If you’re a coffee enthusiast who enjoys the art of pour-over brewing, then you’re likely familiar with the Chemex.
This iconic coffee maker is renowned for its simple yet elegant design, which not only brews a superb cup of coffee but also doubles as a beautiful piece of kitchenware.
However, to truly elevate your Chemex coffee experience, you need the right coffee beans.
In this post, we’ll guide you through our top 6 picks for the best coffee for Chemex brewing.
Whether you prefer light, medium, or dark roasts, we’ve got you covered.
6 Best Coffee Beans For Chemex: At A Glance
- Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee: Best Overall
- Café Britt Costa Rican Tres Rios Valdivia Coffee
- Delta Ground Roasted Coffee from Brazil
- Peet’s Coffee Single Origin Brazil
- Don Pablo Colombian Decaf
- Trung Nguyen Premium Blend Vietnamese Coffee
1. Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee: Best Overall
If you’re on the hunt for the best coffee to brew in your Chemex, look no further.
Our top pick, without a doubt, is Volcanica’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee.
Volcanica sources their Yirgacheffe beans from a group of small farms, all situated in the same area at elevations ranging from 5,400 to 5,900 feet.
What makes these beans special is that they are grown in the shade of volcanic ash.
Plus, they’ve got some impressive certifications – this coffee is organic, fair trade, and kosher.
What really sets the Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee apart is its unique origin and exotic flavor with a delightful touch of acidity.
Yirgacheffe, a coffee region in southern Ethiopia, is known for producing coffees that boast floral and fruity notes, thanks to the traditional Arabica varieties that have been growing there for ages.
Dry-processed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffees tend to be medium-bodied, pleasantly acidic, and feature fruity or wine-like hints.
This coffee is celebrated for its distinctive characteristics, including floral citrus notes and a clean, refreshing taste that coffee enthusiasts can’t get enough of.
When it comes to flavor, Volcanica’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee is often described as having hints of blueberry, lemon, and jasmine.
It’s bright and fruity, with a touch of sweetness and a smooth finish.
You’ll find it well-balanced and not overly strong or bitter.
But if you’re looking for a coffee with chocolate and smoky flavors, you might want to explore other options.
2. Café Britt Costa Rican Tres Rios Valdivia Coffee
The Café Britt Costa Rican Tres Rios Valdivia Coffee is a single-origin gem hailing from the Tres Rios region in Costa Rica, renowned for producing some of the world’s finest coffee.
Nestled in the high-mountain climate of Tres Rios, this coffee enjoys distinct wet and dry seasons and nutrient-rich soil courtesy of the nearby Irazu Volcano.
These natural blessings create the perfect environment for growing exceptional coffee beans.
Café Britt, a family-run operation, not only cherishes the environment but also its people.
They proudly wear the carbon-neutral badge.
When they say their coffee is shade-grown on lofty slopes and sun-dried, they mean it.
The Valdivia blend promises a rich, full-bodied coffee with exciting hints of citrus and fruitiness, like allspice, zesty orange, and juicy plum.
This Arabica coffee gets a medium-light roast to preserve its quality and delightful aroma.
Expect a honey-nut fragrance that’s simply inviting and a flavor that’s harmonious and refined.
You can enjoy this coffee in both ground and whole-bean options.
It’s a cup of Costa Rican goodness waiting for you to savor.
3. Delta Ground Roasted Coffee from Brazil
Delta Ground Roasted Coffee from Brazil is a delightful and tropical blend crafted from the finest Brazilian beans, resulting in a smooth and sophisticated brew.
It’s a coffee that dances with the sweet and fruity aroma of Brazilian goodness.
What’s great about this coffee is that it’s ground to a Universal Standard, which means it suits most brewing methods, be it a machine, a bag, a pot, or a mocha.
This Brazilian blend is a light and full-flavored coffee, thanks to the careful selection of the best beans from Brazil.
It offers a sweet taste, a medium body, a hint of acidity, and that lovely fruity aroma that’ll perk up your mornings.
Plus, the packaging is designed to lock in all the coffee’s enticing smells and flavors, ensuring you get the full coffee experience.
Delta Café is a leader in the Portuguese market, known for its strong customer loyalty.
They’re a brand with a human face, dedicated to bringing you the best coffee in the world.
4. Peet’s Coffee Single Origin Brazil
If you’re in the United States, you’ve likely come across the well-known name of Peet’s Coffee.
They’re a big deal in the coffee scene here, and the good news is they’ve got their own Brazilian coffee.
