How to brew the perfect Chemex at home
When I was a child the idea of coffee came to me as something very adult. It was a drink that my father would partake in ritual with most days. One in the morning, a few during the day and always one at night. Despite the frequency at which my dad would drink coffee, both of my parents would tell me that I wasn't allowed to have it until I was a bit older. To put me off even further, my mum hated the stuff. She would insist on using another spoon/ washing the tainted spoon used to stir my fathers coffee before stirring the sugar into her tea with it. All of these factors lead my little child brain to subconsciously put coffee in the same realm as alcohol. It was an adult drink. It apparently tasted awful & it was something that would have an effect on me that was quite out of the ordinary.
When I got a little bit older and wiser, and realised coffee was nothing like alcohol, I decided to make my first cup 'o Joe. For once I had to side with my Mum on this one. It was godawful. It was bitter & tasted as muddy as it looked. In hindsight, I realise these first impressions were probably due to the fact that I was drinking stale blend 43. In spite of these bad experiences, over the years I continued to incorporate coffee into my life.
After working in many different coffee stores, stocking a variety of blends, I started to think about how coffee is experienced. I've realised, coffee can be either an individual experience or a social experience. I have noticed in my field of work that coffee is predominantly used as a catalyst/common ground to socialise with friends and family. To go out & grab a cup of coffee is something we are very accustomed to. Similarly, enjoying coffee by ones self is also a valid experience. Whilst analysing coffee like this, I started to question how coffee could be seen as something beyond the social, something communal.
In comparison, food is something that is very communal. We can all take from the same dish of food or the same pot of stew & enjoy its flavours equally. In contrast, you can't really take a sip of your friends cappuccino & say that was a good all rounded experience. I wanted to know how you could make coffee communal. How could you brew a large quantity of good quality coffee that you could share with your friends.
When searching for the answers to my questions a barista pointed me in the direction of a Chemex. By using a Chemex you have access to the easiest way to share glorious filter coffee with your friends with a bit of finesse. He told me that the apparatus allows you to make 1- 6 cups in next to no time & the filter coffee can be served hot or chilled.
Here is how to enjoy a cup of filter with your friends from the same origin.
14 grams of ground coffee // 200ml of water (1 serve/cup)
(This ratio is crucial to to getting the best extraction. Ask your local barista which beans they stock are best Chemex brewing)
1. Wet your Chemex filter paper with hot water. This rinses your filter paper & also warms your soon to be filled Chemex. Place the 7g of coffee into the paper and level out. ( If you wish to share this brew, for example with three friends you will need 21grams /600ml of hot water).
The grind quality of your coffee should be moderate-coarse to coarse. If you can grind your beans fresh that would be prefereable. However, you don't have your own at home grinder, ask your local barista to grind your beans for you.
2. The water you use for extraction should be between 89 degrees celsius & 96 degrees. Tare your scale. Pour enough water over the coffee grounds to saturate. Agitate the coffee grounds with a metal spoon after initial saturation. This step is called blooming. Allow to bloom for about 30 seconds.
3. Pour water (100ml at a time) over the coffee grounds in a circular motion ,waiting in between pours for the liquid to partially drip all the way through the filter paper. You can agitate the coffee as you continue along (optional).
4. Repeat step 3. Your chemex is done once you have reached the desired number of serves (approx 200ml). A 2 cup Chemex should take approximately 2:30 minutes to brew.
5. Decant your freshly brewed coffee into the nearest friends cup. Enjoy while you talk about how bomb your coffee is.