Posted Thu Jan 30, 2014, 10:14am Subject: Struggling with my Chemex
OK so for years my go to brewer has been a Technivorm Moccamaster which is fantastic, but recently I wanted something besides french press for the weekend and pour over looked like something fun to do when I had more time. I've got the 8 cup Chemex with handle and despite claims that the Chemex brews "the cleanest cup" I keep getting a bitter result that I've never had with my Technivorm.
Here's my setup/process:
- Roast beans in GeneCafe once/twice a week typically using Ethiopian or Central American beans - Store in AirScape container - Ground using Baratza Virtuoso
- 8 Cup Chemex with handle - Hario Gooseneck 40 ounce kettle - Digital Scale - Bleached pre folded Chemex filters
- 40 ounces of water - 60 grams of coffee ground at a setting of "22" on Virtuoso - (Sometimes add 8 additional ounces of hot water to reduce strength of brew)
- Weigh water on scale in kettle bring to boil - Pre wet (rinse) filter - Grind beans, place in filter - Remove water from burner (wait about 30 seconds) - Start my timer - Wet the beans in slow circular motion starting in center going outwards counter clockwise until grounds are full soaked then wait around 45 seconds for bloom - Repeat pouring in increments keeping beans saturated while being careful to avoid the paper and "drowning" the beans (over pouring) - Finish the whole process around the 5:30 mark, immediately remove filter
This results in an astringent tasting brew that when using the same beans/ratio (even same filter!!) in my Technivorm tastes awesome. One thing I've noticed is that I tend to lose around 8 ounces of liquid after pouring. Start with 40 and end with 32. In my technivorm (just b/c my wife prefers it) I first run about 8 ounces of hot water into my carafe before I start the actual brew cycle. I tried this with the Chemex, first putting in 8 ounces of hot water then brewing. This got the whole bottom half of the Chemex to the fill line but STILL resulted in coffee that was too strong/bitter.
What am I doing wrong??? I'm using the same grind/measurements/filter (yes chemex for technivorm, kind of like that believe it or not) for both my technivorm and Chemex and they even brew for approximately the same amount of time. In the technivorm water is just kind of squirting in there without any real direction whereas I'm being much more deliberate and intentional with the chemex. How could the results vary so much?? Do I need a courser grind? It's so much fun to brew, I really want to fix whatever it is that's messing up my final product.
First, that is too long. I aim for 4 minutes. If it takes longer than that, I use a coarser grind the next time. Finer grind if I'm under 3:30.
To make 40 oz. of finished coffee in the Chemex, I start with 72 grams of coffee ground pretty coarse. I'd put the filter in the Chemex and load the coffee in it. Put them on the scale and tare. I'd then pour slow (stopping and starting as necessary) until I reach a weight of 1120 grams. That should give you 40 oz of coffee in the Chemex. That should give you a good starting point.
I had a lot of failures when I first started with a Chemex. I then began keeping good notes on how much coffee and water I was using and my grind setting. Only change one thing at a time in each pot and note the effect it has.
So, should I use a courser grind closer to what I'd do with French Press? I've seen some posts to that effect but others actually suggesting a finer grind. I currently use the same grind (slightly courser than middle) that I use for my technivorm.
Posted Mon Feb 3, 2014, 1:53pm Subject: Re: Struggling with my Chemex
Initially I followed what sites said for Chemex, and they all pointed to something slightly coarser than the middle settings. And I ended up with strong/bitter/overextracted coffee.
To hit 4:00, I had to go with a *much* coarser grind than all the sites suggested. And the results were quite tasty. Right now I am grinding at 37 out of 40 on my Encore. It's extremely coarse. And it's a good match for my French Press too, within a notch or two.
In my opinion, grind coarser until you get 4:00 or under. (Or, really, until the end result tastes good, and tastes like it's extracted properly).
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