Chemex is a coffee brewer that stood the test of time and is still a popular coffee-making device among coffee aficionados.
Meanwhile, Aeropress is a more recent addition to the long line-up of coffee makers with quite a decent fanbase.
But if you had to make a choice in a battle of Chemex vs. Aeropress, which one would it be? That’s what we are here to decide today.
We’ll be looking into all about the Chemex, the Aeropress, and their differences to help you choose one of these 2 manual coffee brewers.
By now, you have noticed that we’re comparing two manual brewers. So you might be thinking, “why choose manual brewing while the machine can get it done for us? Isn’t that easier?”
The best advantage that comes with manual brewing is the freedom of experimentation. You can customize your entire brew according to your personal preference by changing factors such as timing, beans, grind size, etc.
Another reason to go for manual brewing is that it’s light on the wallet. So if you want to maintain your coffee habit within a budget, manual brewing is the way to go.
You can get both of these manual brewers for under $100. Hell, you can get the Aeropress for under $50!
You do need an additional grinder for both of them, but that’s an unavoidable expense, even if it’s not just for coffee.
Now, let’s get to know our two contenders of the day.
Chemex is a coffee maker that is quite unique with an hourglass shape and zero mechanisms. It was invented by Peter Schlumbohm back in 1941, who was a chemist and used lab equipment to get the best out of coffee.
The first Chemex ever was just a funnel stuck on a glass beaker. Crazy, right?
The Chemex is a big, hourglass-shaped jug narrow in the middle. It’s made out of borosilicate glass with a wooden handle. There’s another model with the same shape that doesn’t have a handle but does have wood and leather detailing.
Using the Chemex requires more manual attention, as you have to measure the components before mixing, bloom the grounds, and then pour hot water over the grounds to brew.
The result is clean cups of coffee with rich taste thanks to the teacher-than usual paper filters. To get a rich brew, Chemex is your best bet.
The Aeropress may be a more recent addition, but it has already gained a lot of fans due to its ease of access and stylish design. It was designed and patented by Alan Adler back in 2005, who is a toy designer.
The design of the Aeropress resembles a giant plastic syringe. It has a plunger, filters, and housing to hold it all together.
All you need to do is place the grounds on the filter, pour hot water, press, and voila! Your coffee is ready for serving. Aeropress can provide you with a wide variety of coffee brews, even an espresso shot. Learn more on how to make an espresso with aeropress
Chemex Vs. Aeropress: Factors To Consider
To make the final choice between these two top-of-the-line manual brewers, a few factors need to be considered.
The design of the Chemex is so unique and stylish you can even find it in art galleries!
The simplistic design of the glass vessel, wooden handle, and the cord have a fine aesthetic to it all. The Chemex is the type of brewer you leave on your counter all day, just cause it looks cool.
Though Aeropress doesn’t look as stylish as a Chemex, it still has a compact, smart and suave vibe.
The Chemex wins in terms of view, design, and aesthetic. It’s the perfect brewer for when you have an audience. Cause who doesn’t want to show off while looking fabulous?
The Chemex coffee maker operates like a manual pour-over or drip coffee maker by applying an infusion/ percolation method.
Percolation is where you continuously pour hot water on the coffee ground sitting on the filter, which is the paper filter in the case of the Chemex.
When percolating, you need to focus only on the pouring since you need to saturate the grounds consistently to get a tasty brew.
Also, pay attention that you don’t go channeling coffee. It’s when you only pour water on one section of the bed of coffee grounds instead of saturating all of it.
The best way to work around it is to pour in a slow, circular motion. Channeling coffee gives you an uneven cup. Infusion works best when you want to extract every last bit of flavor out of your ground coffee.
Compared to that, the Aeropress is like that one odd cousin at a family party because Aeropress uses a mixture of immersion method and pressurized brewing.
Like the French press coffee, the bean grounds and water steep together in the Aeropress. But it differs extraction-wise since you can press out the most out of your coffee grounds. Learn more on how to prevent grounds in your coffee.
If you compare Aeropress to traditional steeping methods, it feels more efficient.
When considering this factor, the Aeropress takes the cake. One’s made out of heat-resistant yet breakable glass, the other is made of BPA-free sturdy plastic. So isn’t the answer obvious?
Aeropress is perfect for traveling and outdoor ventures. It even comes with a travel pouch for you to carry.
You can take your Chemex with you as well, but you will need to be extra careful with your baggage, or it can result in shattered glasses all over inside the bag.
Filters for the Aeropress are small, circular, and really thin. They’re so thin you don’t even have to rinse them before brewing coffee to get rid of the unwanted papery taste.
On the other hand, The Chemex comes with a pre-folded circular filter that is made out of thick paper. The thickest side of the filter is placed at the pouring spot to ensure maximum filtration.
You cannot brew in a Chemex without a paper filter, and you need to rinse the Chemex filters with hot water to make sure your coffee doesn’t taste weird.
