The Chemex Coffee Maker Review – Functional or Just Funky?

Given the hype explosion over the past few years, you may think that pour over coffee is a recent fad, but you’d be wrong. Among pour over brewers, there is only one that has truly withstood the test of time.

The Chemex coffee maker may be old, but she be wise in the ways of damn-delicious coffee. Without wasting anymore time, let's get straight to my Chemex pour over review to see if this is the right brewer for you.

The Chemex 'In a Nutshell'

The Chemex Coffee Maker
  • Aesthetic Appeal
  • Ease Of Use
  • Brew Control Ability
  • Portability
  • Price

the chemex on a flat surface

The Chemex pour over coffee maker is one of the most widely recognized pour over coffee makers and can be found in most coffee and kitchen stores. This brewer has a double-whammy reputation as both a beautiful kitchen tool and a high-quality coffee maker and is a near-perfect balance of aesthetics and performance. The Hario V60 may be the most popular pour over coffee maker, but the Chemex is likely the most popular coffee makers out of all classes.

With a wide range of size options and two different styles to choose from, the Chemex can satisfy just about any appetite.

Handled properly, the coffee it makes is smooth yet full of flavor. YES - it does take some practice to get used to but its coffee making abilities are a match for even the best pour over pros.

Click the button below to find out more about the Chemex and how much it will cost you, or continue reading for more information:

Things to Consider Before Buying a Drip Pot Like The Chemex

Drip coffee often gets a bad rep for being “weak” in comparison to its très fort cousin espresso. And though that may be true at your local Waffle House, a proper drip pot brew is nothing to joke around about.

A drip pot is essentially a pour over dripper combined with a carafe. In other words, it’s pure brilliance. With a few minor variations, depending on your choice of drip pot, they operate just like any standard pour over brewer.

Pour over coffee makers are ideal for someone who likes manual drip coffee, but is looking for more of an all-in-one package. Because they often come in larger sizes than most pour overs, they are also great for someone with a few more mouths to caffeinate.

If you are looking for a quick, no-fuss coffee maker, then a drip pot like this one is the wrong choice!!!

Though they are easy to use, they require a bit of patience and attention. Instead of a drip pot, you’d be better off with an automatic dripper or a French press.

But...there is no coffee like clear, clean, manual drip coffee. It will change your mornings; its a magic ritual that leaves you with magical tasting coffee.

PRO TIP: if you’re still set on drip pot coffee, there are a few things you should keep in mind while shopping: How much coffee can it make? How difficult is it to use? How much maintenance does it need?

The Chemex Coffee Maker Review

a chemex with a filter on top

Pour over coffee may have only recently become popular, but the Chemex has been around for over 70 years. It was invented in 1941 and has remained virtually unchanged ever since.

Considering that it is still regarded as one of the better pour over coffee makers, its age is a testament to its genius design.

It's shaped like an oversized hourglass, with the dripper cone sitting directly above the coffee reservoir. Though its design may seem simplistic, each aspect serves a specific purpose: awesome coffee.

This brewer is great for someone who enjoys manual drip coffee, but if you are looking for a no-hassle coffee maker, then the Chemex is not the right choice for you.

Additionally, it can be a little finicky, making it a challenge for the pour over beginner. But with some practice, anyone with a little patience can master the process.


  • Impressively beautiful and timeless design 
  • Highly flexible and open to tailoring the brew process
  • Brews a beautiful tasting, clean and clear black coffee that accentuates the personality of the coffee bean


  • At first, it will be difficult to use. It takes practice. But its worth it.
  • It is bloody fragile, especially the all glass frame. The most fragile pour over coffee maker.

Here are 4 more reasons we love the Chemex: Its a piece of art, It comes in many sizes, it is BPA-free, and You can brew like meticulous barista, or be lazy barista.

We'll talk about each point below:

#1 - It's More Than A coffee maker - its a piece of art (literally)

the carafe we got for this Chemex Review with its box in the background

Do you have any modern art in your house? If not, there is a simple solution to that problem: buy a Chemex.

Though I may sound like a cheesy advert, I assure you that its beauty is more than opinion, it is established fact. This fancy pour over is on permanent display in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Got any arty friends who like coffee? There isn't a more suitable present 😉

This is a coffee maker you’ll want front and center in your kitchen. Its design is part playful, part modest, yet 100% functional. Like some third-wave Swedish coffee house, it just oozes minimalist utilitarianism.

However, like momma always said...

“looks only get you so far — you’ve gotta have the talent to match the tits.”

...A pretty coffee maker that can’t brew good coffee is no more than a dust collector.

Luckily, the Chemex is more than a piece of decoration and can produce some of the most delicious drip coffee your tongue has ever had the privilege to meet (which I’ll get to in just a bit).

#2 - It Comes In Many Sizes - So Big And Small Households Are Covered

One of 3 chemex sizes

No matter how large your coffee needs, Chemex has got you covered. With these coffee makers you have the choice of either a 3-cup, a 6-cup, an 8-cup, or even a 10-cup brewer.

*Side note: Chemex uses a 5 oz. standard for their “cup” sizes, so for some people (Americans) the 10-cup brewer may be more of an 8-cup brewer, to give an example.

Besides the 3-cup Chemex, each model uses the same filter, which significantly cuts down on the number of Amazon returns and makes your life a little easier. You also have the option to use either their oxygen-cleansed white filters (no bleach), their natural brown filters, or their reusable cloth filter.

Once you’ve decided which size coffee maker best suits your needs, you can then chose between two different styles.

La-di-effing-da, right?