Peet’s Coffee Single Origin Brazil is a medium roast coffee, created from coffee cherries that bask in the Brazilian sun in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil.
This coffee gets its sweet and nutty perfection from that tropical sunshine.
The charm of natural Brazil coffees is the flavor – it’s like biting into freshly roasted hazelnuts.
Minas Gerais, the largest and most prolific state in Brazil, follows the natural method of preparing coffee beans, a method Peet’s Coffee holds dear in this part of the world.
This single-origin coffee is medium-roasted, bringing out a smooth, well-balanced flavor that’s downright delightful when brewed in a Chemex.
When you take a sip, you’ll notice hints of milk chocolate, hazelnut, and a touch of sweet fruit dancing in the cup.
It’s a taste of Brazil that you won’t want to miss.
5. Don Pablo Colombian Decaf
Colombia has a well-deserved reputation as a coffee powerhouse, and one of the reasons behind its coffee’s excellence is the way it’s grown on small family farms.
This personal touch adds depth, complexity, and a burst of flavor to the beans.
Now, let’s talk about Don Pablo Colombian Decaf.
It’s a decaffeinated coffee that goes through a natural decaffeination process known as the Swiss Water Process, leaving you with a cup that’s almost entirely caffeine-free, around 99.9% to be exact.
This Colombian Supremo is a mild, sweet, and rich coffee with a smooth medium body.
It’s got a touch of pleasant acidity and hints of citrus notes, all topped off with a lasting finish of chocolate and walnut.
This coffee is all about being smooth with very little acidity, giving you a genuine coffee experience without the caffeine jolt.
The beans also get a slight caramelization during the roasting process, which adds a subtle roasty flavor while preserving their natural character, leaving you with a sweet and enjoyable aftertaste.
And here’s the kicker – Don Pablo Colombian Decaf is 100% Arabica Coffee, GMO-free, and comes in both whole bean and ground options.
It’s a decaf that doesn’t compromise on flavor.
6. Trung Nguyen Premium Blend Vietnamese Coffee
Vietnamese coffee beans are often favored for their higher caffeine content and cost-effective production methods.
They’re commonly used for instant coffee or blending with other roasts.
You’ll often come across these roasts in major supermarkets, and the good news is that you can also find them on Amazon.
One popular choice in this category is Trung Nguyen Premium Blend Vietnamese Coffee, perfect for brewing at home.
It’s a traditional coffee blend, combining Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and Catimore beans.
This coffee is known for its robust and bold flavor, featuring a hint of mild sourness and acidity, along with cacao notes.
What makes this coffee stand out is the traditional Vietnamese roasting process, giving it a distinctive and aromatic quality.
You can enjoy the Premium Blend conveniently packed in luxurious cans, making it a great option for gifting.
The best part is that Trung Nguyen Premium Blend is ground to work well with various brewing methods, whether you prefer a Vietnamese Phin Filter, drip brewer, moka pot, or a French Press.
It’s available in different sizes and can be purchased from various online stores.
If you’re a fan of bold, flavorful coffee with a caffeine kick, Vietnamese roasts might be your perfect match.
Best Origins for the Best Chemex Coffee
When you’re on the quest for the finest coffee to brew in your Chemex, understanding the origins of the beans is essential.
Here, we explore the top seven coffee bean origins known for delivering exceptional flavors when brewed using a Chemex.
Ethiopia is renowned as the birthplace of Arabica coffee, and it consistently produces coffee beans with unique and diverse flavor profiles.
Ethiopian coffees are celebrated for their floral and fruity notes, making them a perfect match for the clean, bright brew that the Chemex delivers.
Whether you opt for Yirgacheffe, Sidamo, or Harrar beans, expect intriguing hints of citrus, floral undertones, and a delightful acidity that flourishes in your Chemex cup.
Colombian coffee is synonymous with quality, and for good reason.
The diverse microclimates of the country allow for a wide range of flavor profiles.
Colombian coffee beans are typically characterized by their well-balanced acidity, medium body, and notes of caramel and citrus.
When brewed in a Chemex, the result is a cup that’s both rich and vibrant, offering a taste of South American coffee excellence.
Kenyan coffee is celebrated for its bold and exotic flavor profile.
It often features bright acidity and a complexity of flavors, including fruity and floral notes, often with a touch of wine-like undertones.
When brewed in a Chemex, Kenyan coffee can create a truly unique and dynamic cup that awakens your taste buds.
Guatemalan coffee is known for its rich and chocolatey flavor with a full body.
The volcanic soils and high-altitude regions contribute to the coffee’s unique characteristics.
