Find your ideal Chemex in less than 1 minute

Ready to start making great hand crafted coffee with a Chemex? Not sure what size to get? Don’t worry, we will help you find your optimal size.

Steven Johnson
by | Posted: March 4, 2014 | Updated: March 13, 2014

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So you are ready to step up and use one of the best, tried and true brewing methods.  The Chemex.  It is a classic and fun way to make your morning cup.

The question is what is the optimal or ideal size. At least that was the question we had (and that led to this post).

After waaaayyyy to much research we cracked the code.....


Quick Answer: 8 Cup Classic Chemex

  • chemex-200Works well for one person
  • Large enough to handle a group of four. 
  • The classic style has a timeless and iconic look.
  • A great conversation piece and will impress your friends.


Buy the 8 Cup Classic


Where to purchase: We know you can buy a chemex a lot of places. If you found this guide helpful, it sure would be cool if you bought your Chemex from us. If not use then your local coffee shop. A purchase here supports the site allowing us to buy more coffee and create more guides.


Detailed Answer: Follow the Goldilocks Theory...

Remember Goldilocks and the three bears? To Small, To Big, Just Right. The Chemex is the same way.

  • Too Small - 3 cup. This is one is on the smaller size. Unless you are always just making for just your self this size is too small.
  • Too Big - 10 cup. This size is a little big especially if you are routinely making coffee for one. One exception:  the 10 cup is great if have the need to caffeinate large groups of people.
  • Just Right - 6 and 8 cup. These sizes are the way to go. Both are great for one or two people. The 8 cup can easily handle four 'modern size’ mugs.

Either will work great. I prefer having the little bit of extra room on the occasions I am making coffee for a group.

Other Considerations

Kettle Size
Have a 1Liter kettle? It will not make enough hot water for 10 cup. 1 Liter equals 34oz of water. It will be a bit small for the 8 cup but you can probably make it work by over filling. 1 Liter kettle is just fine for  for the 6 and 3 cup sizes.

Amount of water to get through the coffee grinds in 3.5 to 4 minutes
One other consideration is the amount of water you need to get through the grounds and filter in 3.5 to 4 minutes. 50oz in four minutes, you will need a pretty course grind.

Let the button guide you
Also I like that the 8 cup 'button' is right at 20oz total. When I make coffee in the AM I brew to just below the button and that gives me around 16 to 18oz of coffee which is about perfect for two morning cups of coffee.


Classic or Glass Handle

Personal Preference. Can’t go wrong here.

  • Classic - Iconic and Stylish. Sure-fire conversation starter.
  • Glass Handle - Sleek and minimal. Easier to clean.

Still not sure? Go Classic unless you are in a cafe or high volume setting. It is much easier to clean the glass handle than one with a wood collar.


What Coffee Experts Have to Say

Interested in knowing what industry veterans think? We did also. We reached out to baristas, shop owners, seasoned oasters, bloggers and longtime coffee enthusiasts to get their thoughts.







My personal pick would be 6 or 8-cup classic but it is really just a matter of personal preference. 
— Amy Dansker, Verve Coffee Roasters


For home use, I would recommend either the 3 or 5 cup hand-blown glass versions. The hand-blown glass is thicker and feels sturdier and is gorgeous with the wood neck. Which size you get depends on how much coffee you plan to brew. The 3 cup is actually pretty small. It may be great for one person but for two people it's probably too small. On the other hand, the 10 cup will likely be too large for two people. We use the 10 cup at the farmer's market to make several cups of coffee for several people at once. Having said that, the 10 cup would be good for parties and holidays when you have guests who appreciate a hand-made cup of coffee!
— Michael Wright, Owner Oil Slick Coffee 


I think the ideal size is the biggest one. You can always make small batches in a big Chemex, but you can't make big batches in a small Chemex. As far as the handle goes, it's all preference. I use the classic woodneck but that's only because I prefer the way it looks on my shelf.
— Drew Moody, Corner of the Cafe


Each size can brew a different amount of coffee based on coffee and water dosage. With this in mind, I'd say to buy a six cup. The sides are big enough to make more than 4 mugs of coffee at a time but it is small enough to only make one mug. It's also easier to store. Make sense?

I prefer the glass handle. The wood neck looks more attractive but is a pain when cleaning. In a cafe setting, the glass handle is the way to go.
— Nick Bimmerle Owner Rev Coffee Roasters


Chemex by the Numbers

Size 3 Cup 6 Cup 8 Cup 10 Cup
Amount Full 15oz / .4Liter  30oz / .9Liter  40oz / 1.2L 50oz / 1.5L
Amount at button (half full)  7.5oz / .2L  15oz / .4L  20oz / .6L 25oz / .7L
Number of 12oz Mugs 1 (approx.)  2 1/2 (approx.)  3 1/3 (approx.) 4 (approx.)




Now What? Time to buy

Once you have the right size of chemex you will be able to easily make the perfect cup of coffee in the situations you commonly find your self in.

Ready to start making that perfect cup of coffee from you own perfectly sized chemex? Head over to the Intown Coffee store and place your order.



Agree / Dissagree?

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Post in the comments below

Steven Johnson

Steven is a web developer and big coffee enthusiast. He lives in Atlanta, with his wife and two little girls.

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