Chemex vs Aeropress – Should You Pour or Press?
Chemex vs Aeropress – both are extremely popular coffee makers at the moment but which one’s best?
It’s not an easy choice, so today we’re going to determine which product produces the best possible coffee brewing experience – for your taste, needs and style.
We have a tutorial here on how to use the Chemex, but here is the ‘in a nutshell’ version so you know what’s involved:
- Begin by placing a paper filter (folded into three parts) into the Chemex.
- Rinse the paper filter with hot water to get rid of the paper flavour and make the filter stick in place then pour the water back into the pitcher.
- Add your coffee.
- Then pour a small amount of hot water into the Chemex and allow one minute and thirty seconds for the water to drip into the Chemex.
- Add the remaining water and wait for your coffee to brew before removing the filter.
Check out our Chemex brew guide to get the full picture:
One of the reasons people rave about the Chemex is because of the clean, simple design, consisting of just one glass vessel, a handle, and a cord. As well as its minimalist appearance – it gives you a lot of extra counter space. (1)
The Chemex is, visually speaking, a show-stopper.
You’ll also find that the Chemex is somewhat affordable: for around $60, you can get the 8-cup classic coffee maker and a 100-count box of filters for around $8.
The most popular feature of the Chemex, however, is that it gives you the ability to control the coffee you make. The temperature, flavour, grind, and even the pouring technique are in your hands, and to your preference.
If you like what you’ve heard so far check out our full Chemex review here, or watch Scott break it down in this video review:
The Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker
To begin brewing with the Aeropress
- Rest the Aeropress on top of your favourite mug.
- Pour a little water onto the round coffee filter to avoid any paper taste in your final result while you preheat your vessel.
- Add the coffee.
- Pour the remaining water into the Aeropress and gently press the coffee into your cup consistently until most of the water is gone.
Out of all the wonders of the Aeropress, you’ll first become addicted to the intense and unique flavour it produces. Because you are totally immersing the coffee grounds into the water, you get a very rich, flavorful coffee.
And the fact that you’re applying pressure while brewing means you get a great tasting coffee in a matter of seconds.
Another huge benefit of using the Aeropress is the intensely short clean up time. All you’ll need to do is throw away the tiny round filter away, rinse the Aeropress and get on with your day.
The Showdown: Chemex vs. Aeropress
We’ve looked at the process and features involved with each popular coffee maker, but we still haven’t decided which is best.
It’s time to put them head-to-head and judge based on brew time, skill level, and the quality of the end brew.
Time: from Bean to Brew
The Chemex is a great pour over coffee maker but you can expect to spend six to seven minutes brewing your coffee. This will vary based on how finely your coffee is ground.
Because there is so much air pressure applied when brewing with the Aeropress, your brew time is nearly cut in half. Instead of spending seven minutes waiting for your coffee, you can have it ready in as little as one. (2)
A space-age contraption with gravity-defying aspirations
Again, there’s more than one way to brew with an Aeropress, but they’re all pretty darn fast.
WINNER: The Aeropress. For the incredible coffee it brews in such a short amount of time.
Design and Aesthetics
The Chemex has a unique, stylish design that a lot of coffee fanatics love: simple, clean, and classic. It’s made of nothing more than a glass vessel, wooden handle, and a cord, and is so pretty that it’s featured in art galleries around the world! It’s also very space saving and attractive enough to have out on the counter all day.
You’ll probably agree that the Aeropress isn’t quite as stylish, but like the Chemex, it’s still eco-friendly. Free of all BPA and phthalates (s**t you don’t want to be drinking every day).
WINNER: Hands down, the Chemex beats the Aeropress for a more stylish appearance, perfect for home brewing with an audience.
Skill Level Required
Coffee newbie? The Aeropress is very easy to use and requires no special coffee making skills. It’s a very straightforward process with an easy clean-up time. Both the regular Aeropress recipe and inverted recipe make a great cup of coffee with minimal fuss.
The Chemex was made for more skilled coffee fanatics in mind, and this is reflected in the brewing process. Like the Aeropress, you will need to add your filters and preheat your coffee.
Manual brewing takes skills. You will need to allow your coffee 30-45 seconds to ‘bloom’ after you have poured the majority of your water into the Chemex. Followed by a very precise pouring method – taking approximately five minutes to brew coffee.
WINNER: The Aeropress is the easiest coffee maker to master.
The Final Brew
It all depends on your preference. Personally, I love the Aeropress because the immersion of ground coffee beans and water results in a delicious, strong, flavour of coffee that smells and tastes incredible. One caveat though – if brewing an Aeropress for a few people, you’ll have to use the inverted method, and the result will be a weaker coffee – much like an Americano.
You’ll find that the texture of the coffee is remarkably smooth because of the pressure involved during the brewing process.
Like most of us, you probably aren’t a fan of gritty coffee at all, and with the Aeropress, the coffee is micro-filtered to ensure the purest form of coffee possible.
Aeropress is unique because it doesn’t push so hard that it adds bitterness. Instead, it pushes just enough so that the best part of the coffee bean is extracted, leaving out those nasty flavours… Clever right?
It may require a longer brew time, but Chemex offers the most versatility when it comes to flavour. Since you’re not applying pressure during the brewing process, you have the flexibility to decide the strength (or lack thereof) of your cup of coffee.
IT’S A TIE: The Chemex is the best choice for families or those who love to entertain. The Aeropress is perfect for travel and those who love a quick, strong brew.
It should be clear now that both coffee makers have their pros and cons. Each one has incredible benefits that are perfect for some and, but not for others.
The Aeropress isn’t winning any design awards, but if we’re talking convenience and portability, there’s nothing better. Don’t forget that you’ll still get a quality brew thanks to the innovative process it uses.
The Chemex isn’t a fast way to make coffee, and you can forget about travelling with it, but it’s a beautiful way to make pleasant-tasting pour-over coffee (that you can control with precision). If you’re the type who likes to entertain a crowd, and you’ve got an eye for good design, the Chemex will keep you happy. Read our full review of the Chemex here.
Our winner? For us – it’s got to be the AeroPress.
This clever gadget has world championships dedicated to it all over the world. That says something about its following. Perfect for travelling coffee lovers and home brewers alike. Not the best for large groups. But who wants to share their damn coffee, anyway? Not me.
You should use a medium-coarse grind size for the perfect Chemex brew. Read more about grinding coffee in this guide to coffee ground sizes.
The grind size you use for your Aeropress depends on the brewing time. a) 3+ minute brew time = medium grind, b) 2-3+ minute brew time = medium-fine grind, c) 1 minute brew time = fine grind.
Whether a Chemex is better than a French press is of course down to opinion. A French press may be easier to travel with but nobody can resist the striking good looks of the Chemex and they both give a different end flavour.
- Newton, T. (2017, August 9). Brewing Methods Compared: How Should You Make Coffee at Home? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/08/brewing-methods-compared-how-should-you-make-coffee-at-home/
- AeroPress Brewing Guide – How to Make AeroPress Coffee. Retrieved from https://bluebottlecoffee.com/brew-guides/aeropress