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My two-cup Chemex recipe

Published on under the Coffee category.

A Chemex sitting on a scale in a kitchen

NB: This post is about two months old but I did not schedule it for publishing.

Brewing two cups with the Chemex is a delight. Because the Chemex is its own carafe, I do not need to bring another pot below the device while brewing. The Chemex has ample room for pouring water, although I usually pour in three increments for two cups because I do not want to overflow the device. With so many recipes online guiding me on how to brew two cups with the Chemex, I had no trouble finding a solution that works.

In my last blog post, I said that I had been experimenting and I had found a recipe that brewed two cups on the Chemex well. I wanted to share that recipe now, as I have made a few other cups using the recipe and confirmed that it works for me. Below is the recipe:

30 grams of coffee to 500 grams of water

  1. Put a paper filter in the Chemex. Rinse the paper filter. Grind coffee to the 22 setting on the Baratza Encore grinder (coarser side of medium). Put coffee in Chemex filter.
  2. Pour 100 grams of water over the Chemex.
  3. Stir in the north, east, south, west directions, and in every direction in between.
  4. Pour 200 grams of water at 30 seconds.
  5. Pour another 200 grams of water at around 1:30, perhaps a little bit after.
  6. Wait until the water draws down. Swirl the Chemex. Serve the coffee in two cups.

In the last cup I brewed, I verified that around 1:30 is a good time to begin the second pour. I could potentially pour in more water at 30 seconds but I do not want to risk overflowing the filter. 200 grams is enough at 30 seconds. I think I poured a bit after 1:30 because the water was not quite at the level I wanted, but only a few seconds after. I am building a bit of intuition around water levels, so my practice is coming in handy.

While some recipes I’ve read advocate for a “centre pour” where you pour in the centre after pouring in most of your water, I use a circle pour throughout my recipe. This helps me be consistent and I find that I am able to produce a delicious cup of coffee. Although, centre pours offer an avenue of experimentation for me: perhaps they will work better at a later stage in the brew. But having a cup that tastes good is what matters most, and I have been able to brew numerous delicious cups with my above recipe.

I find this recipe takes between five and six minutes to complete, usually down the lower end of that range. This is what I have seen is a common brew time range for two cup brewing on the Chemex. Interestingly, brewing one cup usually takes four to five minutes, sometimes a little bit more. I suspect the similar brew times are caused by my using a coarser grind when I am brewing two cups. Without this coarser grind, the coffee tastes a bit bitter.

On another note, I learned this morning that my standard V60 recipe with pulse pours – pouring water in 50 gram increments until I reach the target brew weight – does not work as well on the Chemex. My brew took over five minutes and I decided to take the filter paper off the device even though some water remained in the slurry. The brew was dripping too much. I suspect pouring in more water at once causes a faster flow rate, although this is just a suspicion.

That tangent aside, I am happy to have a two-cup Chemex recipe that works. My electric grinder is helpful: being able to adjust my grind in such small increments has helped me get a good recipe. I have no need to brew any more coffee using the Chemex but I suspect a three-cup recipe would use a similar starting point as my two-cup recipe, just using another pour with more water as needed and a higher bloom weight.

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