5 Tips to Make Better Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee at Home

5 Tips to Make Better Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee at Home

Using fresh roasted and fine ground beans from larger coffee origin countries is key to getting the best Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee at home. Besides being fresh, it is important that your coffee is roasted with Italian expertise to have natural sweetness. Chemex Coffee is a very convenient way to make excellent quality coffee at home. You can see Chemex quality by the amount of blooming when you pour-over. Using a fresh roast from Peak Flavor Coffee will get you to enjoy the best Chemex Coffee every time you brew.

No need for expensive specialty coffee beans or premium gourmet coffee blends. Use the Chemex you have to make best tasting coffee. It’s all about the right bean blend from the right origin, using a fresh roast, and making sure your beans are roasted with Italian roasting expertise to get natural sweetness. An indulgent bloom when you while brewing is good visual evidence you have all the goods for the best Chemex or pour-over coffee at home. Brewing and serving in small portions will help you avoid bitterness and acidity. Indulge in the best Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee at home.

What is Peak Flavor Coffee?

Freshly roasted coffee reaches best or "Peak Flavor" on days 8-14 after roasting. Compare this to coffee from the grocery store, which is often >120 days old. Peak Flavor coffee taste can only be achieved by a local roaster, who roasts your order on demand and delivers a fresh roast to you within days. At Peak Flavor Coffee, we are committed to blend, roast fresh, and grind specifically for your Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee. Only when you order. And we make sure your order arrives at your doorstep on or before day 8 so you can enjoy peak flavor from your Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee. I invite you to try our coffee and taste the difference for yourself.

Introduction

Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee are part of a growing trend of good quality coffee making in the USA. Both Chemex and Pour-Over coffee are generally considered to yield better quality drip coffee, especially if you like smoother coffee with less bitterness. In the case of Chemex Coffee, smoothness is achieved because of the unique thick-paper filter and the shape of the glass device. The thick Chemex filter prevents some of the bitter substances to perculate into your brew. Cafestol, a substance generally considered to increase cholesterol is one of those substances that a Chemex will prevent from going through. In that manner, the Chemex may even help to serve you a healthier cup of coffee. In the case Pour-Over, smoothness without bitterness comes from the mesh filter. Chemex or Pour-Over coffee taste is highly dependent on the coffee grinds you use and can be of extremely high quality and taste.

I would like you to indulge at home in the best Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee possible. I believe a Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee can actually be naturally sweet, mild, smooth, and creamy. If you want natural sweetness instead of added sugar, mildness instead of bitterness and smoothness instead of burnt notes, here is your guide to make the best Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee at home.

Here are 5 tips to help you get the best-tasting Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee at home:

Home-made Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee can be delicious, easy to make and good value for money. Making excellent Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee at home is easy when you do this:

  • Use a blend of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans from larger origin countries. No need for expensive specialty beans to make an indulgent drip brew at home.
  • Buy and use whole beans, freshly roasted. A fresh roast is never roasted more than 8 days ago.
  • Use an “Italian” fresh roast. Only Italian coffee roasting has an extended browning phase during which your coffee develops its natural sweetness and mildness.
  • Grind & brew only as many cups of coffee as you will drink within 10 minutes. It will avoid oxidation. Use a fine grind.
  • Brew & serve your coffee in smaller portions to indulge in natural sweetness.

Tip 1: Use a blend of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans from large coffee producing countries.

If you want to avoid bitterness or burnt notes in your Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee, start with a fresh roast from the right beans. If you ask an Italian expert roaster or Italian barista for the best bean blend to make the perfect Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee, they will tell you to use a blend of 85% Arabica and 15% Robusta beans, roasted about 7-8 days ago. Why 7 days? Coffee beans need to rest for about 7 days and de-gas before acquiring their best or Peak Flavor.

Arabica beans are generally considered to be of superior quality. But a small addition of Robusta beans will add more natural coffee oils to your brew, which is essential to high-quality Chemex or Pour-Over. You can immediately recognize a perfect Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee if you see blooming in your grinds or a small ring of yellow bubbles in your pot.  Blooming or this ring of bubbles (foam) contains rich aromas from the natural coffee oils and floats atop your coffee. These bubbly oils also add more body to your Chemex. If your roast is fresh, blooming or foam will be plentiful. When you taste your Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee, you will immediately notice a gentle smoothness and creaminess without a hint of bitterness.

Bean blends from larger origin countries, such as Brazil, Honduras, and Vietnam, are more likely to produce abundant cream for the perfect Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee. These blends are much preferred to the more expensive, rare specialty beans from smaller countries such as Rwanda, Burundi, or Togo. Coffee bean harvests from larger coffee countries are fresher and much easier to work with for mere mortals like me. Larger-origin countries also grow more consistent coffee bean harvests of better quality with fewer defects. Columbia and Indonesia also have larger bean harvests with more consistent quality.

Tip 2: Buy and use whole beans, freshly roasted. A fresh roast is never roasted more than 8 days ago. 

