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
- 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.
- Pour 100 grams of water over the Chemex.
- Stir in the north, east, south, west directions, and in every direction in between.
- Pour 200 grams of water at 30 seconds.
- Pour another 200 grams of water at around 1:30, perhaps a little bit after.
- 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.