Aeropress VS Chemex – Are You a ‘Pour’ or a ‘Press’ Coffee Person?

Do you prefer your coffee in the mornings only? Or are you a coffee addict who needs their caffeine doze more than often? Well, may be it is about time to choose between Aeropress VS Chemex coffee brewing methods.

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There was a time when people must have thought that the names Aeropress or Chemex were some high-tech gadgets for some secret NASA project rather than simple coffee brewing means.

The Chemex was designed to deliver drip coffee. It has been around since 1941.

However, over the past decade, both of them have become quite significant with large number of consumers. They are highly recommended too, just a step below their other renowned family members – the French press and moka pot.

Brief Overview Before We Go Into Details

Both the devices brew an intense and flavorful cup of coffee that has the power to even impress the most proficient barista but in varying ways. They are different from other brewing devices in the market and have their own pros and cons.

Some people prefer to be a little more experimental and hands on with their coffee brewing process. Due to this reason, they don’t even prefer a semi-automatic espresso machine and feel that manual process is the process of their choice. Aeropress and Chemex are the most popular manual brewing devices.

In order to compare Aeropress vs Chemex, we first need to have a thorough understanding of both these coffee brewer types.

What is Chemex?

Aeropress was devised to brew quick and espresso like coffee. However, the Chemex was devised to brew drip coffee. It has been around since 1941 and has a simple design.

The Chemex has been around since the time people used typewriters only and computers were not even introduced to the scene. You can’t go wrong with something that has been around for such a long time.

Design of Chemex

Chemex has an exclusive and hourglass shaped design. It is a pour over drip brew device and was invented by Peter Schlumbohm in 1941. It has two main models: one is made entirely of borosilicate glass along with a handle. The other one is without a handle and wood and leather detailing.

Making Coffee with Chemex

In order to make coffee with Chemex, carefully measure the components, place special filter on top of the cone, pour coffee grounds into the filter, and pour heated water. Your delicious coffee will be ready to be sipped on in about four minutes. The process sounds simple but it does require a bit of skill.

Rich and Crisp in Taste

As a result, the coffee has a rich, crisp and delicious taste as well as feel, all thanks to unique thicker paper filter and slow extraction method. If you have coffee with mild citrus or floral notes, then this device can help you make the most of your coffee beans.

What is Aeropress

Aeropress is a unique way of brewing coffee rapidly at home. Once everything is set up, you get a fresh, rich and hot cup of coffee.

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Aeropress was introduced much later than the Chemex. It was first designed and developed by Alan Alder in 2005. Ever since its introduction, it has garnered much popularity among travelers as well as homebodies.

The Aeropress was designed to deliver quick and easy, espresso-type coffee.

Most would be aware that in this busy life, sometimes you need your coffee as quickly as you can get it, since functioning without coffee is not much of an option either.

Design of Aeropress

Aeropress is a plastic brewing device, it looks like a syringe. It includes plastic filter, paper filter, plunger and housing. It is loved by many because of its plastic structure, since its unbreakable. Some buying options even come with a travel pouch.

Making Coffee with Aeropress

Aeropress aims to brew coffee that is very much like the espresso. The brewing technique is quite similar to that of an espresso machine. Hot water and steam are pushed through the grounds, then via a filter, which extracts the flavor.

You easily place the wet paper filter over the chamber and put the grounds in it. Then you pour hot water, insert the plunger and press it down slowly.

The result of it is a coffee that is delicious and is nothing less than a bliss. The entire process takes less than three minutes.

Espresso-like Taste

Unlike the pour-over subtler method used by Chemex, the pressure brewing in Aeropress gives the final brew espresso like boldness and taste as mentioned above.

While it is not as rich as crisp as the Chemex, it is much stronger than that.

Comparison of Aeropress VS Chemex

While both machines are very popular for brewing coffee manually, let us compare the two.

Ease Of Use & Overall Convenience

Some might find the Chemex brewing process rather tedious. One needs to be much more involved because the grounds need to be bloomed and water must be poured in a certain way. Some do find this process artistic and it is not too hard to manage.

The Aeropress is easy to operate. But this ease of use does have a shortcoming; it tends to get messy. If the tool is used with proper accuracy, there is no clean up needed afterwards.

But since practice can take time, if it is not pressed too hard or one does not shove the plunger straight down, there is a chance that you can spill the hot water and coffee everywhere.