The style most people are familiar with is the model with a wood collar tied around its waist by a leather cord. The combination of glass, wood, and leather is what makes this model such a classic.

The other style is made entirely out of glass. Instead of a wood corset, this model has a slim glass handle that arches from the top brew cone down to the coffee container, making this version great for the die-hard minimalist.

And if all those options aren’t enough to satisfy you craving for personalization, there are also numerous accessories to chose from that match its iconic design.

#3 - You have the Flexibility to control the taste of your brew

Coffee blooming on the Chemex, a kettle, and a digital scale

The Chemex shares one important design feature with the Hario V60, which is one of pour over coffee’s most famous coffee makers. Just like with the V60, at the base of the dripper cone is a wide opening.

This large opening is one of the biggest reasons the Chemex makes such tasty coffee. 

Other pour over brewers have certain barriers to restrict water flow, like a series of small holes in the base or a thick filter, but the Chemex has no such barriers

The large opening in the Chemex places more emphasis on other variables like pouring and grind size to control water flow. This means that you have a bigger say in the quality of coffee than you would with other coffee makers.

This feature also gives the Chemex more flexibility. By altering the other elements of your process, you can tailor each brew to bring out the nuances of different roasts.

Something to be mindful of is that this feature also makes the Chemex quite unforgiving. Crafting the perfect brew with this coffee maker is going to take some practice and experimentation (get a coffee journal if you don't already have one)

However, it isn’t as difficult to master as the V60. The Chemex’s filters are slightly thicker than the V60’s and help a little with flow control.

Though it may take some extra time on the clock to master, the Chemex can produce a well rounded cup of coffee that brings out the subtle notes hidden in your coffee beans.

Who should NOT Buy The Chemex...

In the world of coffee nothing is one size fits all and this definitely applies to the Chemex. For one person the Chemex may be the best thing since slice bread. But for someone else it may be a waste of money.

So which category do you fall in? 

DO NOT buy the Chemex if:

  • You want a quick, no-fuss coffee maker -  It's all about the process when using this coffee maker. You have to love the process and be willing to learn. If you're the type of person who just 'wants his/her damn coffee' fast, the Chemex will frustrate the hell outta you.
  • You prefer strong tasting coffee - The Chemex brews a beautiful black filter coffee. Some say it's almost like wine. If you're the type of person who loves a strong shot of espresso, filter coffee is not going to give you what you want.
  • You're not willing to learn - The Chemex has a learning curve, so don't expect to brew a 10/10 coffee on your first try. If you want that try something like the clever dripper.

3 Alternatives to The Chemex

Though it is the oldest; the Chemex isn’t the only drip pot coffee maker. If this coffee maker doesn’t yet have you convinced, take a look at some of the other options.

Three drip pot brewers you may want to consider instead of the Chemex are the Hario Woodneck, the GROSCHE and the Walkure.

The Hario Woodneck

hario drip pot

The Hario Woodneck may look a lot like the Chemex, but it has one big difference. Unlike the Chemex, the Woodneck uses a thick cloth filter that hangs from a wooden handle.

This filter creates a full bodied coffee that is surprisingly clean, and though you can buy cloth filters for the Chemex, they aren’t quite the same.

The Woodneck is a little easier to use than the Chemex, but its filters require special storage that may be annoying to some.


Grosche Coffee Maker

You may think yourself lucky with two different style options for the Chemex, but the GROSCHE gives you three choices, each very different from the other.

It follows the same basic shape of most drip pots, but with more allowance for personal expression.

The GROSCHE also uses a unique metal mesh filter which does a great job of filtering out fine particles while allowing oils to pass through.

It requires a tad more pour control than the Chemex, but can produce a flavorful coffee.


If attractive design is the biggest box on your checklist, then the Walkure drip pot is worth a closer look. There are two different models, one is meant to look more classic, while the other more modern.

Each are 100% ceramic, including the filter, and produce a remarkably complex and clean cup of coffee. Each part of this drip pot was carefully thought out, and it is a great brewer for both the beginner and professional alike.


No other pour over brewer has been around as long as the Chemex coffee maker. Its timeless design has lasted not only because is it a pretty sight, but because the Chemex is also a damn fine brewer.

the chemex on white background

It is a flexible coffee maker that allows you to perfect each step of your process. With a range of different models to choose from and a number of different accessories, it allows you to tailor each brew to your specific tastes.

Its an essential weapon in any home brewing fanatics arsenal. If you don't own a Chemex, you're are not a true home barista.

If my Chemex pour over review has you convinced, and think this classic is perfect for you, click here to check it out.

  • Alex
  • October 21, 2016

Alex is the Founder and Editor of Homegrounds.co. He is passionate about brewing amazing coffee at home, and teaching others to do the same.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 3 comments
Ali - January 20, 2018

How does the Chemex differ from the good ol’ fashioned Melitta filter, which I’ve been using happily for years?

    Anthony - September 26, 2018

    The Chemex differs in the sense that you control the flow of the coffee based on your grind. With a Melitta you can change your grid but unfortunately it will only allow very little coffee to move through the filter which usually will cause over extraction. This is done purposely by Melitta so that you do not have to worry about having the correct grind, it does work but there if a world of difference in qualty and taste between the Chemex and Melitta, unfortunately that comes with time and technique.

Matt Freund - August 3, 2018

I have been looking into getting one of these. They produce great coffee even though it’s a bit of a pain. I’m just not sure which one to get. Should I spend the money on the brand-name Chemex or get a copy. I’m going to have to get a scale and also kettle. Getting all that stuff makes it quite expensive:-)


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