Most importantly, for the perfect home-made Chemex Coffee, your medium to dark roasted whole beans should be freshly roasted. In its handbook for coffee freshness, the Specialty Coffee Association defines fresh roasted coffee as: “roasted within the past 8-14 days”. Once the expert roaster has done his (or her) roasting, roasted coffee beans need to rest for about seven days to develop their full flavor and get rid of excess gasses, a process called de-gassing. On day eight to fourteen after roasting, coffee reaches its best or Peak Flavor. Between day eight and day fourteen after roasting is therefore the best time to use the fresh roast to make your Chemex Coffee.

Expert coffee roasters have no problem indicating the roasting date prominently on the front of their packaging. In fact, if you ask me, you should never buy a coffee brand that does not have a roasting date prominently displayed on the front. How else will you know when the coffee was roasted? And how else can you choose a fresh roast?

Roast freshness is the single most important “ingredient” in making a perfect Chemex  Coffee at home. Getting freshly roasted coffee at your home is difficult. On Average, most coffee packs on the grocery shelf, are 120 days past their roasting date. These “old” coffee beans make it difficult to get the perfect drip brew coffee at home. Some small, premium specialty and gourmet coffees in the grocery store could be even older because they sell at slower rates and thus sit on the shelf for longer. You can imagine that old grocery store coffee has lost most of its flavor by that time and turns stale, bitter and rancid. If your roast is not fresh, it is impossible to make great Chemex Coffee.

Peak Flavor Coffee is always freshly roasted, never more than 8 days ago.

If you want the perfect Chemex Coffee at home, buying and using fresh roasted whole beans to ensure peak flavor is the most important thing to do. This is also why I encourage people to buy smaller packages of coffee. Smaller packages of freshly roasted beans get used faster and ensure that your coffee stock at home does not get much older than 14 days post roasting. Buying & using whole beans instead of ground coffee is important to help you get a fresher roast because whole beans do not oxidize as fast as ground coffee. We’ll discuss oxidation a little later.

You can easily recognize the freshness of your coffee by the smell your coffee emits as soon as you open the package. Just like you immediately smell freshly baked bread at your local bakery, only a fresh roast, not roasted longer ago than 8 days, will emit the rich aroma that anybody can immediately recognize. Smelling your coffee when you open the package, is the easiest way to recognize a fresh roast in a second. Before you have even seen the roasting date on the pack.

Tip 3: Use an Italian Roast. Only Italian coffee roasting has an extended browning phase during which your coffee develops its natural sweetness and mildness.

There is a reason Italian coffee is generally considered the best coffee. Besides always being freshly roasted, the Italians employ an expert roasting technique that is designed to bring out natural sweetness and more aroma. To do this, you don’t need expensive specialty beans or premium coffee from origin countries you have never heard of. Using expert Italian coffee roasting methods, you can make any coffee bean deliver natural sweetness and mildness, no matter it’s origin. Italian roasters do this in two ways:

First, Italian expert coffee roasters extend the browning phase or “natural sweetness phase” of the roasting process. Generally, there are three phases in any coffee roast. During the first roasting phase, green coffee beans lose their humidity until there is none left. The end of this phase is called “dry end”.

In the second phase of Italian coffee roasting, coffee beans start to turn color from green to brown. The reason for browning is called the “maillard reaction”, a well-known process whereby sugars (carbohydrates) caramelize and turn brown. Caramelization is the reason why your coffee beans are brown. If this process is rushed, the beans will acquire a burnt taste. If this second phase of the roasting process is extended at medium temperatures, like during Italian expert coffee roasting, more carbohydrates are caramelized, and your beans will acquire their natural sweetness. Italian roasting expertise in this second roasting phase, ensures you’ll need less added sugar, less milk-sugar (lactose), or artificial sweetener in your morning brew. And still get the perfect Chemex Coffee at home.

Italian coffee roasting has an extended browning or caramelization phase

In the third phase of Italian coffee roasting, the Italian experts roast well beyond “first crack” to release the natural coffee oils which contain most flavor and aroma. In this third and last roasting phase, the beans become gradually darker. This darkening is what most coffee amateurs in the USA speak about, when they talk about light, medium or dark roasts. Italian expert roasters, however, instead focus on making the beans “crack”. Sometimes even a second time when they roast for their espresso. Italian roasting expertise is straightforward on the subject. After “first crack”, coffee roasting enters its third phase. This “crack” literally opens the beans to release the natural coffee oils, which are full of aroma. You should know that aroma and flavor substances are mostly fat-soluble. This means that only if your roasting manages to release the natural fats (oils) from the beans, you’ll unlock the best taste from coffee beans. Breaking off the roast now for a light or medium roast prevents the beans from releasing these natural oils and from developing their full flavor. Expert Italian roasters will roast close to the second “crack” to ensure all flavor, oils, and aroma are released whilst preventing acidity and/or burnt notes. Large coffee roasters often can’t afford to take the time to wait for the second crack. This is exactly why some famous coffees taste a little burnt or sour and need lots of sugar or flavoring. 

Tip 4: Grind & brew only as many cups of coffee as you will drink within 10 minutes. It will avoid oxidation. Use a fine grind.

