How to Use A Chemex to Make Pour Over Coffee

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If you like pour-over coffee, you shouldn’t miss the Chemex coffee maker. This beautiful one-piece glass vessel with a wooden collar and a tie has become an iconic part of the coffee industry and is loved by coffee fans worldwide. 

It’s invented and patented by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm in 1941 and produced by the Chemex Corporation in 1942. 

This gorgeous and functional coffee maker help you make a perfect cup of coffee and bring your kitchen to a higher aesthetic level. 

If you want to know more about this elegant coffee brewer’s design and history, please read the Chemex review. I’ll discuss the Chemex brew guide in this article.

Some Chemex Coffee Tips Before Brewing

1. Chemex Paper Filters

Chemex Filter comes in 3 different shapes.  How to choose the right filter?

Chemex Bonded Filters Pre-folded Circles, Pre-folded Squares are suitable for all the Chemex coffee makers except the 3-cup size Chemex.  

Open up the pre-folded paper filter, the 3 layers are on one side, and the 1 layer is on the other. Put the 3-layer side towards the front spout of the Chemex. 

The Unfolded Half Moon Filter fits the 3-cup Chemex (Model: CM-1, CM-1C, CM-1GH, CM-FNX). You need to fold it into a cone shape before putting it on the Chemex. Here is how to fold the half moon filter:


2.Chemex Coffee to Water Ratio

Chemex offers different sizes. Here is the capacity of Chemex coffee makers in different sizes:

3 cups (16 Ounce), 6 cups Chemex (30 Ounce), 8 cups (40 Ounce), 10 cups (50 Ounce), 13 (65 Ounce)

You can use Chemex with a 1:16 coffee to water ratio as a starting point, 1 gram of coffee with 16 grams of water.

For the 3 cups Chemex, it’s good to use 20-30 grams of coffee beans to get 320 ml – 480 ml of coffee. For the 6 cups Chemex, you can use up to 55 grams of coffee beans to get 880 ml of coffee.

If you prefer a stronger taste, it’s always good to use 1:15 or lower as well. 

3. The Grind size

Medium coarse like the rough sand, just a little bit coarser than the V60 grind size. If you are using Baratza Encore, the 18-20 is just great. If the coffee grounds go coarser, you’ll get a faster drip rate and higher acidity and sweetness, while finer grounds cause stronger flavor, slower drip rate, and more bitterness. You can find a great balance for your taste. If you are not sure what grind size should you use, check out this coffee grinding guide.

Tip: Use a good burr grinder can produce more consistent coffee grounds.

4. What kinds of coffee is suitable for Chemex?

Chemex can create coffee with lots of clarity and cleanliness since the thicker filter blocks the coffee oils and the bitter elements into the cup. It is a great method to brew single-origin coffee.

However, it works great for any roasted coffee from light to dark. 

5. Pay attention to the spout while brewing

Due to the design of Chemex, if the air can not freely flow from the bottom and getting trapped in the chamber. It will build up some pressure, and the coffee may stop dripping down. Chemex designed the spout to avoid this, and the thick coffee filter with 3 layers is less likely to form a seal with the surface. But still, that happens from time to time.

Tip: If it seals the pour spout, lift it slightly or use a chopstick to make sure the air can come out smoothly. 

How to Use A Chemex to Maker Pour Over Coffee – Step by Step Brewing Tips

Knowing all the brewing tips above, let’s make coffee! In the following step by step brewing guide, I’ll show you how to make the coffee using 3-cup Chemex. It’s just the right size for 1-2 cups. 

Things you need:

  • A 3-cup Chemex
  • Chemex Unfolded Halfmoon filter
  • Hot water: 480 ML
  • Water temperature: 200-205 F (93 – 97 C)
  • Freshly ground coffee: 30 grams
  • Gooseneck kettle or an ordinary kettle
  • Kitchen Scale
  • Timer: 5 minutes
  • Coffee to Water Ratio:1: 16

Step by Step Guide to Make Coffee with Chemex

Time needed: 5 minutes.

