Here's what ya need:
- A scale - nothing fancy, just something to help nail the measurements. Our preferred ratio is 15:1 (aka, 15 parts water to every 1 part coffee). You can snag this bad boy on Amazon for pretty cheap ... and yes, insane people spend many times that amount for fancy-shmancy barista gear.
- A timer - it's really, really important to nail the "bloom" time as well as the overall brew time. This one on Amazon will do just fine. If you're on a camping trip, just use the timer on your phone!
- Freshly roasted coffee - a'duh.
- A kettle - Bonavita makes a variety of these things that you can check out here. We recommend one that includes a temperature gauge (super helpful when you put your tinker hat on) - and the gooseneck makes it especially handy for this particular brewing method
- A burr grinder - the key to really great tasting coffee is uniformity in the grind. This is the numero uno investment you should be making if you're new to the coffee game. If you have the budget, go with the Baratza Virtuoso or the Encore (both work great). Otherwise if you want to keep it in the $40-100 range, just run a search for "burr grinder" on Amazon and follow your heart.
- Paper filter - since you might have one of several dozen types of devices, make sure you choose the proper filter. You can't fit a square peg in a round hole - meaning, pay attention to the shape of the filter's bottom (heh heh) when making your purchase. Your device might call for a cone-shaped filter - or perhaps a flat bottom (heh heh).
- A glass server - like this one from Hario. It's true that you could just place your pour-over directly on top of a mug. However, using a glass 'server' allows you to judge the overall flow of your brew and adjust accordingly. Especially if you're not using a scale - we can personally attest to serious spillage in brews past.
Commence ye olde H20 boil. If you're using a fancy kettle with temperature readout, set the temp to 209°F (science side-note: the boiling point of water at sea level is 212°F). If you're using a stovetop tea kettle - just let it start screamin' and hissin', you'll know when to take it off.
Meanwhile, prep the other goodies:
Weigh out 25 grams of coffee, and load it up into your grinder (don't grind just yet, you'll want to wait until just before brewing. Once exposed to oxygen, coffee starts losing it's awesomeness in a matter of seconds).
Affix your paper filter into the pour-over. Most (but not all) filters will require you to fold serrated corners before affixing - best to check the packaging your filters came in to verify. Place the pour-over directly on top of your server.
Once your water has boiled, we're going to "pre-wet" the filter area of the pour-over. The goal here is to remove any type of "paper taste" ... as well as pre-heat the glass server. It's typically not ideal for hot coffee to encounter cold glass, so we have a double-whammy here. Remove the lid from your filter after successfully pre-wetting the filter to allow the temp to cool to our ideal range (202-205°F range).
(Side note: much of the country is still in a massive drought. Don't be a doofus by taking this pre-wet step too seriously. It can totally be skipped ... and if you do it, use the least amount of water that you can).
Important: once you've rinsed the filter out and warmed up your glass server, make sure to dump all the water out before the next few steps! Eventually you will forget - and you'll question the strange watery taste of your daily brew. No fun for anybody.
Grind your beans: like other pour-over methods, you'll want a fine-medium grind for the Chemex. Somewhere in the "middle-left" of the grind settings if you're using a Baratza ... and if you're winging it, just go with something that resembles beach sand.
When your water cools to around 202-205°F, you're ready to brew. Put the lid back on your kettle, dump the coffee grounds into the pour-over, and have your timer ready. Make sure your scale is reset to zero with the brew devices + coffee resting on it. The remainder of this process (the actual brewing of the actual coffee) is pretty dang straightforward. The first bit of water you'll be adding makes up the bloom - a process in which the coffee grounds release all the remaining CO2 gas and (incredible smelling) oils from the roasting process. Ground coffee will hold approximately 2x it's weight in water, so you'll want to dump about 50-80 grams of water for this process. Make sure to start your timer the moment the water makes contact.
There's debate in the coffee world for how long your bloom time should take. You'll read anywhere from 30 seconds to a full minute. In general, we like to bloom for the full minute. Make sure to get your nose right up in the wet grounds during this step (it really should smell magnificent).
After your 1 minute bloom time, you'll begin to pour the remaining water in a slow, circular fashion (focusing more on the "middle" of the grounds rather than dumping water around the glass rim of the pour over) until your scale reads approximately 220 grams. Your target brew time is 3-3:30 minutes.
With that target brew time in mind, you'll 'temper' the rest of your water pourin' based on how fast the coffee extracts through your grounds. We generally try to pour the coffee in 3 'batches' after the bloom: first to around approximately 220 grams, second to around 300 grams, and last to the final 375 grams.
If your coffee isn't extracting quickly enough: meaning, it's just barely flowin' out of the top - don't panic. Simply grab one end of your filter and give it a gentle little tug. You should notice an immediate difference in the "flow" that will help you catch-up to your target brew time. This likely means that your grind was too 'fine' and you'll need to adjust your grind a few clicks in the opposite direction (for a slightly courser grinder). This should do the trick next time.
Discard the filter + grounds, grab your favorite mug, and enjoy! Please don't hesitate to contact us with your brewing questions - just send a note to email@example.com and we'll get back to you promptly.