How To Brew Coffee With A Chemex

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How To Brew Coffee With A Chemex CoffeeMaker

Are you a coffee lover? Did you realise that 98% of your coffee is made up of water? This makes it a very important factor when it comes to brewing a cup of coffee.

Chemex Coffee Masterclass with BRITA at The Gentlemen Baristas

Whether, it is a quick cup of instant, or something that you take a little bit more time over using a coffee machine, using a BRITA water filter will reduce the impurities and unwanted substances such as limescale, metals and chlorine. This improves the flavour, texture, look and even smell of your hot drinks.  We have used a BRITA water filter jug for around 10 years now, and can taste the difference when using it to make drinks, as well as when drinking water. There are also BRITA kettles, which means you don’t have to worry about filtering the water first, and if you want to go one step further, you can install a BRITA 3-way water filter tap.

I was invited to a BRITA event at The Gentlemen Baristas, a gorgeous coffee house in Union Street, Southwark. We would be learning how to brew coffee in a chemex… What is a chemex I hear you ask? Well, is a manual, pour-over style glass-container coffeemaker, which Peter Schlumbohm invented in 1941. The chemex is a narrow-waist glass flask, and uses special paper filters (thicker than the standard type) which removes most of the coffee oils, and so, brews a very different tasting coffee.

So, on Friday afternoon, my husband Steve and I made our way to into London, and naturally, I take a few photographs to document said journey! I’m no good with tubes these days, so from Liverpool Street, we took a bus, over Southwark Bridge, and walked the short distance from the bus stop to 63 Union Street, the home of The Gentlemen Baristas.

Better with BRITA - Chemex Coffee Making Event
BRITA Coffee Event

We said our hellos to the PR team and whilst waiting were treated to a glass (or two!) of prosecco and some very delicious food. Being near to Borough Market, for another event was a winner for me! Having taken myself out of my comfort zone recently, I remember how much I love going into London, and how much I miss it. There were platters of deli meats, flat breads, dips, olives, fruit and the most colourful salad – made with nasturtiums – that I’ve ever seen!

The ‘tache game was very strong at The Gentlemen Baristas… Steve just had to release his inner hipster ;)

Antipasti Platter
Nasturtiums Salad

The coffee house was gorgeous, and I loved bric-a-brac that was on display. There were some great pieces on the walls and on shelves… I’m sure it’s my childhood growing up in a pub that feeds this love of knick knacks!

The Gentlemen Baristas, Union Street, Southwark
The Gentlemen Baristas, Union Street, Southwark

Once everyone had turned up, we went upstairs to the teaching room – or lab as I’m calling it, because I didn’t realise just how much science is behind coffee making! I have a new found respect for Baristas and their art of making coffee – it’s not just grinding beans and pouring over hot water!

After a little history and science lesson from Rob Dunne and Victor Fankowski (of DunneFrankowski, a creative coffee consultancy) and some background about coffee and the use of BRITA water when making it, we got down to chemex business!

It’s all about weights and measures when using a chemex coffeemaker. For the American, Gold Cup Standard, it is 60g coffee to 1L (or 1000g) of water. But you can go up or down 2g on the coffee if you wish. We would be making coffee using 28g of beans and 500g water.

Chemex Coffee Making Class

How To Brew Coffee With A Chemex

1. Weigh out your coffee beans, (we used 28g for 500g water) and grind using a coffee grinder. The coarseness of the grind will affect how much time it takes the water to filter through.

2. Place the filter into the chemex, with the triple layer sitting next to the spout. Pour some boiled water over the filter first – this gets rid of any impurities in the paper, such as dust, and also warms the chemex through. Pour this water out, then tip the ground coffee into the filter.

3. Weigh out the boiled water, and then pour a little over the ground coffee beans so that they’re all wet. Slowly continue to pour the water over until you have used it all. Sit and wait for the water to filter through the ground coffee… our first batch took 7 minutes.  Remove the filter with the used coffee grounds, pour your coffee and enjoy!

Chemex Coffee and Coffee Beans

With the first grind, we learned about the different bitterness of coffee, and set about making another batch with a different grind to see how that would affect the brew.

Chemex Coffee Maker Masterclass

This time around, our coffee took around 5 minutes to brew, and was no where near as bitter as before. Our final brew was to be the Japanese Cold Drip – using 28g coffee again, but this time, using 150g ice and 350g water (that’s around 30% ice). Now, I knew that the coffee would be cold – it was iced coffee after all, but I marvelled at just how cold the coffee was! I really thought that the hot water would stay kind of lukewarm once poured through the chemex, but it wasn’t. We flavoured our coffee with sugar syrup, as well as with a choice of lemon, lime or cucumber. Very interesting! Rob also suggested using this as a mixer for gin or sherry!

Japanese Cold Drip Chemex Coffee

After saying our goodbyes, and receiving a parting gift of our very own chemex, we took a cab back to Liverpool Street to catch a train home. I can’t wait to put our newly learn chemex coffee making skills into practise! I’m even going to try mixing a cold brew with gin to make summer cocktails!

Have you heard of a Chemex Coffee Maker before (I know I hadn’t!)? Do you already have one? How has it made a difference to your coffee?

We were invited by BRITA to The Gentlemen Baristas for a Chemex coffee making masterclass. 

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