  1. Boil the water and weigh the coffee

    Fill the gooseneck kettle with filtered water and bring it to a boil. Keep it 200 – 205 F (93 – 97 C). In this guide, I’ll use 30 grams of coffee and 480 ml of water, the ratio is 1:16. If you prefer the stronger or weaker taste, adjust the ratio to 1: 15 or 1: 17. The same ratio if you brew 6 cups with 60 grams of coffee bean, that means almost 1 liter of water. 
    Put a measuring cup on the scale, and weigh 30 grams of fresh coffee beans.

  2. Grind your coffee beans

    Grind it medium-coarse using a grinder. As always, the burr coffee grinder produces more uniform coffee grounds.  I use Baratza Encore and set the setting to 19.

  3. Fold the Chemex filtered paper

    Since the 3-cup Chemex comes with the Unfolded Half Moon Filter, you’ll need to fold it before putting it into the Chemex. Just make sure you place the 3-layer side towards the spout. 

  4. Rinse the filter

    Rinsing the filter with hot water can get rid of the paper taste and the impurity. You can also prewarm the Chemex. After fully wet the filter, pour the water out of the brewer and keep the filter sealed against the wall of the Chemex. (You don’t need to take the filter out, just let the water flow out of the spout).
    Pour the coffee grounds into the Chemex filter cone. 

  5. First pour to bloom the ground coffee

    Now you can start the timer and pour 60 grams of water to saturate the coffee grounds. Just like we do for the V60, pour twice the weight of the ground coffee. Let the coffee grounds bloom for 45 seconds.  

  6. Second pour 

    Slowly and continuously pour the water over the ground using the circular motion, and try not to cause turbulence and agitation. Keep the water level below the rim of the Chemex until you reach the total volume of 480 ml, then you can stop. 

  7. Discard the filter and enjoy

    Wait until the water is all drained, and then you can remove the filter. Grab the wood handle and twirl the Chemex to mix the coffee more evenly. 
    Enjoy the Coffee!
    chemex on coffee scale

That’s how you use a Chemex to make great coffee. The coffee brewing process is very similar to the other pour-over methods. The taste of the coffee produced by Chemex is very consistent every time due to the special design of the brewer and the thicker filter paper. It’s more forgiving for different pouring technique. While V60 and other brewers with thinner filters normally require a more consistent pouring technique to get a stable coffee flavor. And the 


How To Keep Chemex Coffee Hot

If you use the 8 or 10 cups Chemex to make a big pot of coffee in the cold winter, you probably want to keep it warm. According to Chemex’s official instruction[1], Chemex can be placed on a glass stovetop or gas flame at low heat directly. But you can’t put it directly on an electric coil stovetop without the particular stainless steel wire grid provided by Chemex. 

I know how beautiful the coffee looks in the glass Chemex, but decanting the coffee to a thermos or insulated travel mug is another easy way to keep it warm. 

How To Clean The Chemex?

After brewing the coffee, you need to release the rawhide tie and remove the wooden handle first, then wash the Chemex with the warm water and a little bit of dish soap to clean out the coffee oil. Or you can place the Chemex safely in the dishwasher. You don’t want to brew this piece of art that is made of glass.  


[1] In order to keep your coffee warm you may place the CHEMEX® directly on either a glass stove top or gas flame both at low heat. If you have an electric coil stove top, you must utilize the CHEMEX® stainless steel wire grid (TKG) in between the CHEMEX® and the coils to prevent breakage. Be sure that there is a small amount of liquid in the carafe before placing it on a warm heating element.

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Chris Clark

Chris Clark is the co-founder and chief content editor of With a passion for all things java, Chris has been a coffee blogger for the past 3 years and shares his expertise in coffee brewing with the readers. He's a hands-on expert, loves testing coffee equipment, and has written most of the in-depth reviews featured on the site. When he's not whipping up delicious drinks or experimenting with the latest coffee gadgets, Chris is exploring the local cafe.