Best Chemex Recipes for Your Coffee Shop

Manual brew methods represent an essential addition to any coffee shop menu, making the recipes used to produce these special beverages increasingly important.

Given the growing popularity of the manual pour-over method based on Chemex® coffee makers, this guide will help you determine which Chemex recipes will work best for your coffee shop.

Recommended: Read our full, in-depth How to Start a Coffee Shop Business guides, inspired by coffee professionals, they will help make your coffee dreams real, from sourcing beans to hiring baristas, choosing a POS system, forming an actual company, and everything in between.


What’s a Chemex Coffee Maker?

Invented in 1941, Chemex is a pour-over type of coffee maker unlike any other. Manufactured since 1980 by the same family-owned company, these popular glass coffee makers now reside on countertops in both homes and specialty coffee shops.

Specifically, it’s a one-piece, pour-over pitcher made of heat-resistant glass with an hourglass shape. That design earned this particular piece of coffee equipment a place within The Museum of Modern Art in New York City as well as in several other museums. With custom-made, bonded filters, Chemex coffee makers produce a clean, flavorful cup of coffee — without bitterness — every time.

Why Use It?

This tried-and-true manual brew method can produce a variety of serving sizes, making Chemex coffee makers an ideal choice for specialty coffee shops. For example, consider offering two size options made with the standard, six-cup Chemex coffee maker: a single serving or two servings to share.

The Chemex coffee maker’s sleek design provides another reason to love this brew method. It not only looks good on any counter in any cafe, but also delivers incredible functionality by producing a pure, flavorful beverage that showcases the many facets of your coffee.

Popular Chemex Recipes

Producing high-quality coffee starts with your chosen brew method. Yet, how you extract the coffee inside a Chemex pitcher also impacts your ability to create a full-bodied, clean cup of coffee that showcases your product as well as your skills to coffee connoisseurs. Read on for some general tips to follow when using Chemex pitchers as well as four popular Chemex recipes to try with your coffee.

General Recommendations

  • Heat your water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use one tablespoon of ground coffee for every five ounces of coffee you plan to brew.
  • Start with a bloom — the initial period of extraction after the first pour when coffee begins to expand and off-gas — of about 30 seconds.
  • Once you complete the first bloom, continue pouring water into the pitcher until you brew your desired amount of coffee. Be sure to avoid filling the Chemex pitcher to the brim.

Equipment Needed

  • Chemex pitcher
  • Filters
  • Digital scale
  • Timer
  • Coffee beans
  • Coffee grinder
  • Kettle

Blue Bottle Coffee Recipe

Coffee: 50 grams
Water: 700 grams
Grind: The coarseness of sea salt
Time: 3.5 to 4.5 minutes

Brewing Steps:

  • Rinse the filter and discard any remaining water.
  • Press the tare button on your digital scale, measure out 50 grams of medium-ground coffee, and add it to the pitcher.
  • Start your timer.
  • Add twice as much water as coffee and let the coffee bloom for 45 to 55 seconds. For this recipe, use 100 grams of water for the first pour.
  • After the first bloom, pour another 200 grams of water in a circular motion that grows smaller toward the center. Avoid pouring any water directly on the filter. Allow this water to drain until it reaches about an inch above the bottom of the filter.
  • Repeat this step two more times.
  • Allow the last batch of water to drip through the grounds entirely.

This recipe not only specifies four pours of an exact volume of water, but also provides exact times for pouring to leave little room for error. It also uses more coffee than the other three recipes featured below. The tasting notes include a clean, fairly sweet profile with a soft finish. While this recipe doesn’t produce a full-bodied beverage, it does deliver a great cup of coffee.

Crema.co Recipe

Coffee: 35 grams
Water: 525 grams
Grind: The texture of kosher sea salt
Time: About four minutes

Brewing Steps:

  • Rinse the filter and discard any remaining water.
  • Press the tare button on your digital scale, measure out 35 grams of ground coffee, and add it to the pitcher.
  • Start your timer.
  • Wet the coffee grounds with enough water to saturate them and then stir to ensure an even soak.
  • After that first pour, let the coffee bloom for about 30 seconds.
  • Once that initial amount of water drains through the coffee, pour more water over the grounds in small increments until you reach 525 grams.

