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Discussions > Coffee > Machines > Struggling with...  
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the_funk
Senior Member
the_funk
Joined: 8 Jan 2014
Posts: 8
Location: Midwest
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Drip: Technivorm, Chemex
Roaster: GeneCafe
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:

Beans:

- Roast beans in GeneCafe once/twice a week typically using Ethiopian or Central American beans
- Store in AirScape container
- Ground using Baratza Virtuoso

Equipment:

- 8 Cup Chemex with handle
- Hario Gooseneck 40 ounce kettle
- Digital Scale
- Bleached pre folded Chemex filters

Measurements:

- 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)

Process:

- 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.
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CoffeeNark
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Dec 2013
Posts: 34
Location: Nashville, TN
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Jan 30, 2014, 12:59pm
Subject: Re: Struggling with my Chemex
 

the_funk Said:

Finish the whole process around the 5:30 mark

Posted January 30, 2014 link

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.

I bet you will soon have a good pot of coffee.
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Scottes
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Posts: 24
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Vario, Baratza...
Drip: Chemex, Aeropress, Press...
Posted Fri Jan 31, 2014, 7:11am
Subject: Re: Struggling with my Chemex
 

CoffeeNark Said:

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.

Posted January 30, 2014 link

Quoted for emphasis.
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the_funk
Senior Member
the_funk
Joined: 8 Jan 2014
Posts: 8
Location: Midwest
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Drip: Technivorm, Chemex
Roaster: GeneCafe
Posted Fri Jan 31, 2014, 7:44am
Subject: Re: Struggling with my Chemex
 

Scottes Said:

Quoted for emphasis.

Posted January 31, 2014 link

Are you guys including bloom time for the 4 minutes? Or is the 30-45 seconds separate?
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CoffeeNark
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Dec 2013
Posts: 34
Location: Nashville, TN
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Jan 31, 2014, 7:58am
Subject: Re: Struggling with my Chemex
 

I include the bloom time in the 4 minutes.

I start the timer immediately after pouring the water for the bloom.  I know some start the time when they start pouring the bloom water.  Either way.  The 4 minutes isn't exact.
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Scottes
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Posts: 24
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Vario, Baratza...
Drip: Chemex, Aeropress, Press...
Posted Fri Jan 31, 2014, 12:36pm
Subject: Re: Struggling with my Chemex
 

CoffeeNark Said:

I start the timer immediately after pouring the water for the bloom.

Posted January 31, 2014 link

Same here.

CoffeeNark Said:

The 4 minutes isn't exact.

Posted January 31, 2014 link

This. If the final bit of water disappears between 3:30 and 4:00 then I know I'll have a good cup and maybe a great cup.

Keep a repeatable technique and water temperature and try to hit between 3:30 and 4:00. Then if the time is off you just need to adjust the grind.
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MWJB
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Jun 2013
Posts: 164
Location: UK
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: Rocky, Lido, Porlex, Hario...
Drip: Not enough room to list...
Posted Fri Jan 31, 2014, 2:32pm
Subject: Re: Struggling with my Chemex
 

You're using quite a lot of water for that 60g dose, 35oz would be more like it.

Maybe pour slightly bigger amounts into the cone, keep the water level a bit higher, this should reign back extraction some.

I'd perhaps, start at a smaller dose, ~40g:700g/25oz, then when you're happy try working up again?
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Darthkim
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 19
Location: Orange County, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Starbucks refurb
Vac Pot: Yama 8 cup
Drip: Chemex 8 cup, Hario V60 02...
Posted Sat Feb 1, 2014, 4:44pm
Subject: Re: Struggling with my Chemex
 

Though the Kalita Wave, Chemex, and V60 are similar pourover setups, the filters make a big difference in coffee dosage and grind size.

Chemex is coarser, V60 is less coarser, and Kalita is much less coarser ( i don't want to say "fine").

I've found it easier to pick a type of method per new bag of bean and to change it up only when there are new beans. Otherwise it takes a couple tries to dial a new bean in a  different method.
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the_funk
Senior Member
the_funk
Joined: 8 Jan 2014
Posts: 8
Location: Midwest
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Drip: Technivorm, Chemex
Roaster: GeneCafe
Posted Mon Feb 3, 2014, 7:44am
Subject: Re: Struggling with my Chemex
 

Darthkim Said:

Though the Kalita Wave, Chemex, and V60 are similar pourover setups, the filters make a big difference in coffee dosage and grind size.

Chemex is coarser, V60 is less coarser, and Kalita is much less coarser ( i don't want to say "fine").

I've found it easier to pick a type of method per new bag of bean and to change it up only when there are new beans. Otherwise it takes a couple tries to dial a new bean in a  different method.

Posted February 1, 2014 link

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.
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Scottes
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Posts: 24
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Vario, Baratza...
Drip: Chemex, Aeropress, Press...
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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