kenyabob Senior Member Joined: 17 Jan 2010 Posts: 8 Location: Portland Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Wed Jan 20, 2010, 11:43pm Subject: Chemex Size Recommendation
I lost my french press recently in a move, and while I slowly search for it wherever it went, I thought I would compliment my collection with a Chemex. People seem to be pretty amazed by it around here.
I had a eight cup french press, which always did quite well, though there was always something left at the bottom. Since there are two of us, and we each tend to do two or maybe three cups, I thought the six would be perfect, but I also want to be able to handle guests without having to go three rounds with the kettle.
My question is, is there any distinct disadvantage going for the eight or even the ten with the Chemex if typically I will only be pouring for six? Does it matter to the Chemex how much I make? The thing seems to be such a perfect system, I don't really want to mess with it!
The cup measurement is totally inconsistent across different brewing methods. It's kinda funny to see people review a product poorly based on their being confused about its capacity, but it is pretty confusing. It would be nice to see a list of the various brewing vessels and how they measure a "cup": chemex, vacpot, mokapot, press, drip machine etc. Different brands and different countries might have different standards too.
Anyway, with my experience with the Chemex, I started with the 10-cup and switched to the 8-cup. I found the cup amounts to be pretty meaningless since it can be pretty hard to brew a full carafe, managing brew time and heat loss. Admittedly, I could do a little more experimentation with coarser a grind but I couldn't really get a good full pot of coffee with the 10-cup. Also, I thought its larger size (surface area) might contribute to more heat loss, which is a problem with the Chemex.
The reasons I don't think the sizes mean much: I think that generally, you won't be brewing coffee as high as the tip of the filter, so I don't think the reservoir is used to its maximum. The top part will have more capacity for larger sizes, so this could make a difference, but if you're really trying to get a full pot you'll be adding water in increments anyway, so I don't think this makes much of a difference either. I guess the fact that the carafe is bigger should mean you can make more coffee but in my experience, it's heat loss and over extraction that get in the way. I'll experiment a little more with a coarser grind and incremented pour.
I've never tried the 6-cup size, but I like the 8-cup and would suggest this for you although you might have to brew a second carafe, depending on the size of your 'cups'. I think the 8-cup is a good all purpose size.
I'm curious if anyone else has the same experience I've had. I'm certainly not an authority on pour over brewing and I haven't used it much lately, opting for the french press more often. -daniel
Most "cup" measurments -- uh, wait a minute; let me start over -- most coffee cup measurements are not based upon the coffee mugs commonly used in the US, but rather something much smaller -- think cup-and-saucer from a set of fine china. Thus, Chemex (and Technivorm) considers FIVE ounces to be one cup.
I have a Chemex 6, and it's really only brews 2.5 mugs (kinda, sorta), so I, too, would suggest getting the 8-cup version.
GarryG Senior Member Joined: 18 Mar 2004 Posts: 28 Location: Massachusetts Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: La Spaziale Mini II Grinder: La Cimbali Jr.,Breville Drip: Chemex, Krups, Bodum...
Posted Sun Jan 24, 2010, 10:33pm Subject: Re: Chemex Size Recommendation
I'd agree that the 8-cup Chemex is the right size if you're wanting 4-6 cups at a time. The 10-cup does tend to lose heat, though with careful application of heat during the drip process, that can be managed.
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