While this recipe is a little vague, you can find the right pouring rhythm for your coffee with some trial and error. However, the lack of information about the volume of water to pour in small increments leaves a lot of room for error. Yet, this recipe’s coffee-to-water ratio produces a flavor-forward cup of coffee while maintaining the pure, tea-like body associated with Chemex coffee beverages.

Coava Coffee Roasters Recipe

Coffee: 38 grams
Water: 600 grams
Grind: A medium-fine texture
Time: 3.5 to four minutes

Brewing Steps:

  • Place the filter in the Chemex pitcher. (Coava recommends using a reusable, metal filter for Chemex brewing. If you instead use a paper filter, rinse the filter and discard any remaining water before proceeding.)
  • Press the tare button on your digital scale, measure out 38 grams of ground coffee, and add it to the pitcher.
  • Start your timer.
  • Pour 75 grams of water into the Chemex pitcher and let the coffee bloom for 45 seconds.
  • At 45 seconds, start the next pour while avoiding the sides of the filter. Continue pouring until the water weight reaches 350 grams.
  • Allow the water to drain entirely through the filter.
  • At 2.5 minutes, begin pouring again until the water weight reaches 600 grams.
  • Let the water from this third pour drain completely.

This recipe’s three-pour process not only provides a convenient method for baristas, but also guarantees evenly saturated grounds and an even extraction. That even extraction delivers a balanced flavor profile with a velvety mouthfeel.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters Recipe

Coffee: 42 grams
Water: 700 grams
Grind: The texture of kosher sea salt
Time: Four minutes

Brewing Steps:

  • Rinse the filter and discard any remaining water.
  • Press the tare button on your digital scale, measure out 42 grams of ground coffee, and add it to the pitcher.
  • Start your timer.
  • Add 150 grams of water and then stir with a chopstick or a spoon to eliminate any clumps and ensure full saturation.
  • At 45 seconds, begin the second pour. Use a wiggling and then a spiral motion until the water weight reaches about 450 grams or roughly the width of a fingertip from the top of the filter.
  • After one minute and 45 seconds, add water up to the top of your brewer or until the water weight reaches 700 grams.
  • Let the water drain entirely through the filter.

The specifics of this recipe prove extremely helpful. Using fixed times for each pour not only helps baristas time each pour, but also ensures consistent extraction. However, for busier cafes, this will mean taking more time to brew the coffee because a barista will need to focus solely on this process for four minutes. This recipe produces a smooth, full-bodied cup of coffee with a clean finish.

Troubleshooting Your Recipe

As you experiment with different Chemex recipes for your coffee shop, these tips can help you overcome some common issues:

  • If your coffee brews too quickly, consider using a finer grind or pouring the water more slowly.
  • If your coffee brews too slowly, consider using a coarser grind or pouring the water more quickly.
  • The ideal temperature for brewing coffee with a Chemex pitcher is between 200 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. To ensure your water doesn’t scorch the coffee, bring your water to a boil and then let it sit for one minute.
  • Use a burr grinder to ensure a uniform grind.
  • Use a ratio of 1-to-16 to help you determine the water-to-coffee volume for manual brewing with a Chemex pitcher. As you start testing Chemex recipes, adjust the amount of either the coffee or water based on this ratio to achieve your desired result.
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Recommended: Check out these other manual brew recipes for an AeroPress Wave coffee maker of Hario V60 coffee dripper.

Conclusion

Overall, Chemex pitchers offer a pretty forgiving brew method that produces a clean, balanced cup of coffee. Moreover, you can easily use almost any recipe for this well-loved, pour-over method. Try a few recipes out with your chosen coffee before selecting the right one for your cafe based on its ease of use and resulting taste. If you buy wholesale beans from a roaster, ask for its recommended recipe. Most roasters have a tried-and-true recipe to help customers enjoy their delicious beans when brewing with Chemex pitchers.

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