind your coffee beans. If you are using pre-ground coffee you can skip this step, but I do recommend grinding your beans fresh for the best flavor

  • Start heating your water on stove top or with electric kettle

  • Next, place the Chemex filter in the top of the Chemex coffeemaker and wet it with hot water. This will help remove any paper taste from the filter and will preheat the coffee maker

  • Add ground coffee to the paper filter. We recommend using about two tablespoons of coffee per cup

  • Once you have added your grounds, slowly pour hot water over them, being careful not to saturate the grounds too quickly

  • Allow the coffee to brew for four minutes before gently swirling the Chemex carafe (the bottom part of the coffee maker). After four minutes, continue slowly pouring hot water over the grounds until the carafe is full

  • Allow the coffee to finish brewing for six more minutes before removing the paper filter and discarding it. Pour your delicious Chemex-brewed coffee into a mug and enjoy!

For best results, use freshly roasted beans and grind the beans just before brewing.

Follow these simple steps and you will be on your way to enjoying the best coffee in a matter of minutes!

OK! But wait!

Great coffee starts before the brewing process, pour over, Chemex or otherwise!

First Things First – Beans!

The first step in brewing the perfect cup of Chemex coffee is to choose the right beans.

When it comes to choosing beans for a pour over or Chemex coffee machine, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Read on for all you need to know about Coffee Beans!

3 jars full of roasted coffee beans with cup of coffee beans spilled on the table

Country of Origin

When choosing beans you have a number of different countries of origin to choose from. To choose the right beans for you, it’s important to consider what kind of flavors you like. Do you prefer something fruity or nutty? Light or dark? Acidic or rich? Once you’ve decided on a general flavor profile, you can narrow down your choices by selecting a specific country of origin.


Coffee beans from Brazil tend to be nutty and sweet.

burlap bags of coffee beans from Brazil


Ethiopian coffees are often fruity and bright.


Guatemalan coffees often have chocolaty notes.


Colombian coffees tend to be well-rounded with a balanced acidity.

Type of Coffee Bean

Once you’ve selected a country of origin, the next step is to choose a specific bean type. The two most common types of coffee beans are Arabica and Robusta.


Arabica beans are the most popular type of coffee bean, and they are grown in countries all over the world. Arabica beans are known for their sweetness, complexity, and balance. They generally have a higher acidity than Robusta beans, and their flavor profiles can vary depending on the specific region they were grown in.


Robusta beans are less popular than Arabica beans, but they are still used in many blends. Robusta beans are known for their intense flavor, high caffeine content, and lower acidity. They often have a bitter or harsh taste. Although Arabica beans get most of the love, some people really like the more bitter, less acidic nature of Robusta.

Magic Beans

When I’m looking for an extra burst of clean energy, I sometimes substitute regular coffee beans with a coffee adaptogen mix. Read more about adaptogens here.

Our recommendation is to stick with Arabica beans – for most people, Arabica makes the best coffee.


After you’ve selected a country of origin and bean type, the next step is to choose a roast.

Light roasts tend to be more acidic, while dark roasts are often richer and sweeter.

Medium roasts fall somewhere in the middle. The roast you choose will also affect the caffeine content of your coffee.

Dark roast beans can be too intense for Chemex brewing or pour overs, and can result in a bitter cup of coffee. Choosing a light, medium, or medium/dark roast will result in a better coffee when using Chemex brewing.

Coffee beans lose their flavor quickly after they are roasted, so it’s important to use fresh beans for the best tasting cup of coffee. Choosing locally roasted beans are a great way to get the freshest beans – and you can support a local, small business while you’re at it!


When it comes to grind, a Chemex coffee maker is best used with a medium to coarse grind.

A coarser grind allows the water to flow through the filter without over-extracting the coffee the way a finer grind would. If your grind is too fine, your coffee will be over-extracted and taste bitter.

coffee grinds in a coffee filter

If your grind is too coarse, your coffee will be under-extracted and taste weak. Experiment with different grind sizes to find what works best for you.

A burr coffee grinder will give you the best grind and most include settings so you can choose how coarse of a grind you get.

That’s All Friends!

This is everything you need to know to make a perfect cup of pour over, or Chemex coffee. Pour over coffee brewing is easy and convenient.

You can even bring your Chemex camping! Just boil water over your campfire and bring some pre-ground beans and you’ll be enjoying a gourmet coffee experience in the middle of the woods.

I have a Chemex and coffee filters at work. I bring a small amount of ground beans each week and when I have trouble getting through an afternoon or find myself needing an extra caffeine boost in the morning.

It’s quick and easy to boil some water and brew up some delicious coffee. Your co-workers will swoon over how good it smells!

Mmmmm Coffee!