How To Make Chemex Coffee: A Delicious Chemex Pour Over Recipe

Dr. Peter Schlumbohm invented the Chemex pour over in 1941, and it remains one of the most iconic brewers around. Luckily, learning how to make Chemex coffee is not as complicated as it might seem, and this recipe will give you the ratio for strong yet delicate flavors.

The Chemex is a blend of science and art—its laboratory-esque design is beautiful to look at and it also makes delicious coffee. The most unique quality of Chemex coffee is the clarity of taste—it brings out flavors and aromas in even the most delicate coffees.

How to make Chemex coffee

So keep reading to learn all of our brewing advice—Chemex ratio, grind size, and pouring technique— for making a delicious Chemex pour-over coffee every time.

**↓Or click here to skip down to the brewing instructions↓**

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History of Chemex Pour Over: The Original Pour Over Brewer

Dr. Peter Schlumbohm was a German chemist and inventor with over 300 patents. His main focus was to make objects that people use every day more functional and easier to use. And in 1941 he invented the now-famous Chemex coffee maker. It is a one-piece glass pour-over coffee brewer and carafe that brews multiple cups at a time (the 8-cup Chemex can brew 40oz at once!).

American author Ralph Caplin described Schlumbhom’s inventions as “a synthesis of logic and madness”. And when it comes to manual pour-over coffee makers, we can surely say that Schlumbohm succeeded with the Chemex. Caplin specifically described the coffee maker as “one of the few modern designs for which one can feel affection as well as admiration”.

And this description is not an exaggeration. Those of you who own a Chemex know that aside from its duties of making coffee, it is visually beautiful to keep around the kitchen. The Chemex is appreciated by scientists, coffee enthusiasts, and artists alike. You can even find it in art museums around the world, including the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York City.

Classic Series 8-Cup
Chemex Glass Coffee Maker Pros & Cons


  • Stylish and elegant one-piece glass design that looks beautiful in the kitchen
  • Flexible recipes (including iced coffee options)
  • Clean flavor (no oils) that allows coffee to shine
  • The largest size brews 10 cups
  • Safe in the dishwasher


  • Expensive compared to other drippers
  • Can’t brew small amounts
  • Must use Chemex filters
  • Annoying to clean by hand
  • Glass can break when traveling

Chemex Coffee Filters

Chemex pour over with thick paper filters

One of the keys to the clean taste of Chemex coffee is its thicker coffee filter. Schlumbhom invented specific double-bonded paper filters that would perfectly fit the hourglass shape of the brewer while also providing superior taste.

Compared with standard paper coffee filters, the thick paper of the Chemex filters catches almost all of the coffee fines and coffee oils that make it through most other filters. Bitter-tasting flavors and other off-flavors, therefore, don’t make it into the final brew. These thick filters make the Chemex one of the cleanest-tasting pour-over methods. You taste the flavor of the coffee—the dissolved compounds—instead of the body and oils of the coffee flavor.

So while it is technically possible to use non-Chemex filters when brewing with this device, you will miss out on the most classic element of what makes Chemex coffee taste so unique!

**You can also read our regularly updated review of the Chemex coffee maker, which includes size recommendations**

Chemex Bonded Filter - Natural Square - 100 ct


  • THICKER: 20-30% thicker paper.
  • Keeps bitter elements, oils, and grounds out of the cup.

How To Make Chemex Coffee-Instructions And Tips

Brewing Chemex coffee can be simple, and if you follow the basic instructions you will get consistently clean-tasting coffee. If you are someone who doesn’t prefer the heavy body of French Press coffee, then you will especially appreciate Chemex coffee. The calm and methodical pouring can also help to bring meditative energy to your mornings.

But the simplicity of the Chemex doesn’t mean you can’t brew specialty coffee. The Chemex brewer works beautifully for even delicate and lightly roasted specialty coffee. The specialty coffee world loves Chemex. You’ll see it in almost every specialty coffee shop and it has been used by winners of the World Brewer’s Cup.

chemex coffee recipe

If you want a deeper understanding of coffee brewing and extraction, check out our article dedicated to the basics of brewing. But even without that background knowledge, the basic recipe above is a great starting point for a delicious Chemex.

