Smooth, flavourful, and delicious is how many describe their favourite pour-over brew. This is why it’s no surprise that many are leaving bulky, mechanical Brewers to the coffee shops, and choosing pour-over brewers instead.
Where there’s passion, there’s debate, and in the world of meticulous coffee aficionados and their pour-over brewers, it’s mostly Hario V60 vs Chemex right now.
These two brewers are vastly different from each other so it should be clear. Just in case, its not, let's break it down to find out which one of these brewers should be your next purchase
The Hario V60
The Hario V60 coffee dripper system, manufactured in Japan, has a growing fan base of baristas and coffee aficionados because of its ingenious design, portability, and the clean yet rich brew it delivers.
The design is actually how the brewer got its name - the “V” for its shape, and 60 for the degree by which its sides are angled. Along with the distinct ridges in the Hario V60’s interiors, these features help ensure even water and air flow for your coffee grounds.
The larger hole in the V60’s bottom, along with its accompanying filter, lets you alter the strength and flavor of your cuppa based on your pour speed and rhythm.
To use this brewing system, you start with folding and fitting the filter onto the brewer, then placing your finely ground coffee on it. Pour your hot water in a spiral, slowly adding more for every 10-15 seconds.
Brew time with this dripper can go as fast as two to three minutes, and you get a sludge-free cup of coffee. It comes in three sizes, which are great for single-cup to six-cup servings. The team at Hario have covered all bases with this one.
A design marvel, the Chemex has found its place in no less than the Museum of Modern Art in New York City – which is a big deal, yo. Its hourglass shape, accented by polished wood and a leather tie, gives you a blend of design and function.
Aside from being an elegant fixture on your countertop, the Chemex can take your coffee experience to an entirely new level; free of bitterness and sediments, but full of freakin style.
The cone shape of the top part of the Chemex is a perfect fit with its specially designed filter, which is its most important element in getting better extraction during the brewing process.
This borosilicate glass brewer also instantly transforms into a carafe, with the small groove molded to its side that serves as the spout once the filter is removed.
It may look intimidating, but it’s not too difficult to use. Get your water to boiling, place the Chemex filters and your grounds on the carafe, and just slowly and deliberately pour your hot water in small spirals.
This pour-over method, when used with the Chemex brewing system, gives a light and sediment-free cuppa that many coffee lovers are repping. Repping hard.
The Showdown Begins: The Hario vs Chemex
The Hario V60 and Chemex are making big waves in the pour-over coffee scene now, and there are plenty of reasons why you’d like one more than the other.
Let’s see which one brings more to the table regarding convenience, style, brew time, and the quality it offers
1. Ease of use/Convenience
Who doesn’t want a coffee brewer that makes for hassle-free mornings? Pour over Brewers are not exactly push button solutions when it comes to getting your cup of coffee, but some come closer than others.
In the case of the Hario V60, setup and use is very similar to other pour-overs. Set it on top of your cup or a preferred coffee carafe with the filter and get those grounds in. Then, do a slow pour of your hot water, making concentric circles as you go (aka Spiral pour)
Getting that sip-perfect brew is not exactly the easiest, as you have to experiment with your grind and your pour speed. Results are best when you use a gooseneck kettle to manage your pour. Note that a very fine grind size can clog your filter, and too large will leave you with brown hot water, not coffee. You’ll need a good grinder to get it right.
This video should give you a quick look at the brewing process with the Hario V60:
Brewing with the Chemex follows almost the same set of procedures, the biggest difference being in the filter used, and that the Chemex can also serve as your coffee’s carafe. You can watch how to brew with the Chemex in this video
So far they are both on par regarding ease of use so let’s settle this round by looking a little further - into cleanup and portability.
Both the Hario V60 and Chemex have filters that you can just throw away after use. However, the Chemex makes for a bigger clean-up responsibility, especially if you also use it as a carafe to serve your coffee.
When it comes to portability, the Hario V60’s small size and light build make it the brewer of choice. And unlike the Chemex, the Hario V60 also offers unbreakable options through its plastic and metal versions. Throw it in your bag and take it wherever you please, without having to baby it.
You buy a coffee maker for its resulting brew and the convenience it offers. But of course, it helps when it's beautiful looking, right?
The Hario V60 takes the cake for offering a variety of ‘looks’ as it comes in glass, ceramic, plastic, and even metal. With that selection, coffee connoisseurs are sure to find one to fit their kitchen interiors.
That sure is one stylish MotherF**ker
The Chemex, on the other hand, is a true work of art in itself, which earned it its rightful place in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Its simple elegance can easily stand out in just about any setup.
3. Time: From Bean > Brew
There may be days when you can’t spare much time to stay in the kitchen and make your cup of joe. If you suffer from a lack of time (don't we all?), brewing time for your pour-over may be what matters most.
For the Hario V60 (https://www.stumptowncoffee.com/brew-guides/v60), brewing time may vary, but can take as fast as two to three minutes. The bigger exit hole and interior ridges of the brewer help make this possible.
The Chemex with its thicker filter and relatively smaller exit hole, takes more time to brew at about five to six minutes.
4. Resulting Brew
The Hario V60 makes use of a gaunt filter, which can pose problems if f**k up the pour. It’s trial and error, as the resulting brew with the V60 is largely dependent on grind size and pour speed.
When done right, though, it can help promote an even extraction of coffee grounds, that gives you a smooth and flavor-rich cuppa.
The Chemex, on the other hand, makes use of a thicker filter (around 20% to 30% thicker than others) which gives you an immaculate (clean) brew. The downside is that it may also filter out the natural oils and solubles that give a coffee bean its distinct taste.
It’s a difficult choice between these two winning pour-over methods.
From the looks of it, single-cup brewing with the Hario V60 will continue to be a growing trend. Its handy size makes it ideal for travel, and the durable material options like plastic and metal, make for easy packing too.
If you’re usually on the road and you want a pour-over coffee whenever and wherever you are, the Hario V60 is one brewer that is worth getting in multiples - for its offer of convenience and its flavorful brew. Combine it with a manual hand grinder, and you’ve got access to excellent coffee, anywhere, anytime.
The beauty of the Chemex brewer is unparalleled, though. With its glass carafe and wood collar, making your daily cup of coffee feels extra special. The smooth brew you get with the Chemex is also worth spending a few more minutes with the process.
So which Brewer wins this showdown - the handy Hario V60 or the charming Chemex?
When it comes to making great pour over with minimal tools, you just can't beat the V60
OUR CHOICE: THE HARIO V60
But why limit yourself!?
Let’s just say there’s no harm in getting both. The V60 for travel and whenever you want a quick brew, and the Chemex for when you’re having friends over and need to brew multiple cups. For us, however, it's the Hario!
Getting both brewers will cost you no more than $80, with the Hario V60 at around $15 and the Chemex at about $60.
The brewing process for both requires a bit of practice to get everything down pat. But once you do get the hang of them, your pour-over brews with both coffee makers will be worth taking longer breaks for.
Does it make sense now?