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Staff Picks: New Coffees Perfect for Chemex

And our favorite (easy) recipe to go with them!

by Ben Hillin | March 24, 2020

We love discovering new coffees at home as much as you do! So, we’re letting you in on Team Trade’s current favorites with our weekly series, Staff Picks.

Today’s spotlight is on our resident Chemex expert and Coffee Guide, Ben Hillin. While working from home, he’s been busy experimenting with his latest favorite coffees that he’s sharing with you (plus, his top-secret recipe).

"When asked to write about new coffees on the site right now, I was delighted and then overwhelmed. Just about every single coffee from our amazing partners could have gone on this list. However, I narrowed it down by two categories: coffees that are approachable and coffees that are surprising to me (I’ve tasted a lot of coffee over the past eight years). I love coffees that are structured, complex, and balanced. For me, when we talk about balance in coffee we’re looking for: sweetness, acidity, body. My personal preference is that no part overwhelms the other. Enjoy!"

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This one really takes me by surprise. It’s part Guatemalan, part Ethiopian. It’s perfectly roasted and blended to be a drip coffee at either a coffee shop or at home. But it’s still so delicate. A nice slick body is enhanced by a date-like sweetness and just a hint of florals, like jasmine! I love it black, but it's perfect with some oat milk (my milk preference).

City of Saints Denzien ($14.75)

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This is a truly special coffee that I have had the fortune of trying. If you feel like treating yourself (this clocks in just under $40 for a 10 ounce bag!), I would put this at the top of your list. Partly what makes this so special is that it’s grown at a very low elevation on the Galapagos Islands. What strikes you when drinking this is the mellow honeyed sweetness, cut with a red berry acidity. It finishes with an interesting vegetal note. It’s a complex, intensely sweet cup. Kind of wish I had some right now...

Passenger Ecuador La Tortuga ($39.75)

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This coffee has been an absolute delight. It may not feel or taste very interesting, but I would disagree with that assessment. A rolling rich sweetness pairs really nicely with a mellow acidity. It's like when a nice cocktail has a lime peel floating on top. Subtle, but needed! I’ve had it on both my Chemex and coffeemaker, and it’s an absolute dream. It’s approachable and from a region not many folks have tried yet.

Kickapoo Organic Project Congo Muungano ($21.20)

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This is the blend that made me love blends. It’s rich and thick. Very sweet, almost winey, but not cloying or acidic. Amazing black, or with some (oat!) milk. It’s probably the coffee I use most to introduce people to specialty coffee. The flavors are crisp and clean. It’s deep, but not murky. The Verve folks really, really know what they’re doing.

Verve Buena Vista ($18.25)

huck pick

This ain’t your typical natural. A lot of folks think of naturally processed coffees (that is coffee beans that are left to ferment in the coffee fruit for a few days) as an overly sweet, berry explosion. This is a gorgeous example of the naturals from Central America. With a soft red grape-like sweetness, enhanced by a chocolate backbone, this natural is easily an all-day-every-day kind of coffee. Subtle but still very sweet, and very balanced.

Huckleberry Panama Carmen Natural ($24.75)

Get Ben's Chemex Recipe

"I’m known in the office as 'the Chemex guy,' and while this is a recipe I have taken from both our partner George Howell and a former co-worker, it’s just slightly modified by me. This is great for one (if you’re as coffee addicted as me) or for about three to four people!"

What You Need:

Instructions:

  1. Heat up about 1 liter of water to 203 to 205 F (hint: shoot for 185 to 195 F if you’re at a higher elevation!)
  2. Weigh out 50 grams of coffee
  3. Set your grinder to medium-coarse, erring closer to coarse
  4. Grab your Chemex and rinse out your filter with hot water. Discard the water
  5. Put your coffee in the Chemex and shake it side to side, this helps level the coffee bed
  6. Start your timer and pour in about 250 grams of water. You can pour pretty hard and vigorously. The point of this pour is to saturate the grounds. Move the kettle quickly as well, in a whipping motion
  7. Once the bubbles stop and the water drains, usually around the one-minute mark, pour up to 520 grams of water
  8. At the 2:30 mark, pour to 775 to 800 grams of water (up to you! 775 grams will yield a denser cup, 800 will yield a softer cup)
  9. Wait until fully drained. This can be anywhere from the five to six-minute mark. Swirl that Chemex around and enjoy!