Chemex Cold Brew: 5 Tips to Improve Your Brewing Experience

Hello coffee lovers! There’s nothing quite like a refreshing glass of cold brew to beat the heat on a sweltering summer’s day. If you’re a fan of this cool, caffeinated indulgence, you’re probably no stranger to the Chemex brewing system, a classic and elegant brewing method that delivers a clean, pure, and flavorful cup of cold brew. But are you getting the most out of your Chemex? Here are five tips to up your Chemex cold brew game.

1. Quality beans are key

The first tip is simple, but crucial. Always use high quality coffee beans. The quality of your beans will directly affect the taste of your cold brew. Look for specialty, single-origin beans that are fresh and sustainably sourced. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different origins and roast levels. You just might discover a new favorite!

2. Grind with precision

Grind size matters. A lot. For cold brew in a Chemex, you should aim for a medium-coarse grind. Why? Because a coarser grind slows down the extraction process, which is essential for cold brew because it takes longer to steep. Grind too fine and you’ll end up with over-extracted, bitter coffee. Invest in a good burr grinder that offers adjustable grind sizes and ensures uniformity.

3. Patience makes perfect

Slow and steady wins the race, especially when it comes to cold brew. Don’t rush the brewing process – let your coffee steep in the refrigerator for at least 12 to 24 hours. This longer brewing time allows for a smoother, sweeter flavor profile compared to hot brew methods. The longer your coffee grounds steep, the more flavorful compounds will be extracted.

4. Master the ratio

Understanding the coffee-to-water ratio is critical to achieving the perfect balance in your brew. A general cold brew ratio to start with is 1:5 (coffee to water). However, feel free to adjust this ratio to suit your personal taste. If you prefer a stronger brew, try a 1:4 ratio. Remember, cold brew is often served diluted with water, milk, or over ice, so starting with a concentrated brew is not a bad idea.

5. Clean your Chemex regularly

Finally, cleanliness is not only next to godliness, it’s next to a great cup of coffee. Over time, coffee oils can build up and affect the taste of your brew. So clean your Chemex after every use. Warm water and mild dish soap should do the trick, but for a deep clean, consider using a coffee equipment cleaning solution. Make sure your Chemex is thoroughly rinsed and completely dry before brewing another batch.

Choosing the perfect coffee beans: Recommendations for Chemex Cold Brew

When it comes to selecting coffee beans for the Chemex cold brew method, there are several factors to consider. In general, you’ll want to look for beans with certain characteristics that complement the cold brew process. Here are some recommendations:

  • Medium to dark roast: Choose medium to dark roasted beans as they tend to bring out rich and bold flavors, which can be desirable in cold brew. The longer roast will help develop deeper notes and increase the overall complexity of the brew.
  • Single Origin Beans: Consider single-origin coffee beans, which are sourced from a specific region or farm. These beans often have distinct flavor profiles that can add depth and uniqueness to your cold brew.
  • Flavor notes: Look for coffee beans with flavor notes that pair well with cold brew. These may include chocolate, caramel, nutty, or even fruity notes. These flavors tend to shine in the smooth, low-acid environment of cold brew.
  • Specialty or third wave coffee: Explore beans from specialty or third wave coffee roasters. These roasters often prioritize quality and provide detailed information about the origin, processing methods, and flavor profiles of their beans, allowing you to choose beans that match your preferences.

Ultimately, the best coffee beans for Chemex cold brew are subjective and depend on personal taste preferences. It’s a good idea to experiment with different beans to find the flavor profile that suits your palate. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations from local coffee shops or reputable online coffee retailers who can guide you to beans specifically suited for cold brewing in a Chemex.

Explore alternative brewing methods with the versatile Chemex

The Chemex is a versatile brewer that can be used for more than just the classic pour-over method. Here are some alternative brewing methods you can explore with your Chemex:

  • Immersion Brewing: The Chemex can be used for immersion brewing, where the coffee grounds are fully submerged in water for an extended period of time. After brewing, the grounds can be filtered through the Chemex’s paper filter. This method can produce a full-bodied and robust cup of coffee.
  • Cold Brew: The Chemex can also be used to make cold brew coffee. Simply combine coarsely ground coffee and cold water in the Chemex, allow to steep in the refrigerator for an extended period of time (typically 12-24 hours), and then remove the grounds through the Chemex filter. Cold brew made with the Chemex can result in a smooth, low-acid coffee concentrate.
  • Iced Coffee: The Chemex can be used to make iced coffee by brewing a coffee concentrate with hot water and then diluting it with ice cubes or cold water. This method helps preserve flavors while providing a refreshing and chilled coffee experience.
  • French Press Style: For a French press brew, you can use the Chemex as a container to steep the coffee grounds and water together. After the desired brew time, gently press down a separate mesh filter on top of the brew to separate the grounds from the liquid.
  • Tea Infusions: The Chemex can even be used to brew tea leaves. Simply add the desired amount of tea leaves and hot water to the Chemex, allow to steep for the recommended time, and then pour the infused tea into your serving container.

