Chemex: history and extraction of coffee


The Chemex is a beautiful and fascinating brewing tool. It is one of the most popular coffee makers in the world of coffee lovers and also by designers.

The Chemex method, compared to the classic espresso, leads us to experience the coffee ritual in a different, more "slow" way. It's almost more like afternoon tea than coffee!

We have already told the story and the extraction of the Moka, the Aeropress and the French Press >> today I'll tell you about Chemex!

The history of Chemex

Unique and recognizable to anyone, it is an hourglass-shaped carafe made of glass, a non-porous material, which guarantees that it does not absorb odors and flavors, thus leaving every extraction unaltered. Its wooden rings, linked by a leather strap, as well as being aesthetically beautiful, allow a perfect grip without getting burned.

The shape of the carafe, similar to the wine decanter, allows oxygenation that allows the aromas to develop and spread at their best.

The main feature is the thick and porous paper filter, which retains all the oils, offering us a clean and intensely aromatic cup.

Chemex was invented in 1941 by Peter J. Schlumbohm, a German chemist living in New York.

In 1958, the designers of the Illinois Institute of Technology believed that the Chemex was one of the best products designed in modern times, so as to be displayed and included in the permanent collection of the MoMA in New York.

There are fans all over the world who exchange tips on how to get a perfect cup of coffee with this type of extraction on forums.

The coffee maker starts from the smallest size of 1-3 cups, up to that for 10 people, and prices range from € 55 to € 70.

The extraction with Chemex

The extraction with Chemex is simple and intuitive, but we need some tools:

  • The Chemex
  • A special paper filter
  • A brewing kettle
  • A balance
  • A timer

The Brew Ratio, that is the dose, is 60 grams of coffee per 1 liter of water; in this case, for one person, I will use 15 gr of ground coffee for 250ml of water;

The coffee should be medium-wide ground, similar to salt. To be precise, the particle size must be between 500 and 700 microns.

Steps for extraction:

  • Heat the water to around 95 ° C. Depending on the coffee you use, the temperature can change within a range of 92-96 ° C and find out how you think it is better!
  • Insert the paper filter and wet it with hot water. In this way you remove both the paper notes that could affect the aroma of the coffee, and in the meantime also warm the instrument;
  • Empty the water from the instrument and pour in the ground coffee. Give it a few taps to the side to level it and create an even dough;
  • Start with the pre-infusion to prepare the coffee for extraction, wetting all the ground coffee and letting out any residual gas. The pre-infusion is done with a double dose of water compared to the coffee, so since we have 15g of coffee, we will pour 30g of water being careful to wet all the ground coffee;
  • Wait 30 seconds;
  • Now pour the remaining part of water, then 220ml, with a thin and continuous stream. Pour it with circular motions, being careful not to hit the walls of the instrument, but only the coffee, in this way the water will not run away from the sides.
  • If you want to increase the extraction capacity and obtain a more intense coffee, just increase the spin, that is the circular motion. Then take the instrument and rotate it, like you do with a glass of red wine before you smell it!
  • The draw must be completed within 2 minutes. If it ends earlier, it means that the coffee is ground too wide and therefore the water runs off too easily, but if it ends later then the coffee is ground too finely and the water will over-extract it.

The result of the drink obtained?

A long, intense coffee, which expresses a wide aromatic range. Delicate overall, with total absence of bitterness, while acidity and sweetness are enhanced.

It is perfect for a nice energizing awakening, or to sip quietly while sitting comfortably at home or in a bar.

The coffee I recommend is:

Single-origin Arabica washed or semi-washed, from high ground, to best release a wide range of aromas.

Paolo, Ernani's roaster, prefers Indian Kalledevarapura >>

While I love the Ethiopian Sidamo >>

Do you want to practice with this method and also discover all the other techniques and equipment for Brewing?

We look forward to seeing you at the Ernani Academy Brewing course!

Write an email to to get all the information!

Martina Mazzoleni 

The best coffees, roasted to perfection and delivered where you want

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