One of the summer’s most popular coffee beverages is also the easiest to make, provided you have some time on your hands. Cafe-quality cold brew requires very little technique and can be made with just about anything, like a Mason jar or French press. In fact, you probably already own one of our favorite devices to make cold brew with: the Chemex.
Peter Schlumbohm’s iconic brewing device has been the go-to brewing device of aesthetically-minded coffee enthusiasts since the 1930s. It’s even featured in the MoMA’s permanent collection.
Although the device is designed for brewing hot filter coffee, the hourglass shape of the Chemex makes it a perfect vessel for steeping and decanting cold brew.
What You Need:
- A Chemex
- A conical pour-over dripper (it could be another Chemex, Hario V60, or Melitta cone)
- Paper filters.
- Medium ground coffee, preferably from your favorite local roaster.*
- Room temperature filtered water.
- A scale.
Measure out 50 grams of medium ground coffee. We’re using a 1:10 brew ratio to make a ready-to-drink cold brew. If you would prefer to make a concentrate (which is better for adding milk or cream to), you can use a 1:8 ratio. Depending on whether you’re using a 3, 6, or 8-cup Chemex, you can adjust the batch size as needed, just maintain the same ratio.
Add 500 ml. of room temperature filter water. Give the mixture a good store.
Step Three (optional)
Cover the top of your Chemex with cling wrap. You don’t want anything foreign objects getting in your coffee!
Let the coffee steep for 20-24 hours. After 24 hours the cold brew is unlikely to extract any more, especially if you’re making a concentrate.
From a food safety perspective, it’s safest to steep the cold brew inside the fridge. If you want to live life on the edge, you can steep the cold brew at room temperature for a higher extraction (i.e. more coffee flavor).
Place a rinsed filter in the other conical dripper and slowly pour the concoction through. Most of the grounds should remain in the bottom of the Chemex. You may have to wait for the mixture to drain a couple of times.
Serve over ice, and enjoy!
If you refrigerate the cold brew it should keep for 3-4 days, though for best results drink immediately.
The only downside of this approach is the clean up. It helps to fill the Chemex with warm water, give it a quick swirl, then dump all of the contents through a sieve– the last thing you want is coffee grounds clogging your drain.
* to be completely honest, the cold brew flavor profile eclipses much of a coffee’s origin characteristics. In an effort not to waste any coffee, we like to blend the leftovers from different bags of coffee together. This “mystery” blend makes for perfect cold brew.