The Chemex-V60 Filter Swap

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Despite mentioning on their box that the CHEMEX® filter “Fits most conical filter Coffeemakers”, it never occurred to me to use them in anything other than the Chemex. Without Hario V60 filters in the house, however, Chemex filters seemed like a logical substitute for my V60 dripper. A Chemex filter is thicker than a Hario filter, slowing the brewing process, potentially resulting in a stronger brew. A Hario filter clings to the ridged sides of the cone creating a seal, preventing water from being dripped without passing through the grounds. This means the quality of the cup will depend entirely on the pour, and if a sound technique is not in place, the brewed coffee will be inconsistent. None of this was on my mind when I place a Chemex filter in a Hario V60 dripper, but the resulting cup of coffee spurred my interest in the differences between the two.

The beans I used were Brazilian Bob-o-Link, with a goal extraction percentage of .06 (17 grams of coffee to approximately 283 mL of H20). When using standard V60 filters with a set pouring technique, my total brew time (with a 30 second bloom) is 2 minutes and 45 seconds. After starting my pour with the thicker Chemex filter, however, I saw that the brew was going to take much longer. Keeping the same spiral pour pattern, my brew time came out to around 4 minutes. This would normally result on in a very bitter, over-extracted cup, but this was not the case. The body was much fuller, with less acidity and oils. All the flavors were boosted, yielding to a sweeter, more robust cup, with subtle flavors (hazelnut) emerging. Despite this, I understood why a V60 is to be used with a V60. There was no finesse and delicacy to the cup, which is something that makes a proper drip special. Tomorrow more V60 filters will be purchased, but it is good to know that in a pinch, Chemex filters will be an adequate substitute.

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