Chemex brewing enhances the chocolate and nutty undertones of Guatemalan coffee, making it a great choice for those who enjoy a fuller-bodied cup with a touch of sweetness.
Costa Rican coffee is often celebrated for its clean and balanced flavor profile.
It offers a pleasant brightness and mild acidity, making it a fantastic choice for those who appreciate a well-rounded, harmonious cup of coffee.
The Chemex method accentuates the natural flavors of Costa Rican coffee, creating a brew that’s both clean and flavorful.
Brazilian coffee is known for its nutty and sweet flavor profile, often with notes of chocolate and caramel.
These beans make for a wonderfully comforting cup of coffee when brewed in a Chemex.
The medium body and low acidity of Brazilian coffee create a smooth and mellow drinking experience.
Vietnamese coffee, usually Robusta, offers a bold and earthy flavor with a robust body.
This coffee type stands out with its dark roast and often chocolate or smoky notes.
Brewed in a Chemex, it produces a strong and distinctive cup for those who prefer a robust, full-bodied coffee with a hint of bitterness.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Coffee for Chemex Brewing
If you’re an enthusiast of the Chemex brewing method, you understand that selecting the right coffee beans is essential to unlock the full potential of this classic pour-over coffee maker.
Here’s a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you make an informed decision when seeking the best coffee for Chemex.
Coffee Bean Roast Level
The roast level of your coffee beans significantly impacts the flavor profile of your Chemex brew.
For a Chemex, medium roast coffee beans are often preferred.
They strike a balance between the rich body of a dark roast and the bright acidity of a light roast.
Medium roasts tend to bring out the nuanced flavors without overpowering them.
However, the ideal roast level can vary depending on your personal taste, so consider experimenting with different roast levels to find your favorite.
Coffee Bean Freshness
Freshness is crucial when it comes to coffee beans.
Look for beans that have been recently roasted, preferably within a few weeks of your purchase.
Coffee begins to lose its aromatic compounds and flavors over time.
To ensure the best taste, buy whole-bean coffee and grind it just before brewing.
Opt for coffee roasters or brands that provide roast date information on their packaging.
Coffee Bean Origin
Coffee beans come from various regions worldwide, each offering unique flavor profiles.
Consider where your coffee beans originate and whether the flavors align with your preferences.
Some regions, like Ethiopia or Colombia, are known for producing beans with distinct fruity and floral notes, ideal for a Chemex.
Others, like Brazil, offer more nutty and chocolatey flavors.
Understanding coffee bean origin can help you select the flavor profile that suits your palate.
Single-Origin vs. Blends
Decide whether you want single-origin or blended coffee.
Single-origin beans come from a specific region or even a single farm, offering a pure and distinct flavor.
Blends, on the other hand, combine beans from various sources to create a more balanced and complex flavor.
For Chemex Brewing, both can be excellent choices; it depends on your taste preference.
The grind size of your coffee beans plays a significant role in the Chemex brewing process.
For a Chemex, a medium-coarse grind is generally recommended.
The coarser grind allows for a slower extraction, resulting in a clean and well-balanced cup of coffee.
Experiment with your grinder settings to find the ideal grind size that suits your Chemex and brewing time.
Maintaining the right coffee-to-water ratio is key to achieving the best results with your Chemex.
A common starting point is using 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water.
However, feel free to adjust this ratio to match your taste preferences, keeping in mind that it may affect the strength and flavor of your brew.
Brewing Water Quality
The quality of your water is often underestimated but is crucial for a great cup of coffee.
Use clean, filtered water without impurities or strong odors.
The water temperature should be between 195°F to 205°F (90°C to 96°C) to ensure proper extraction and optimal flavor.
Personal Taste Preferences
Ultimately, the best coffee for Chemex is a matter of personal preference.
Experiment, explore, and trust your taste buds.
Different coffees offer a wide range of flavors, so don’t be afraid to try various beans and brewing techniques until you find the perfect coffee for your Chemex that satisfies your unique palate.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Brewing the Best Chemex Coffee
For the ultimate Chemex coffee experience, attention to detail is key.
Follow this step-by-step guide to master the art of making the best Chemex coffee:
1. Boil Water and Rest It
Start by boiling fresh water, and then let it sit for 2-3 minutes after boiling.
This waiting period allows the water to cool slightly to the ideal temperature range of 195-205°F (90-96°C).
2. Prepare the Chemex and Filter
Unfold the Chemex paper filter and place it in the top section of the brewer, ensuring that the triple-layered side is facing the spout.
