What is a good grind for the Chemex?
Because the filter used on the Chemex is a little thicker than most pour over filters, a courser grind similar to Kosher salt is what we are looking for. A little coarseness will help the water flow through the grinds for an even extraction.
Why should I rinse the filter before I start brewing?
The classic Chemex filter is an unbleached, 3-ply, bonded filter. Nothing is without flavor in this world and that includes paper. We rinse the filter with hot water to get as much "paper taste" out as we can so that it isn't included in our cup.
Why is the position of the filter important?
When placing the filter into the Chemex, you'll notice that one side of the filter is single ply while the other side is still 3-ply. We place the 3-ply side against the spout so that the water runs throughout the filter evenly. Flipping the filter the other way would result in the water finding the path of least resistance and runs the risk of channeling.
What is a bloom and why is it important?
Blooming your coffee is like waking up in the morning. Everyone does a little better when they can wake up on their own terms, at their own pace, with their own routines versus getting forcefully yanked out of bed and put through the ringer. The Bloom is a small amount of water that 'wakes up' the coffee and prepares it for the rest of the brew. The Bloom begins the release of carbon dioxide from the grinds and is an intense moment for extraction. It's normal for the grinds to bubble and expand as they begin gassing off at this stage.
What is channeling?
As mentioned previously, water will always flow through the path of least resistance when it is working with gravity. Channeling is what happens when the water bypasses the coffee and goes down the side of the filter instead of through the grinds. The water that channels doesn't participate in extracting coffee so it's important to avoid channeling as much as possible.
Why do you 'dose' the water instead of adding it all at once?
Well now this get's back into the idea of avoiding channeling. Adding all of the water at once would overload the grinds and create too much opportunity for the hot water to bypass the grinds.
How does a Chemex coffee differ from an automatic coffee maker?
The key to a Chemex, or any pour over really, is the control that you take when brewing. Everyone loves the convenience of an automatic drip machine but you're not sure what is happening inside that brew basket. Is the machine's water up to temperature? Are all of the grinds saturated or are there dry pockets? When you go through the intimate process of a manual pour over, you get the chance to control all of this and really get to know your coffee.
How does a Chemex coffee differ from a French Press?
What a great question! These are two very different brewing methods altogether and each has it's own benefits. The French Press uses a metal filter that allows more sediment and oil to end up in the final cup. The paper filter of the Chemex traps and holds those same oils and sediments back so they don't end up in the cup and gives you a cleaner, sweeter cup that is better intended for more delicate light and medium roast coffees.