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shivohum
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Joined: 20 Feb 2011
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Location: New York
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Posted Sun Feb 20, 2011, 8:48am
Subject: Chemex for just one cup - am I doing it right?
 

I've looked at the Stumptown and Intelligentsia Chemex brewing guides, and have tried to follow them. I have I think a 4-cup pitcher, but I just want to make an 8 oz cup. So that means I've been using about 22 grams of coffee beans and 10 oz of filtered water.

The problem is I wonder if that I don't feel like the coffee is as flavorful as it should be. It's lacking something in complexity and richness that I feel like I've gotten in Chemex before. Could I be doing something wrong? In particular, it only takes 2 minutes for the brewing process to be finished... Intelligentsia says it should 3.5-4 minutes. But that's with more than twice the amount of coffee.

Does the process even work with just one cup? Should I be grinding much finer? Or something else? Thanks.
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yakster
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Posted Sun Feb 20, 2011, 9:39am
Subject: Re: Chemex for just one cup - am I doing it right?
 

With traditional pour-over filters, you control the drain our drawdown time with the grind setting, but with the thicker Chemex filters it's less critical, but still a factor.  Fine up the grinds to slow the drawdown, but not so much that it becomes to bitter; dial in the brew by finding where it becomes too bitter and back off.

Are you using a bloom pour with about 50 ml water before your main pourusing fresh coffee?  Maybe a stir to break up the clumps too. All this doesn't address the issue that it may not be ideal to brew just one cup in a larger brewer because each brewer seems to have a best batch size, probably because in your case the coffee cools down during the brew due to the small volume of liquid.

 
-Chris

LMWDP # 272
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eastbaysanfranman
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eastbaysanfranman
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Posted Sun Feb 20, 2011, 11:49am
Subject: Re: Chemex for just one cup - am I doing it right?
 

TRUST me on this, purchase a Clever Coffee Dripper. http://www.sweetmarias.com/clevercoffeedripperpictorial.php It produces the best paper filtered coffee I have ever had. It combines full immersion with paper filtering. (theres a valve on the bottom to release the coffee after the standard 4 minute brewtime. Rich coffee. Best thing, it's only like $15.
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ChemistryNerd
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Posted Sun Feb 20, 2011, 12:32pm
Subject: Re: Chemex for just one cup - am I doing it right?
 

Agreed with SanFranMan.
I had coffee from a chemex, and I didn't think it was anything special. However, with a Koava Cone, the coffee can be oily, rich, and great. I don't care for paper filter chemex, though.
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crayonshinchan
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Posted Wed May 18, 2011, 11:23am
Subject: Re: Chemex for just one cup - am I doing it right?
 

yakster Said:

With traditional pour-over filters, you control the drain our drawdown time with the grind setting, but with the thicker Chemex filters it's less critical, but still a factor.  Fine up the grinds to slow the drawdown, but not so much that it becomes to bitter; dial in the brew by finding where it becomes too bitter and back off.

Are you using a bloom pour with about 50 ml water before your main pourusing fresh coffee?  Maybe a stir to break up the clumps too. All this doesn't address the issue that it may not be ideal to brew just one cup in a larger brewer because each brewer seems to have a best batch size, probably because in your case the coffee cools down during the brew due to the small volume of liquid.

Posted February 20, 2011 link

+1 to this

Also remember that when making less brewed coffee, you shouldn't necessarily cut the coffee/water ratio in half.  For example, most Chemex ratios are 42g coffee for every 20oz brewed coffee (this is usually about 21oz of water).  So if you want to cut that in half, don't cut the coffee portion in half since the brew time is quicker, even with a finer grind (and it's easy to get it too fine for a Chemex and overextract).  You should experiment with grind setting and coffee portions but maybe start with something like 25g coffee?
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JPDyson
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Posted Thu May 19, 2011, 6:48am
Subject: Re: Chemex for just one cup - am I doing it right?
 

I think your ratio of coffee to water is in range (22g of coffee to 10oz). I routinely make single cups that size in my 6-cup Chemex, and that's close to my ratio. I would focus on grind size and pour technique. Go finer, and heed the advice above about bloom/pour. Also, try Hario filters - they're a bit less restrictive and you'll notice the difference in the cup if that's the only thing you change. However, a finer grind would be required - they flow through more quickly.

 
--Josh
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JosephM
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Posted Sat Dec 29, 2012, 4:21pm
Subject: Re: Chemex for just one cup - am I doing it right?
 

Bumping this old topic because I'm having the same problem OP was. I generally enjoy one cup (8oz/approx. 220ml) at a time, and as a Chemex newbie I'm trying to get the parameters right for my 3-cup Chemex (apparently the smallest one available). Using the same parameters I use for the v60, it yields a cup of brewed coffee way too quickly. These parameters are 14g coffee, medium grind (MAYBE a bit towards the med-fine end), 220ml water. With the v60, I use staged/pulse brewing in three stages after a 30ml bloom, which means I'm pouring to 80ml, then 160 ml, then up to the 220 mark.

This method resulted in about a 2:30 time with the Chemex, even quicker than the v60 time. I've tried upping my Chemex dose to as high as 18g of coffee, while at the same time making the grind size as fine as possible while still being able to rationally consider it "medium-fine" rather than just straight up "fine." This got the brew time up to about 3:00. Similar results with the pulse pour and a couple variations of a more continuous pour. I haven't tried going any finer because the Chemex instructions suggest sticking to a medium or coarse grind and I'd like to stick to the traditional method--but we'll see what I have to end up doing. Anyway, because this still tasted far from what I think the Chemex can do, here I am! Any suggestions?? Thanks in advance.

PS: A couple thoughts. 1) I normally use lightly roasted coffee, but my go-to store for fresh coffee was out of any light options, so I'm using a french roast now, which I can only describe as being, when ground, much "fluffier" ("poofier"?) than light roasts. I don't know what this effect is called, and it does not seem to affect the v60 grind, but I do wonder if it is having any effect on the Chemex. 2) After pouring water into the Chemex + filter to rinse and preheat, I remove the filter and replace it, which seems to reduce the "seal" between paper and glass--another thing which might or might not be contributing to the quick drawdown. Thanks again for any input.
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