Rinse the filter with hot water to preheat it and remove any paper taste.
Discard the rinse water.
3. Measure Your Coffee
For a standard 13 fluid ounce (384ml) cup of Chemex coffee, measure out 24 grams of coffee beans.
Adjust this amount based on your desired cup size and coffee-to-water ratio.
Use a digital scale to ensure precision.
4. Add Coffee and Zero the Scale
Place the coffee grounds in the prepped filter.
Zero your digital scale to measure the exact amount of water you’ll add in the next steps.
5. Begin the Bloom
Start pouring hot water over the coffee grounds, starting from the center and moving outward in concentric circles.
This initial pour, known as the “bloom,” should be just enough water to wet all the grounds.
This helps release gases from the coffee and prepares it for full extraction.
Allow the coffee to bloom for about 30 seconds.
6. Slow and Steady Pour
Continue pouring the hot water slowly and steadily, making sure not to pour directly onto the paper filter to prevent over-extraction.
Pour in a spiral pattern from the center to the edge.
Maintain a gentle and consistent pour, keeping the water level just below the top of the Chemex.
7. Let It Drip
Wait for the coffee to finish dripping through the filter.
This should take about 4-6 minutes, depending on factors like grind size and coffee freshness.
Be patient, as this is where the magic happens.
8. Remove the Filter, Swirl, and Pour
Once the dripping stops, carefully lift and remove the paper filter with the coffee grounds.
Give your Chemex a gentle swirl to mix the brew evenly.
Now, you’re ready to pour the delicious Chemex coffee into your favorite cup.
9. Savor Your Brew
Take a moment to savor the aroma and flavor of your freshly brewed Chemex coffee.
Remember to adjust your grind size, water temperature, brewing time, and coffee-to-water ratio to fine-tune your coffee to perfection, ensuring it aligns with your unique taste preferences.
Important Aspects To Keep In Mind
- Grind size: The grind size should be medium-coarse.
- Water temperature: The ideal temperature range is between 195-205°F.
- Brewing time: The brewing time should be around 4-6 minutes.
- Coffee to water ratio: The recommended ratio is 1:15 or 1:17 (coffee to water).
The Verdict: Which Is The Best Coffee For Chemex?
We chose Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee as the best coffee for Chemex due to its outstanding combination of a unique origin, complex flavor profile, and impeccable quality.
Sourced from the Yirgacheffe region in Ethiopia, this coffee boasts floral and fruity notes that truly shine in the Chemex.
With its USDA organic certification, medium body, bright acidity, and delightful hints of blueberry, lemon, and jasmine, it delivers an extraordinary coffee experience.
Its smooth finish and well-balanced nature make it a top choice for Chemex enthusiasts looking for a truly exceptional cup of coffee.
What kind of coffee do you use for Chemex?
For Chemex, we recommend using high-quality, freshly roasted coffee beans.
Single-origin coffees, such as Ethiopian Yirgacheffe or Colombian, are popular choices.
The key is to choose coffee that aligns with your flavor preferences.
What is the best grind size for Chemex?
The ideal grind size for Chemex is medium-coarse, similar to sea salt.
This consistency allows for a balanced extraction and a clean, flavorful cup.
Why does coffee taste better in a Chemex?
Chemex’s design, with its thick paper filters and hourglass shape, allows for a full extraction of coffee’s nuanced flavors.
The result is a clean, sediment-free, and well-balanced cup of coffee that often highlights the bean’s unique characteristics.
Can you use ground coffee for Chemex?
Yes, you can use pre-ground coffee for Chemex, but it’s best to grind your beans just before brewing to preserve freshness and flavor.
If using pre-ground, ensure it’s a medium-coarse grind suitable for Chemex.
Is light or dark roast better for Chemex?
Both light and dark roasts can work well with Chemex, depending on your taste preferences.
Light roasts accentuate the bean’s unique flavors, while dark roasts provide a richer, bolder profile.
Experiment to find what suits you best.
Why is my Chemex so slow?
A slow brew in a Chemex may be due to a too-fine grind or a clogged filter.
Adjust your grind size to coarser, and ensure there’s no blockage in the filter to maintain a steady flow.
You could also be using just too much coffee which might be slowing down the brewing process.
How do you keep Chemex hot?
To keep your Chemex coffee hot, use a Chemex-specific insulated sleeve or place it on a pre-warmed surface like a coaster or trivet.
You can also pre-warm the vessel itself before brewing to help maintain the coffee’s temperature.
Our favorite option is to simply use a thermal carafe, which will help your coffee hot for hours.