How to Use a Chemex

The Chemex coffeemaker makes it easy to brew great tasting pour over coffee at home. When paired with our Charleston Coffee Roasters coffee, the Chemex produces coffee that is smooth, clean, flavorful, and never bitter.

Charleston Coffee Roasters - How to Use a Chemex

Surprisingly, the Chemex coffeemaker has been around since 1941. Invented by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm PhD, the design has changed little since then and is widely recognized for its classic design. The Chemex coffeemaker is made of an hourglass shaped heat resistant borosilicate vessel, which does not impart any flavor to the coffee. Add to that the double bonded Chemex paper filter, which extracts all of the coffee’s flavor notes. So go ahead and make your coffee as strong as you like!

Brewing coffee with the Chemex is a straight forward pour over process. But we do recommend you follow a few tips in order to brew the best tasting cup of coffee. 


Since the water will be passing through the coffee grounds and the filter, be sure to use a medium coarse grind. Use a burr grinder to freshly grind the beans. A burr grinder grinds the beans to a uniform size. You are looking for a grind that looks something like coarse salt. Read here for more information on grinding your coffee.


Another key factor in making Chemex coffee is to know the proper ratio of coffee to water. This will ensure that you get a nice flavor that is not too strong or too weak. So memorize this formula, and use it every time: 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 ounces of fresh water.

One of the great things about a Chemex is that you can easily brew coffee for a crowd, even up to 12 cups with a large vessel. Just multiply the ratio above for the number of cups you would like to make. Or if you don’t have a large brewer, you can easily and quickly make batches of coffee that you can transfer to a thermal pot to keep warm.


As mentioned, one of the unique features of the Chemex is the double bonded paper filter. You will want to be sure to open up the cone so that one side of the filter has three layers. Place this three-layer portion over the pouring spot to filter any grit or sediment.

Make sure that you use fresh cold water, preferably filtered. Never use distilled or soft water. Bring your water to a boil, remove from heat, and let the water sit for about 30 seconds to one minute. You want the water to be just off the boil in order to unlock all of the great flavors inside or your beans, and to avoid scorching the beans.

Another tip is to first pour a small amount of water over the filter to dampen and preheat the brewer. Just be sure to pour out this water before you add the coffee grounds to the filter, and brew your coffee.


Now that we have the brewer, grounds, and water ready, here is the step-by-step method for making great Chemex coffee:

  1. Open the Chemex filter so that one side of the cone has three layers. Place the filter into the top of the Chemex, making sure that the three layer portion covers the pouring spout.
  2. Bring 6 ounces of cold filtered water (per cup) to a boil. Remove from heat, and let sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. Pour a little hot water over the filter, just enough to dampen it. Swirl this water around the inside of the brewer, and then carefully pour it out via the pour spout.
  4. Place 2 tablespoons (per cup) of medium coarse grind Charleston Coffee Roasters coffee into the filter.
  5. Gently pour a little water over the grounds to wet them, and wait for about 30 seconds.
  6. Once the grounds have “bloomed”, continue slowly pouring water over the grounds in a circular motion to be sure that all of the grounds are wet.
  7. After all of the water has passed through the filter, carefully remove the filter with the grounds and discard.
  8. Pour yourself a cup and enjoy!