Chemex

Controversy is brewing (hehe) over at coffeed as to the merit (or lack thereof) of the Chemex, a manual drip brewer enjoyed by many coffee lovers the world over. The discussion was sparked by Scott Rao, author of the Professional Barista’s Handbook, an in depth look at a lot of the science and ideas behind current coffee practices. His post of coffeed is entitled “Chemex: why you should hate it”. Harsh right?

Well, some good points were made and decent rebuttals were also written by bright lights in the industry like Counter Culture Coffee’s Peter Giuliano. As a daily drinker of Chemex coffee that I make at home, I was a little taken aback by the apparent discrediting of one of my favorite preparation methods. I think however, I can see through some of the politics in the posts and see that this is another discussion on taste. Some people are looking for a big bodied flavourful cup of coffee. Others enjoy a cup that is more subtle and aromatic, but lacks the body of say, a french press.

Klaus Thomsen writes:

…I’d have to say (and I am not trying to stir things up here guys and gals!) that I often found that Americans tend to be more focused on body in filter coffee whereas I find that Northern Europeans tend to focus more on the aromas. I don’t drink my Chemex coffee because I want body – quite the opposite. I like the clarity of the cup as a contrast to my usual french press…

I am inclined to agree. Maybe I just happen to get it right when I brew.

Do you guys like Chemex/pourover coffee?

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4 Responses to “Chemex”


  1. 1 JL Zoeckler November 16, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I must agree with you about the use of a chemex. French press is my preferred mode of prep, but I like a clean cup from time to time. I’m sure that a vacuum brewer would solve this intrigue, but I haven’t added that to my brewing equipment yet (christmas?). Unfortunately, those on the internet with the boldest claim often get all the attention (look as us bring him more attantion). Oh well, coffee will always be a matter of personal preference, similar to wine, and the “pros” will always tell some what is “right” and what is “wrong”. I’ll just keep roasting my own coffee and enjoying the multitude of brewing options that I have already.

  2. 2 Jonathan Bonchak November 18, 2009 at 10:08 am

    I like the Chemex. I was attracted to it at first because of the nostalgia and simplicity. After many attempts I’ve decided to go with finer grinds. Perhaps I’m over extracting but I don’t use a TDS meter at home. (I think that might amount to the ultimate in geekery which will become quite a turnoff to the wife!)

    All that to say, I like the body. And the coffee itself makes a difference. This is all just preference though. It’s like comparing Bowie to the Stones. Similar, completely different, altogether essential to listen to and soak up in order to appreciate where we find rock n roll today.

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