Winner: the Aeropress wins this easy to use category. It is not because one has to be more involved with the Chemex, but because Aeropress is surprisingly simple to use.

Versatility

Both the devices are versatile in their own way. With Aeropress, there are multiple brew methods that can be used in order to get different brewing results. One method is called inverted method.

The Chemex doesn’t offer a lot of variation in the methods used in order to brew the coffee but you can make cold brews with it unlike the Aeropress.

Winner: Aeropress takes the cake in being more versatile.

Brew Size

A great advantage that Chemex offers is the brew size. It comes in various different sizes such as 3, 6, 8 and 10 cups.

On the other hand, Aeropress comes in one size only, allowing you to brew 4 cups at a time.

This is a factor worth considering if you have large number of people who like to   have their caffeine levels on the rise.

Winner: Chemex wins when it comes to brew sizes.

Durability and Portability

While it is a good practice to handle all the coffee makers with care, the Aeropress is made of heavy plastic whereas the Chemex is made of glass, hence its fragile. If you have small kids or are inclined to dropping things, then Aeropress would be the suitable option for you.

You wouldn’t want to invest time, energy and money into buying a coffee maker only to see it shattering into pieces.

For this reason, Aeropress is more suitable to carry on flights or on road trips.

Winner: Aeropress is the winner when it comes to durability.

Which one has a Better Taste?

Since both the coffees have different brewing methods, the resulting coffee produced has varying tastes. The Aeropress makes coffee that is very much similar to the espresso.

This means that is has richer, stronger, more intense and bolder flavor. If you like your coffee bold and strong, then Aeropress is the one for you.

 If you are more into espresso based drinks, such as lattes, cappuccino and mocha, then Aeropress is the perfect choice. These can still be made with drip coffee, but the flavor won’t be exactly the same as you would expect.

The Chemex brews milder, drip coffee.  If you prefer drinking mild coffee that you can sip and enjoy, then Chemex is the suitable option for you.

There is no winner in this category as it is solely based on your taste and preference.

Price Affordability Factor

Both the coffee makers are reasonably priced and none will break your bank. However, Aeropress is even cheaper than the Chemex. The machine itself and the replacement filters cost less than the Chemex.

Both the Chemex and Aeropress are excellent coffee making machines. They will give what you want: delicious coffee in the comfort of your home. The taste is so good that you will feel you’ve been to a coffee shop, but without the huge price tags.

Winner: Aeropress is cheaper than Chemex so it wins in this category.

FAQs

Do you need special filters for Chemex?

You may use non- Chemex filters like the Filtropa brand in #4 or Filtane #6 cone size, but Chemex filters are specifically designed to perform with the brewer. Using hot water, pour in about 2 oz. so it wets the paper filter.

Is Aeropress coffee healthy?

Aeropress is made from BPA-and-phthalates-free, food-safe copolyester. Meanwhile, one unfiltered cup of coffee a day is not a significant health consideration but if, your caffeine consumption climbs during cooler months, it might be something to think on.

Why is my Chemex coffee bitter?

Bitter almost always means over extracted. At a guess, you’re grinding too fine and dosing too low. Chemex should be a fairly coarse grind as brew goes; about the same grind as press.

How much coffee do you put in an Aeropress?

Grind the beans: Measure out 2 full Aeropress scoops of coffee beans (about 4 tablespoons) and grind until fine. Wet the filter: Assemble the Aeropress with a paper filter inside the cap and place on top of a mug or cup.

Aeropress or Chemex? Our Final Thoughts

It’s not always easy to choose between Aeropress VS Chemex coffee brewers. Aeropress is suitable for people brewing for one person only. It comes in one size and can brew up to 12 oz of coffee at one time. This is irrelevant for those who brew one cup at a time.

The flavors offered with Aeropress are much more than those of the Chemex. This allows for more experimentation with factors such as water temperature, coffee to water ratio and immersion time.

The thin filter paper produces a thicker cup of coffee that is similar to espresso. It is suitable for those who travel a lot and like to carry strong and intense coffee with them.

The Chemex produces a mild cup of coffee, deserving of its classic design. it is better suited for stationary uses, such as in your kitchen, such as cold brews.  

At the end of the day, it all depends on your personal preferences and how do you like to brew and consume your cup of Joe.