A common mistake among many is not ordering the Chemex filters along with the coffee brewer when purchasing. So don’t forget to order your filters when you order your Chemex, and make sure to choose the right filters according to the size.
However, in the case of Aeropress, you get 30 parts along with the coffee maker when you buy one. And the best part is, you can use each filter more than once just by rinsing it in hot water.
And since they’re cheap, getting your hands on a bunch of them is way easier.
Aeropress comes with the facility of providing you with a few extra gears to spice up your creativity for the coffee-making process. This includes a metal filter instead of paper ones and a fellow prismo for your espresso needs.
When it comes to Chemex, it doesn’t need or support separate coffee maker parts. With Chemex, it’s the old-fashioned way of doing it by yourself.
When considering brewing time for both coffee makers, Aeropress takes the cake. It can brew you a cup in a minute.
While ensuring quality pour-over coffee, the Chemex takes around six-seven minutes to hand you the final result, depending on the grind size.
The reason why brewing time is shorter for an Aeropress is due to the pressure. Instead of waiting for the coffee to slowly extract and collect in the jar, you can pressure out the most extraction off your coffee grounds in a minute or two. And the coffee tastes really great too!
In terms of brewing time, Chemex vs. Aeropress comes down to patient endurance over time vs. brute force, where Aeropress is a clear winner.
This is quite a tough one to decide since both the Chemex and the Aeropress offer you different flavors of coffee that are both rich in taste with unique properties.
Chemex brings the fruity and acidic flavor out of the coffees by making sure the coffee particulates stay in the filter and do not get mixed up in the cup.
In the case of Aeropress, the coffee comes out with an espresso-like boldness due to the pressurized brewing technique.
Since brews in Aeropress are highly customizable, you can get different flavors out of different brews, making it tough to specify a flavor of Aeropress brewed coffee.
Though the options with a Chemex are limited, the quality of the coffee cup makes up for it.
Once again, Aeropress wins since you need absolutely zero skill to brew with an Aeropress. In addition, the brewing process is really straightforward for those who are new to the coffee scene.
The same can’t be said for Chemex since this maker was made for coffee fanatics with a knack for perfection. Every step for Chemex brewing requires precision, with little wiggle room for errors. Any coffee newbie is going to have a hard time with this brewer.
Chemex brewers require extra precision and involvement to ensure the best cup of coffee. For example, you need to bloom the grounds, pour the water in a precise way, etc., etc.
You can tell why some people find it tedious, say “to hell with it,” and get an Aeropress instead.
It’s tough to appreciate the processing of the Chemex brewer when Aeropress can get you a similar result with next to zero hassle.
Aeropress wins again!
Chemex limits your options by making you stick to certain brews and specific coffee grind types. The only upper hand Chemex has against Aeropress is that you can make a cold brew with it, unlike Aeropress.
Aeropress can use almost any brew method and coffee bean type, making it the most versatile brewer available in the coffee market.
Chemex comes in several different sizes:
- 3 cups
- 6 cups
- 8 cups
- 10 cups
Compared to this, Aeropress comes in only one size. But there’s a way to brew up to 4 cups using an Aeropress.
If you frequently have coffee lovers guests just as much as you, consider getting the Chemex.
Cleaning both the Chemex and the Aeropress is really easy, but Chemex cleaning can get a little trickier due to its shape. For Aeropress, the cleanup can be done in less than 30 seconds.
Don’t believe me? Take a stopwatch, and see how long it takes to throw the used filter in the trash and rinse the parts in tap water.
For cleaning the Chemex properly, the best way is to use a bottle brush. You can take the wooden handle off, and the glass carafe is dishwasher-safe as well.
If budget is the prime concern that’s holding you back from choosing one of the two, you can easily choose Aeropress.
Though both brewers are cheap compared to the other coffee makers on the market, Chemex has a bit higher price than Aeropress. If you are on a tight budget, get Aeropress. If you have a bit more money to spare, look into getting a Chemex.
Though listed near the end, this is the factor that comes into play after considering all the previous ones.
Are you looking for a flavorful and robust brew with limited options, or are you looking for a decent mixture with customizable options? Are you brewing just for yourself or for friends and family as well?
Think it all through, and make your final pick.
To Wrap It All Up
With each having its unique quirks, both the Chemex and the Aeropress are brewers capable of doing wonders.
Choose whatever suits your purpose, order your brewer online, and enjoy.
I personally prefer the Aeropress because of the two coffee brewers mentioned.
It mainly depends on personal preference. If you are attentive to detail, Chemex can be the best manual brewing method for you. But if you are looking for a coffee fix within a short time, Aeropress is the way to go.
Chemex filters are thicker than the usual Aeropress filters, though both are made of paper.
Comparing the Chemex and the Aeropress, Chemex is relatively more expensive.
Aeropress coffee brewing method leaves you room for minor mistakes that you can improve over time to ensure your brew is near perfect.
You can use nearly any grind size in the Aeropress, but a medium grind or a medium-fine grind will get you the best results.