Using a Chemex brewer is magical. It brews coffee like no other coffee maker can – literally. A Chemex is designed to extract oils from your coffee beans so as to give you the fullest, boldest taste available from your roast.
This makes picking beans for your Chemex easy, but also challenging. You can get a delicious cup of coffee from almost every type of bean if you brew it correctly. Check out our thorough step-by-step guide for brewing on a Chemex to ensure you’re getting the best access to unlocking your beans’ flavors.
Choosing the Right Beans for You
From dark roasts to light roasts, to espresso beans and everything else, your Chemex can brew it all and be delicious. So how does one pick? I’ve broken down the types of roast, most common places of origin, and the best way of brewing so that you can explore and find the perfect beans for you.
Coffee beans go through a long journey even before they make it into your hands. From the way they are grown, harvested, washed, roasted, and handled, these little guys undergo tons of change in order to be brewed. But the most commonly known element of beans is their roast level.
- Smaller in size due to shorter roasting times and less heat used
- Light brown or tan in color
- Have more acidic and bold flavors
- Contains more oils than other roasts (but looks less oily as the oil is still trapped inside the bean)
- When brewed in a Chemex, you’ll really taste the body of light roasts – tasting notes provided will come out boldly in a Chemex brew.
If a light roast is what will get your morning going, look no further than our favorite light roasts that we compiled for you!
- Most common roast in America
- Non-oily brown appearance
- Sweeter than light roasts and with a less acidic taste.
- A very balanced flavor and aroma
- Most recommended for Chemex brewing as it brings out all the flavors and sweetness of a medium roast for the most standard-tasting cup of coffee.
If you’re a medium roast kinda person like me, you can get started with shopping by checking out our top medium roast recommendations.
- Shiny dark-brown or black bean with an oily surface and shine
- Pronounced bitterness, but less acidic than any other roast
- Most commonly used for espresso roasting
- A very robust and full body taste range
- Dark roasts often roast out any unique elements of the beans’ origins and give a smokey flavor overall.
If Dark roast sounds like your cup of joe, check out some of our favorite dark roasts.
Another factor that can help you determine which beans to get for your Chemex is the coffee bean origin. Much like grapes grown for wine, there are so many elements in the growing process that will change the end flavor of your coffee bean.
Coffee originates from Ethiopia but is now grown all over the world. The top 5 regions that produce coffee are Ethiopia, Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, and Indonesia, so these are the most commonly found places of origin when shopping for coffee.
Ethiopia has some of the most variety in their beans as they are collected from multiple regions in Ethiopia, each with its own unique growing methods. However, these are the most commonly noted tasting notes for Ethiopian coffee beans.
- Citrus, berries, and spice
- Lighter, full-body flavor
- Clean, balanced, and mild
If these tasting notes sound right up your alley, you can check out some of our top recommendations for Ethiopian coffee roasts to get you started on finding the perfect roast for you!
Being the number one coffee bean producer in the world, Brazil offers a wide range of flavors and taste portfolios to try out. The tasting notes below are the most common attributes you’ll find in almost every Brazilian bean.
- Nutty, chocolaty, sweet, and caramelly
- Smooth and low-acidic
- Dark, bold, full-bodied roasts
If a dark roast is your kind of thing, looking at a Brazilian roast may be your best bet. Get started by checking out some of our top recommendations for Brazil-origin coffee beans.
Columbia takes great pride in its status as a leader in coffee production. Beans are grown and harvested on smaller family-run farms, which adds so much depth, complexity, and flavor to beans. Common tasting notes for Columbian coffee are:
- Sweet, fruity, citrusy
- Mild body and well balanced
- More acidic than average
Check out the world-renowned Don Pablo coffee brand for a great beginning point into Columbian coffee.
Due to their higher caffeine content and cheaper means of production, Vietnamese coffee beans tend to be used more often for instant coffee or for blend roasts. You’re more likely to find these roasts in big-name supermarkets and can enjoy their delicious tastes:
- Earthy, nutty, and chocolatey
- Strong, bold, and bitter
- Low acidity
If you like big, bold flavors and lots of caffeine, Vietnamese roasts might just be the best bet for you. Check out our top 5 favorite Vietnamese roasts available.
Indonesian roasts are well known and are often referred to more by their region than anything else. Ever heard of a Sumatra or Java roast? Yup, those are all Indonesian origins. Although there is great diversity within Indonesian beans, the common tasting notes are:
- Earthy, woody, spice
- Full-bodied, strong
- Low-toned, gentle acidity
Indonesian beans are definitely full of unique flavors that will stand out to you. To get started with your search for the perfect Indonesian roast, start with the top 5 recommended brands and roasts here.
We hope that by now you have a good idea of what roast and bean origin best suits you for making your ideal Chemex brew. It would be irresponsible of us not to give you a few pour-over brewing tips though – after all, we want to be your one-stop-shop for all things coffee related.
What’s the Best Grind Size for Chemex?
The size of your grinds for any pour-over type of brewer is going to be key to getting your perfect cup of coffee. Because of the longer immersion time that occurs during a Chemex brew, we recommend a medium-coarse to coarse grind size.
Grind settings vary from grinder to grinder, so a good visible estimate of a medium-coarse to coarse grind size looks and feels like anywhere between beach sand or sea salt.
Pre-ground or Fresh Grinds?
Which tastes better, freshly ground coffee or pre-ground coffee? If you’re trying to get the best cup of coffee available to you, always grind your beans directly before brewing them.
Once exposed to the elements, coffee grounds will quickly dry out, lose their oils and freshness and a lot of elements of the roast will be lost.
For the best brewing results, always buy your beans whole and grind them at home. We have some great suggestions for the best at-home grinder for you.
We hope that this guide to finding the best coffee for pour-overs helped guide you in narrowing down your taste palette and finding the perfect beans for you.
Whether you go with the classic taste of a medium-roasted Ethiopian bean or try something more complex like a light-roasted Brazilian bean, you will soon be enjoying all the flavors that the Chemex will bring out in your daily cup of coffee.