Chemex is the most aesthetically pleasing coffee brewer out there that can provide you with a rich coffee experience. But to get the best taste of Chemex coffee, you need to ensure your favorite coffee maker is in tip-top condition and clean throughout.
Let’s talk about the coffee maker a little and then jump into the cleaning methods for your Chemex coffee maker.
Dr. Peter Schumbolm, a German chemist (I’ll hold back on the political jokes, I promise), was a very busy man back in 1941.
When he invented the Chemex coffee brewer, he was working on 300 other patents of products ranging from cocktail shakers to automobiles.
Dr. Schumbolm’s goal was to create a coffee brewer that can brew a clear cup of coffee free of residues while looking really, really classy and cool.
And he actually succeeded! The design is so cool that it’s considered art and is displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Philadelphia Museum.
The Chemex is a one-piece vessel that is shaped like an hourglass.
The vessel in question is made out of non-porous borosilicate glass that is highly heat resistant. There’s a wooden collar with a leather tie placed on the middle section of the coffee maker for gripping.
There are models where you can have a glass handle instead of a wooden collar. But since the wooden collar is more classy-looking, I’ll go with that one.
The reason why many coffee enthusiasts prefer Chemex for coffee-making is that Chemex brews you the purest coffee, since the coffee only comes in contact with the coffee filter specifically designed for Chemex and the jar that collects the coffee after extraction.
Currently, there are three types of Chemex brewers in the market.
- The Classic Version
- The “Glass-Handle” version
- The Hand-Blown series
There’s no denying that the Chemex is an awesome brewing method, but it’s this uniqueness that makes it tough to clean up. But there are more ways to skin a cat, so there’s nothing to worry about.
The most difficulty while cleaning the Chemex comes from the coffee brewer’s beaker-like design and hourglass shape.
Though we’re going to discuss how to clean a Chemex coffee brewer in different ways, all these ways have one instruction in common.
No matter which cleaning method you apply, make sure you take all the coffee out and let the brewer cool down to room temperature before starting the cleaning process.
If you soak a hot glass jar in cold water, the sudden temperature can shatter, or worse, break the Chemex altogether, and you don’t want that sort of mess in the kitchen.
The most basic way (and the best way if you are considering bacteria removal) is to thoroughly wash it with soap, water, and a brush after every use. It’s also the most simple method.
You need to use a bottle brush with soft bristles and a long arm. The long-arm part is really important if you want to easily reach the internal walls and corners and get rid of those stuck coffee grounds and the oily residue.
When you’re done cleaning, don’t forget to rinse thoroughly. Otherwise, the soapy water flavors stick to the coffee maker, and it can ruin your next batch of coffee, along with your day.
This is a more simple method than the previous one, but just as sanitizing since you are using hot water to wash out most germs.
All you need to do is take some boiled hot water, pour it into the Chemex brewer, and swirl it around the insides for a couple of minutes.
The warm water flushes out all the old coffee residues present in the Chemex and also prevents anything else that is stuck in there from ruining your fresh batch after cleaning.
Have you ever heard of chicory coffee? Read our how to make chicory coffee article, and make some for yourself.
This is a more complicated method than the last two, but the result is worth the hassle. But you’ll need a bunch of items for this one:
- One full pint of ice
- Two tablespoons of table salt
- Few drops of liquid dish soap
After you’ve cleaned out all the residues from your coffee maker and cooled it down, pour in the ice, salt, and dish soap altogether in the brewer. Once they’re all nicely mixed together, Fill up the Chemex up to a third of the way with water.
The swirling ice cubes in the Chemex apply a decent amount of force to clean off all the coffee oils and residues while not scruffing the insides. The salt becomes an abrasive that gets rid of the coffee stain and mineral residues.
This method works better when you need to deep-clean your Chemex. In case of deep cleaning, you will need to swirl the mix around for a couple of minutes longer.
This method is a mix of soap and water method with vinegar, and it’s similar to the soap-water method while needing more time than the previous methods.
You’ll need to let your Chemex soak for thirty minutes to one hour after pouring white vinegar in. Once the time has passed, you can thoroughly rinse and clean it again with soap and water to get rid of the vinegar flavor from the walls.
If you’re still worried that your coffee can taste bad, it’s best to let the Chemex dry out in a well-ventilated room overnight. Doing so ensures that both the flavor of vinegar and soap water is aired out of the Chemex.
An important part to note is to not set the Chemex entirely upside down, where the lip of the Chemex is flat on the table. Instead, place part of the lip on an object to remain slightly tilted.
When you set the lip completely flat, you trap all the air inside the brewer, and there’s no airflow. Leaving the Chemex like that overnight will cause the air inside to condense and make it even worse. Worst case scenario, you may find molding in there.
This is for both the people who don’t want to go through a long hassle and those who don’t have a lot of time.
There are a lot of Chemex types that are completely dishwasher safe. However, you need to make sure from the packaging if the manufacturers claim if it’s dishwasher safe or not.
You can put your Chemex in a dishwasher and clean it out thoroughly if the packaging says it is. But even when the Chemex is dishwasher safe, there are cautions to take.
The body of the Chemex is still highly delicate, so it’s better to be more careful when cleaning a Chemex in the dishwasher.
Also, don’t forget to remove the wooden collar and the leather tie before loading them in the dishwasher. Because we all know, those are two things that don’t go well with water.
Multiple methods we mentioned above involve drying the Chemex out before starting to brew your next cup of joe.
Here are a couple of ways to ensure that your favorite coffee brewer is dried properly.
This is the most accessible option. It’s also the easiest since throwing out the soaked paper towel once the Chemex is fully dried out is all you need to do.
Remember when we talked about setting the Chemex slightly tilted after applying the white vinegar method? You can use a paper towel to do it.
All you need to do is lay down a paper towel, fold the edge up enough to create a height difference and place the tip of the Chemex on the high point that you just folded out.
A kitchen towel is also a viable method considering they are made out of soft fabrics that don’t scratch the glass surface. But you need to be careful that the towel isn’t already wet from wiping other kitchen utensils.
This is less drying equipment and more aftercare equipment. If you thoroughly polish the inside and the outside of the Chemex with a microfiber dishcloth, it looks extra shiny when you’re showing it off to your friends and family.
Had fun learning steps to clean a chemex? You will love to read our how to clean a burr grinder article.
Nothing brings out the taste of the coffee like a good old Chemex brewer, and a clean Chemex makes the quality consistent, offering a delicious coffee to the coffee lovers who own a Chemex.
Use your newfound knowledge wisely, and have fun with your shiny, clean new Chemex.
If your Chemex coffee maker has a long-term build-up of coffee oils and coffee grounds, your coffee can seem cloudy or unclean at times. This indicates it’s time to clean out your coffee maker.
Since Chemex is easier to clean than most other coffee brewers, and the glass jar can get cloudy and dirty really fast, it’s better to clean out the Chemex after brewing coffee every time.
Chemex Ottomatic is an automatic pour-over version of the classic Chemex. FOr this one, you just need to take it apart and wash it with soap, water, and a cleaning brush. Or just go with a Chemex cleaning solution.
It’s better to use the Chemex paper filter and not look for other alternatives since the manufacturers of Chemex create this reusable coffee filter specifically for Chemex.
A hot water rinse on your Chemex can get rid of any coffee residue and coffee oils without much hassle, plus the high temperature of the water takes care of the germs and bacteria present in the brewer. That’s why a hot water rinse is highly effective.