Reusable Chemex Filter (Why You Should Have One)

Reusable filter for Chemex
Reusable Chemex filters are economical and compatible with other pour-overs

As a big fan of Chemex, I like the clarity that comes with using Chemex papers. The appeal and elegance of the classic Chemex decanter- the clear glass and shape, the wood, and the tie – keeps me loyal to this brewer.

However, sometimes the Chemex filters are in short supply. Having a reusable Chemex filter is handy to ensure that I continue making my daily cup of coffee with the Chemex carafe.

There are two types of reusable Chemex filters: fabric/sock filters and stainless steel filters. Fabric filters such as the coffee sock and the hemp cone filter yield lighter-bodied and brighter coffee without sediments.

On the other hand, metallic filters yield a coffee that has a bigger mouthfeel and more complex flavors. Metallic filters are likely to leak sediments into your coffee.

Why You Should Use a Reusable Chemex Filter

  1. Chemex reusable filters, metal and fabric, brew a more flavorful coffee and are a desirable choice when you prefer a fuller-bodied java
  2. They last longer and are more eco-friendly than paper. The fabric is biodegradable and the stainless steel is recyclable.
  3. Reusable filters for Chemex eliminate the need to keep replenishing your paper stocks
  4. They are cheaper to use. You buy once and use the filter over a long period of time
  5. Compatibility with other coffee makers. You can use the same reusable filter in other pour-over coffee makers such as bonavita and Hario V60

Types of Reusable Chemex Filter

1. Reusable Fabric/Sock Filter For Chemex

Here is a chart of the pros and cons of a seusable sock filter

1Cheaper to buyRequires regular thorough cleaning to avoid bad smell
2Filters fine sediments out of your coffeeNeeds extra care during storage to prevent molds (cotton sock) and bad smell
3Coffee has more clarity than metallic filtersEasily susceptible to staining
4Reusable over hundreds of timesCan introduce new undesirable flavors to the coffee if it’s not cleaned and stored properly
5The fabric is biodegradable and eco-friendly
6Allows some oils into the coffee leading to more flavors and body than paper
7Hemp filter is mildew resistant
Pros and cons of using a reusable Chemex sock filter

The reusable hemp cone coffee filter is made from organic hemp that is biodegradable and functions similarly to the organic cotton coffee sock.

Metallic/ Stainless Steel Reusable Chemex Filters

Metalic coffee filters are made of stainless steel to resist high temperatures and corrosion. Here is a chart of the pros and cons of using a metallic filter in Chemex

1Gives full bodied coffee with complex flavorsNot desirable for people who prefer clean coffee with more clarity
2Easy to clean. Empty the used grounds and rinse in warm waterAllows coffee fines into the coffee
3Easy to handle due to a solid structureHigher risk of clogging
4Does not require special storageA foldable metal filter such as the Zulay filter can cumbersome to use and clean
5Available in gold and copper colors that match with the wood on Chemex classic
6Dishwasher safe
7Resistant to corrosion and adds no external flavors to the coffee
Pros and cons of using a stainless steel filter for Chemex

Reusable Metal Filter vs Paper Filters For Chemex

Reusable Metal FilterChemex Paper Filter
1Allows oils into the coffee hence a bigger mouthfeel and body in the coffeeFilters oils and bitterness and yields coffee that has a lighter body
2Allows micro-grounds into the coffee and the coffee is darkerCrisp clean coffee with more brightness
3More economical to use and a single filter can last for more than a yearRelatively expensive and needs continuous replenishing
4Easy to handle without the risk of tearing or collapsing on the spoutRequires careful handling to minimize chances of tearing and collapsing
5Needs proper cleaning after every brewing cycle. Cleaning can be messyThey are single-use
6Allows lots of oils, including unhealthy oils, into the coffeeKeeps unhealthy oils out
7Multiple-use with other pour-over style brewers such as Bonavita and Hario V60Is single-use and not compatible with non-Chemex brewers
A chart comparing reusable metal filters vs paper filters for Chemex

Chemex 3 Cup Reusable Filter

The best reusable filter for the small-sized Chemex 3 cup carafe is the Zulay stainless steel filter. It fits in the carafe and brews a flavorful cup of coffee.

How To Use A Reusable Chemex Filter

Equipment and Materials

  • a gooseneck kettle with temperature control
  • a digital scale
  • a reusable filter (metal or sock)
  • a small measuring can
  • a Chemex decanter
  • a burr grinder
  • filtered water
  • coffee beans
  • a teaspoon

Directions When Using A Chemex Reusable Filter

  1. Put the reusable filter in the Chemex decanter
  2. Measure the coffee beans at a ratio of 1:17 for example 30 grams of coffee to 500ml of water
  3. Heat the water to a temperature of about 205 degrees Fahrenheit
  4. Grind the measured beans to a medium-fine to medium grind size for the sock filter and a medium-coarse to coarse size for the metal filter
  5. Pour some hot water on the filter to flush the taste of the paper and to preheat the decanter
  6. Carefully pour out the water from the decanter without dropping the filter. You can also remove the filter and empty the decanter before replacing the filter
  7. Pour the fresh grounds on the filter and place the decanter on the digital scale
  8. Reset the scale’s timer to zero
  9. Pour the 205° F hot water carefully on the grounds in a circular motion while paying attention to the weight scale
  10. Stop when the scale reaches a weight that is about 2 to 3 times the original weight of the grounds. For example, if you are using 30 grams of grounds to make 500 ml of coffee. Then stop pouring at around the 60-90 grams stage for the grounds to bloom for 30 to 45 seconds. Blooming is when the grounds release CO2 to allow optimum extraction.
  11. Stir the grounds or swirl the decanter to even the flow of water until there are no lumps
  12. Slowly pour water in a circular motion to maintain an even bed of grounds and until the waiter rises on the filter.
  13. Stop pouring and agitate the grounds with a spoon
  14. Continue slowly pouring until you reach the desired weight, for example, 500 ml
  15. Leave the filter to continue filtering. The filter will finish at between 2.5 to 4.5 minutes depending on the size of your grind.
  16. Dump the grounds in a trash can and rinse the filter in warm water
  17. Hang the sock filter to dry. If you are using a metal filter, place it on a drying dish rack
  18. Pour the coffee in a cup and sip on it

Important Tip

Avoid transfering the hot water from the heating kettle to another kettle before pouring in the Chemex because the water temperature will fall during the transfer. The decrease in temperature can cause underextraction.

Commonly Asked Questions

Can I Use A Paper Filter In A Permanent Filter

Yes, you can fit a paper filter in a permanent filter to brew your coffee. Regular filters such as the Melitta #4 break easily, especially, when brewing bigger cups in Chemex. Fitting the paper filter in the permanent filter prevents the paper from collapsing or breaking under the weight of the grounds and water.

However, using two filters results in double filtration and can slow down the extraction process. You are better off using original robust Chemex paper filters or a reusable filter than pairing two filters together.


Patrick is first a coffee lover and then a trained barista. His bucket list includes sky diving and sipping on Java in the Himalayas.

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