Remember, when exploring alternative brewing methods with the Chemex, it’s important to adjust your grind size, water-to-coffee ratio, and steeping time to achieve the desired flavor and strength. Have fun experimenting and discovering new ways to use your versatile Chemex brewer.


Now that you’re armed with these tips, it’s time to put them into practice. Brewing coffee is as much an art as it is a science, and the beauty is in the journey. So bust out your Chemex, get your hands on some quality beans, and embrace the process. Here’s to a perfect cold brew!

Happy brewing, and until next time, stay caffeinated!


How can I improve this Chemex cold brew method?

  • Grind size: Experiment with different grind sizes to find the one that suits your taste preferences. For cold brew in a Chemex, a medium to coarse grind is generally recommended. This helps to prevent over extraction and produces a smoother brew.
  • Brew time and ratios: Adjust the brew time and coffee to water ratio to achieve the desired strength and flavor. For a stronger brew, increase the coffee-to-water ratio or lengthen the brew time. Conversely, for a milder flavor, decrease the ratio or steep time. It’s a matter of personal preference, so don’t hesitate to experiment and fine-tune the variables.

In addition, you can enhance the overall experience by using high-quality, freshly roasted coffee beans, making sure your water is filtered and at the ideal temperature (about 200°F or 93°C), and allowing the brewed coffee to cool a bit before serving it over ice. These small adjustments can contribute to a more flavorful and enjoyable Chemex cold brew experience.

How can I make my Chemex better?

Step by Step

  1. Heat your water to 205 degrees by bringing it to a boil and letting it sit for 30 seconds.
  2. Unfold the Chemex filter and insert in the top of the brewer, making sure the 3-layered side of the filter is lined up with the pouring spout.
  3. Pour hot water around the inside of the filter for about 5 seconds.

What can I add to cold brew to make it better?

Here are 10 ways to make a great thing even better, from frothy coconut milk to cinnamon simple syrup.

  1. Flavored Simple Syrup. Granulated sugar won’t dissolve properly in any cold liquid, coffee included.
  2. Coconut Milk. That can of coconut milk can do a lot more than fill out your curry.
  3. Coconut Water.
  4. Ice Cubes, 2.0.


Can I use Chemex for cold brew?

s said, you can make cold brew coffee with a Chemex. The Chemex will be used to separate the ground coffee from the water. In a more traditional cold brew coffee recipe, you’ll be told to use a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth or a regular thin paper filter to strain out the ground coffee.

Does steeping cold brew longer make it stronger?

A Longer Method: 18h

Any self-respecting coffee expert would recommend steeping your cold brew for around 18 hours because this will not only give you a stronger but a much more robust flavor.

What is the best grind for Chemex?

medium coarse grind

The Chemex works very well for light, medium and dark roasts- even tea! Q | What type of grind should I use and why? A | One should use a medium coarse grind. This will allow for the best extraction and flow rate will brewing the coffee.

How do you make a Chemex filter?

Traditional Filter Folding Instructions

  1. Step 1: Fold the Chemex filter in half.
  2. Step 2: Place the funnel in the top portion of the Chemex coffeemaker, with 3 layers on the groove side.
  3. Step 3: Put coffee in the filter paper cone.
  4. Step 4: Refer to the brew instructions for remaining steps.


Why does my cold brew taste weak?

Cold brew is often diluted and/or served over ice. If you’ve added too much water or ice, it will taste weak. If the caffeine is there but the taste isn’t, the cold brew probably hasn’t steeped long enough. Caffeine dissolves in water much easier than other compounds in coffee beans.

Can I add sugar to cold brew?

Pour cooled down coffee into a cup and add 1/2 cup of more ice. Brown sugar simple syrup is what I add to my iced coffee but you can use any kind of simple syrup (including flavored) you like. Stirring sugar into a cold drink doesn’t do a great job in sweetening a drink since the sugar just sinks to the bottom.