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Difference between Chemex and Pourover? - Page 2

Postby bostonbuzz on Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:24 pm

I have an 8 cup chemex, but I've been struggling with it, being new to non-espresso coffees. I grind about 50g in for two people, but the pour takes much longer than recommended. When I make the grind coarser, it tastes under-extracted. I talked to some guys at Dwelltime (Barismo shop in Cambridge) and they say that the chemex suffers because the filter sticks to the glass and slows down the draining of the coffee. This makes sense, just look at the channels in a V60. I've been meaning to get a thick wire and bend a spiral that will fit perfectly in the top that the paper can sit against and allow it to drain faster.

Do other people have the time problem as well?
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Postby allon on Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:32 pm

Nope.
Are you using the Pharos? The Pharos does a decent chemex, brings out great separation of flavors (though I'm now using the lido which does even better).

I usually do four or five "cups" in the chemex, just to the top of the halfway bubble. Maybe that's the difference.

I use an electric kettle, preheat the chemex with hot tap water, rinse the filter, and pour just off boiling water - I think the glass draws the heat out quickly. I turn the kettle off, do a small pour, turn the kettle back on, then off, next pour, on, etc. a bit fiddly.

I need to figure out how to fix my chemex automated drip :-(
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Postby bostonbuzz on Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:10 pm

What's your Pharos setting and dose and water volume for two mugs?
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Postby allon on Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:31 pm

For two mugs, I do about two generous (heaping) aeropress scoops of beans. As for the setting, I don't remember exactly; I just tweaked it in organically, but now I have the Pharos set for espresso and the Lido set for drip. The amount of water I use - well, again, I did it organically i.e. not a discrete measurement. I pour in installments, as noted above, and the final pour is when the water level is at the bottom/middle of the halfway bubble.

Now that you mention it, I did suffer a weak cup until I tweaked coffee/water ratio. Maybe boost the dose?

Oh yeah, it takes about 4-4.5 minutes to do the pour.
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Postby opother on Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:48 pm

" I talked to some guys at Dwelltime (Barismo shop in Cambridge) and they say that the chemex suffers because the filter sticks to the glass and slows down the draining of the coffee. This makes sense"


Nope it doesn't.


The opening on the spout hence the area of exposed filter on the Chemex is the size of the grand canyon, not a tiny hole or even a couple of tiny holes commonly found on most other pour overs as well as drip coffee machines. Ridges are not needed.

The Chemex filter is however thicker. I have tried using melitta filters on the chemex only to have them tear apart during the brewing process because of the huge opening. Mellitas are made to be supported at the bottom by pourover or drip machines with a tiny hole in the center.

The thickness of the Chemex filter may contribute to slowing down the brew but due to the large opening in the middle I would not say it's much if at all slower than your standard pourover.

I would lean toward adjusting the grind size to what suites you, but how much control you have over that may be determined by the step sizes on your grinder as well as the quality. If you have a stepless grinder or one with very very small steps I think you should be able to work something out. I would not rule out temperature control of the water either.

There is a stainless steel filter made for the Chemex which I find quite pricey that may give you the results you like (no part of the filter sticking to the vessel) but for me one of the main reasons I bought the Chemex was to use it with thick Chemex filters.

I find myself a very out of the box person but in this case I would choose to stick to stock.
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Postby rennix on Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:34 pm

bostonbuzz wrote:I have an 8 cup chemex, but I've been struggling with it, being new to non-espresso coffees. I grind about 50g in for two people, but the pour takes much longer than recommended. When I make the grind coarser, it tastes under-extracted. I talked to some guys at Dwelltime (Barismo shop in Cambridge) and they say that the chemex suffers because the filter sticks to the glass and slows down the draining of the coffee. This makes sense, just look at the channels in a V60. I've been meaning to get a thick wire and bend a spiral that will fit perfectly in the top that the paper can sit against and allow it to drain faster.

Do other people have the time problem as well?


Pouring down the edges causes all of the coffee to settle at the bottom which does slow brew time.

It depends what you mean by suffers...perhaps suffers when brewed their way aiming for their results. From what I can tell they like a layer of coffee to form around the filter and the water to filter through that layer. So it does not surprise me that they at Barismo are making those claims, Barismo's site has fairly quick brew times, and from what I've seen they are Hario people first and foremost. Drive over to George Howell's place in Newton and watch them brew a long slowly poured Chemex, or go to Render in Back Bay and watch the slow pour-over they do.

That said, there is a difference from getting info from a young barista and an experienced owner. Who knows who you were talking to and where that info emanated from.

Sidenote: Since I haven't been on these forums in a while it's fairly humorous to find a thread about people talking about the Chemex as something they've tried once or twice. I remember coming to this forum and sounding like an idiot, now I feel like I'm more experienced than the forum regulars :D
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Postby bigbad on Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:21 pm

Thanks for all the contribution to the thread. This is what I love about this place. You get so many various point of views, it really makes you a more wellrounded barista to take everything into account.
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Postby aecletec on Wed May 02, 2012 6:04 am

bigbad wrote:Thanks for all the contribution to the thread. This is what I love about this place. You get so many various point of views, it really makes you a more wellrounded barista to take everything into account.

This is a great attitude, I think you'll go far!

I heat my water (350ml) for the chemex in a glass jug in a microwave. I use the round edge filters in a 6 cup chemex with no pre-heating for brewing around 24g of coffee. I do not have any issues with the coffee being cool. In fact, I leave it for a long time before drinking because it's too hot!
After trying several more different coffees my palate has found that each has their own pouring method that highlights certain attributes. I suspect that different roasts and coffees will have similar properties.
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Postby Eastsideloco on Wed May 02, 2012 12:48 pm

I also have the big 8-cup Chemex. It's underused these days, but will come in handy for a big group some day. We got the Chemex as a wedding or a house warming present to ourselves about 6 years ago. Used it a lot, until my wife was relegated by her doctor to 100% decaf, at which point we got a couple Hario V60s.

Probably the first time I became aware of the fact that there were "proper" techniques for the Chemex and other pourover brewing methods was when I saw this article & watched the Intelli video at the bottom of the page:

http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010...to-chemex/

Some of you might find it interesting or fun.
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Postby pacificmanitou on Sat May 05, 2012 4:26 am

typically I dose my chemex and my v60 the same way, ~30g per cup (16 0z) ground at just over the middle step on my non-espresso grinder (13/18). I boil my water in a separate kettle then transfer it to the v60 kettle, preheat, grind, distribute coffee, then pour. This usually cools the water sufficiently from boiling. The only differences are, as mentioned, filters and brew times (2'30' for pourover and 5' for chemex)
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