More Reading: How To Choose The Best Pour-Over Coffee Maker

Chemex Recipe: Detailed Instructions

If this is your first time using a Chemex, then the detailed instructions below will be more useful to you:

  1. Water: Fill up your kettle (preferably a gooseneck kettle) with 640 grams of filtered water and boil it. Boil extra water so you can wet the filter before brewing.
  2. Coffee: Measure out 40 grams of coffee beans (it’s important to use whole beans instead of ground coffee) and grind to a coarseness that resembles sea salt.
  3. Filter: Place your Chemex filter so the triple-fold side lines up with the spout. This will prevent the filter from collapsing and ensure proper airflow.
  4. Wet Filter: Rinse the filter with your hot water. When you wet the filter, you both get rid of the paper taste and preheat the brewing vessel. This is particularly important with the Chemex filter which is thicker.
  5. Add Coffee: Pour coffee grounds into the Chemex coffee maker (make sure you remove the preheating water first!) and level the grounds out to be flat.
  6. Bloom: Start a timer and pour an initial 80 grams of water to wet the coffee bed, gently stir, and wait 30-45 seconds. This is called blooming.
  7. Pour Water: After the bloom, pour in stages of 150 grams of water in a gentle circular pattern. Start from the center of the coffee bed and slowly circle outward without hitting the side of the brewer. The key is to evenly hit all of the ground coffee.
  8. Pour Again: After allowing some coffee to fall through the filter, pour another 150 grams of water. Repeat until you hit the target of 640 grams of water. If you pace this correctly, you should finish pouring around the 3-minute mark. Again, this will be easier to control with a gooseneck kettle.
  9. Finish Brewing: Give the coffee a gentle stir and allow it to drip into the bottom until the 5-minute mark. If there is still brewing water left, it’s best to carefully remove the filter and dump what remains, which is likely to be bitter.
  10. Enjoy: Savor the clean taste of Chemex coffee! And don’t forget to swirl the coffee to smell the beautiful aromas before pouring.

It’s important to note that this is just one particular Chemex recipe, one that works on either the 6 or 8-cup Chemex brewers and will produce 2-3 servings of coffee. You can adjust the amount of coffee to serve more or fewer people, but be ready to adjust your grind size to keep the brew time the same (more details below in the Chemex ratio section).

Chemex Pour Over Brewing Tips

The recipe above is a great starting point for Chemex instructions and showcases a standard Chemex ratio and pouring technique. As you get familiar with brewing with a Chemex and build data points, you will naturally feel comfortable changing it up and trying new things.

But whatever recipe and technique you use, there are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind as you brew. The Chemex coffeemaker can be a bit finicky, but once you know what to look for the fixes are quite easy.

Beautiful color of Chemex coffee

So keep some of the Chemex brewing tips in mind as you go:

  • Lift the filter occasionally during brewing to make there is airflow. When air stops flowing the pour-over will stall. Following the same logic, some people place a chopstick down the spout to prevent the filter from collapsing.
  • Use a gooseneck kettle for an even pour and an even extraction. An even extraction right in the middle will provide the most sweetness.
  • Gently stir the coffee bed at the end of brewing and tap the brewer lightly on a soft surface. Doing this will make the water drain evenly and stop coffee grounds from sticking to the sides.
  • If you don’t have a coffee scale, know that the bump on the side of each Chemex is the halfway mark. For a 6-cup Chemex, the bump is 15 ounces and for the 8-cup Chemex, it is 20 ounces.
  • Don’t be afraid to be experimental and adjust things if the coffee doesn’t taste great. But know that it is usually best to adjust one variable at a time.
  • Follow the rule of thumb that bitter coffee is over-extracted and needs a coarser grind. And sour/weak-tasting coffee is under-extracted and needs a finer grind. You can also check out our complete guide on fixing bad-tasting coffee.
  • Sometimes coffee that is too fresh produces too much CO2 that disrupts the brewing process. In this case, grind the coffee and let it sit and rest for 30 minutes before brewing. It will age and make brewing easier.
  • If you are using a blade grinder, gently shake as you grind. This will produce the most even grind. Even better, though, is to invest in a burr grinder.