Coffee’s exposure to air causes it to lose taste and aroma. In scientific terms, this natural process is called oxidation or “exposure to air.” We all know how a sliced apple starts to look and taste worse when we leave it on the table. After the apple slices are exposed to air (oxygen), the apple turns brown and tastes stale. The same is true for coffee beans. Once ground, oxidation accelerates as the exposed surface to the air has increased. The coffee taste and aroma will start to deteriorate over time.

To make the best Chemex coffee at home, we recommend you grind your fresh roasted coffee beans yourself, just before you brew in the exact amount needed. Doing this will limit oxidation of your coffee and therefore preserves flavor, taste, aroma and freshness when you pour the Chemex Coffee in your cup. A fine grind is the right grind for the best Chemex Coffee. A (medium) fine grind will release the essential oils in coffee while you brew, delivering body and creaminess. If you don’t have your own grinder, make sure your roast is fresh. Never older than 8 days past the roasting date. Using older, ground coffee from the grocery store will make it impossible to get the best Drip Brew coffee at home.

Always buy whole beans and grind them yourself. Many easy-to-use and inexpensive grinders are available to help you get a fine grind. Grinding yourself takes only 1 minute. But you’ll notice that grinding yourself will dramatically improve the taste of your coffee. In addition, if you only grind as much as you need in the next 10 minutes (1-2 cups), you will avoid oxidation and eliminate your coffee’s stale and bitter taste.

This leaves the question of how much you should grind per cup. Professional baristas advise you to grind only as much as you need immediately before brewing. You need about 10 grams of fine ground coffee or a full tablespoon for a 6-ounce cup.

Based on this, we recommend using an Italian roast for your Chemex. You’ll immediately notice the natural sweetness and creaminess. Try it out for yourself with a Chemex from Peak Flavor Coffee.

Tip 5: Brew & serve your coffee in smaller portions to indulge in natural sweetness.

Most coffee shops and offices in America make a large pot of drip brew coffee in the morning and leave it standing around for a long time before they pour you your cup. It is their way of serving you fast and conveniently. Unfortunately, leaving drip brew coffee standing around for more than 10 minutes causes bitterness and acidity. And you’ll need a lot of sugar, milk-fat and flavoring to mask the effects of oxidation. Considering how fast drip brew coffee oxidizes, leaving drip brew coffee pots standing around is the worst thing to do if you want to have good taste. To avoid oxidation, only make as many cups as you will drink in the next 10 minutes. When you brew & serve in small portions, you’ll notice no more bitterness and no more acidity. In fact, brewing and serving Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee in smaller portions will ensure that your coffee is naturally sweet, mild and creamy.

For that reason, we prefer small Chemex devices, brewing one or two cups at a time. Because we like our coffee to be as fresh as possible. When you brew in small batches, there’s no need for a large carafe or thermal to keep the coffee warm during the day. Any true coffee lover does not want to drink oxidized coffee that has turned bitter or acidic and has lost its freshness. Besides making fresher and better-tasting coffee, a small Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee maker is much cheaper and easier to clean.

In my opinion, Bodum has some of the best Chemex dervices.

In summary, if you follow the above-recommended steps to make the best Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee at home, you will immediately recognize the difference. Your coffee will taste naturally sweet, smooth, and mild. A fresh roasted cup of coffee brewed and served in small portions has no bitterness because oxidation has not occurred. As a result of this better-tasting coffee, you’ll probably need less sugar or artificial sweeteners, no chemical flavorings, or milk. You’ll be able to indulge in the true taste of fresh roasted coffee! Knowing this, you might say that using fresh roasted coffee to brew at home helps you cut down on empty calories and supports weight loss or weight maintenance. Coffee is already known for its appetite suppression benefits. Imagine what could happen if you took out the other additives too?

In addition to helping your waistline, serving fresh roasted coffee in smaller glass cups will help you savor the true notes of your coffee blend, honoring our farmers’ work to grow and nurture the beans to perfection. If you want to learn more about our coffee farmers, contact me at melicent@peakflavorcoffee.com. If you want to help our farmers become more productive to provide a better living for themselves, consider supporting the Peak Flavor “new tree initiative.”

In summary, using fresh roasted and fine ground beans from larger coffee origin countries is the key to getting the best Chemex or Pour-Over Coffee at home. Besides being fresh roasted, for the best Chemex Coffee at home, it is important that your coffee is roasted with Italian expertise to have natural sweetness, mildness and creaminess from the naturally occurring coffee oils. No need to use expensive specialty beans to get the best Chemex Coffee at home. Chemex Coffee is a very convenient way to make excellent quality coffee at home because brewing at low temperatures allows the naturally occurring coffee oils to release their aroma and flavors to the maximum. You can clearly see if you are successful judging by the amount of rich yellow bubbles in your Chemex or Pour-Over. Using a fresh roast, roasted the Italian way will get you to enjoy the best Chemex Coffee every time you brew.

Try our Chemex Coffee for yourself. I am sure you’ll love it.

Melicent

Want to learn more about Peak Flavor coffee? Check out our article, What is Peak Flavor Coffee? Under Fresh News on our website.

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