How to Use a Chemex Coffee Maker

Brewing coffee is an art form. For some, it’s a passion. Coffee makers come in all shapes and sizes, but the Chemex has something that other machines don’t: beauty. The glass carafe with its hourglass shape is one of the most iconic symbols of modern design. It also produces an amazingly rich brew. Here are our tips for getting the best results from your Chemex every time!

1. What is a Chemex coffee maker and how does it work ?

The Chemex uses a paper filter in a conical glass carafe. The coffee is steeped for a few minutes then the water passes slowly through the grinds into the carafe. It’s best with medium to coarse grinds. This type of filter is known as a ‘drip brew’ filter and it uses about 30% more coffee than other filters like cone-shaped baskets (in our experience)– around 1 heaping tablespoon per cup. A chemex can produce up to 8 cups at once depending on your preferences, but we recommend dividing your water and coffee equally between each cup or mug you fill. [1] [2]

Chemex filters definitely make cleaner tasting brew than many paper filters. However, using a paper filter does help cut down on caffeine loss since the oils usually associated with ‘french press’ brews are filtered.

2. Why use a Chemex coffee maker over other methods ?

The Chemex is incredibly easy to use. It’s easier than using a french press because there are no tamping issues with this drip brew method. The only requirement is to grind your beans fine enough (for the filter) but coarse enough (not too powdery) for even extraction. There are also no worries about clogging in the narrow neck that sometimes plagues French Press machines . [3]

Brewing coffee with Chemex filters results in great tasting, clean-tasting coffee without any grounds in it at all! Check out our other article on why paper filters produce cleaner, less bitter coffee for more information! [4]

There are so many ways to make coffee but few combine beauty and flavor in a convenient package like the Chemex.

3. How to use a Chemex coffee maker properly :

Grind 30g of coffee beans with a burr grinder or hand mill. Any grind will work, but if you’ve never used a Chemex before it’s best to start on the coarser end.

Fill your filter with grounds and shake until even. Scraping off the edges is helpful for this since there are usually very few clumps in the center of the filter that would otherwise be missed . Don’t press down on your grounds! The filter they come with is strong enough to stay put without squeezing.

Pour 150g water up to the 2-3 line on your glass brewer. Use boiling water instead of waiting for it to boil–it helps cut about 10 seconds off brew time per cup. . [5]

Brew for 3 minutes. If you want a little more flavor but don’t want to add another minute, try steeping for 4 minutes and letting your coffee sit in the Chemex for a few seconds before drinking.

4. Tips for using your Chemex coffee maker effectively, including cleaning instructions

The Chemex is a well-made machine that can last you a lifetime. The biggest enemy to this beauty is calcium buildup–so if you want to use it for years, you’ll need to clean your brewer from time to time! It’s easy to clean the Chemex but there are two main issues: 1) the filter and 2) sediment in the glass carafe. Soak filters separately after each session or if you leave them in, soak them together at least once a month. Rinse thoroughly with water until no coffee oils remain on either part… . [6]

3M has designed an awesome cleaner specifically for removing mineral deposits from the glass carafe and other honed stone pieces. This cleaner is sold in grocery stores, hardware stores or online . If you don’t want to buy their cleaner, mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda to every cup of water used for brewing. Pour the mixture into your carafe to soak overnight. Then rinse thoroughly until no foam remains on top.

If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly solution that won’t harm the environment, try using white vinegar instead–just use equal parts vinegar and water. Soak overnight with your filters inside if possible. Rinse well afterwards since there will be an acetic acid left behind which might affect the taste of future cups! You can also give it a quick scrub with a sponge or brush but be sure to rinse again before putting it away.

As always, if you try any of these methods the final taste is up to your preferences! Chemex coffee makers are incredibly versatile and give you great control over your cup. We hope this helps you get started brewing with one–and especially that it encourages you to stay loyal to your brewer by cleaning often!

5. FAQs on the Chemex Coffee Maker

Is the Chemex coffee maker dishwasher safe? This is one of our favorite features. You can safely put any part of your brewer in the dishwasher for thorough cleanings, though we recommend rinsing it before you brew again just to be on the safe side.

Do I need a special filter when using my Chemex coffee maker? No! Any filter will do–the Chemex comes with its own unique filter which you might prefer to use but there are no hard and fast rules about this issue.

How many cups does the Chemex make per batch? The glass carafe holds up to 34 ounces (1L) of coffee at once. Since 1 cup equals 6 ounces, that gives you 2-3 cups per batch depending on how strong you like your coffee.

Which is better, paper filters or cloth ones? It’s all up to you! You can brew without either of them; the goal with either filter is always to make sure your coffee tastes as pure as possible. Some people prefer everything about their Chemex experience to be super clean and pure, while others like some tasty oils in their cup (which usually requires either a paper or cloth filter).

What do I do if there are clumps in my filter when I’m using it? This happens once in awhile for some reason–and doesn’t mean that you have a defective unit! Just reduce the amount of coffee grounds until the clumps disappear.


The Chemex is an incredibly versatile coffee maker that can be used for many different types of brewing methods. This article provides you with some tips on how to use your Chemex Coffee Maker effectively, including cleaning instructions and FAQs about the machine. If you want help using this type of brewer in your own home or business, feel free to contact us–we’re happy to provide our expertise in any way we can!

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