And at the end of the day, remember that the perfect cup is the one that you enjoy the most. So explore like a scientist and find a personal recipe that tastes best to you.

**Is your Chemex taking too long to drain? Check out 5 reasons and fixes for a slow pour over.**

Chemex Ratio: How Much Coffee Should I Use?

Getting the correct Chemex coffee ratio using a scale

If you made it this far, you are probably ready to get a little bit geekier about the Chemex ratio and how you can adjust the flavor and strength of your coffee. Making adjustments to your brewing and noticing the changes in flavor is one of the most fun aspects of specialty coffee!

As a general rule of thumb, a good Chemex ratio is between 1:15 and 1:17. This means 1 part coffee to 15 parts water. In our recipe, the Chemex ratio was expressed as 40 grams of coffee to 640 grams of water (40*16=640).

But this is not a firm rule and different coffees extract differently. The Chemex ratio you prefer for a darker roasted blend might be completely different than the ratio that makes the perfect cup of lightly roasted single-origin Ethiopian coffee.

So start somewhere in that standard range, and then make adjustments as you go. Also, the recipe for the perfect cup one morning might have to change on subsequent mornings as the coffee ages. Coffee ratios and extraction involve complicated science, but if you aim at an even extraction and avoid the off-notes of coffee you will be guided in the right direction.

One thing to be aware of concerning your Chemex ratio: you will probably have to adjust the coffee grind as you adjust the ratio. When adding more coffee, consider using coarser coffee grounds to achieve the same brew time. And when using less coffee, use a finer coffee grind.

What Type of Coffee do You Recommend?

Like many great coffee brewers, Chemex makes delicious coffee with a wide variety of beans. It is not a magical brewer, though, and it can’t make a good taste out of low-quality or expired coffee. Way more than half of the quest for great coffee is finding fresh, high-quality beans. For best results, coffee should be within a few weeks of its roast date.

In terms of specific coffee types, the thickness of the Chemex filters means that you can particularly enjoy lightly roasted coffees with delicate flavors. We especially love brewing single-origin coffees from Kenya and Ethiopia on our Chemex. The clarity of the taste allows the delicate flavor notes of sweetness and floral aromas to shine.

But don’t let that stop you from trying blends and darker roasts. When you follow a good Chemex recipe carefully, almost any high-quality coffee will come out tasting delicious.

Common Questions About Chemex Coffee

Aside from the basic Chemex instructions and tips listed above, here are some of the more common questions people ask about Chemex coffee.

How do I fold a Chemex filter?

A Chemex filter is one thick piece of paper, either a circle or square. In both cases, to fold a Chemex filter simply fold it in half twice so that one side has 3 layers of thickness.

How do I keep Chemex coffee hot?

Chemex coffee gets cold quickly, but sealing the top with a Chemex coffee lid will help to retain heat. There are covers available in glass, silicone, and wood. You can also decant the coffee into a thermos.

How many grams of coffee per cup?

For standard pour over coffee, use around 17-20 grams of coffee per cup of brewed coffee, or a 1:16 ratio. For example, making a Chemex for 5 people requires 60 grams of coffee and 960 grams of water.

How do I clean a Chemex?

The best Chemex cleaning advice is to rinse thoroughly after each use to avoid stains. But for a proper clean, remove the wood collar and use a long brush to clean the inside. The Chemex is also dishwasher safe as long as you remove the wooden collar.

Chemex Glass Coffee Maker

Final Thoughts on the Chemex Pour Over

Chemex coffeemaker is an iconic brewer that every specialty coffee person should have in their arsenal. The Chemex ratio is flexible and the bigger brewers can handle a large crowd of coffee drinkers.

Also, it’s a beautiful object that will add to the decor of your kitchen. And if you follow a good recipe, you will get delicious coffee with a clean taste every time.

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