Chemex and Aeropress are trendy ways of brewing coffee. Popular as these methods are, they are also very different. That’s why we will explore Aeropress vs Chemex for coffee brewing. What makes each method different? Which one is better?
The biggest difference between the Aeropress and Chemex coffee brewing is the style. While the Aeropress brews coffee by being pressed, the Chemex is a pour over coffee maker. So, let’s dig in.
Chemex vs Aeropress – A Detailed Comparison
For us coffee fanatics, investing in a coffee grinder would be a good idea for both these coffee devices. While pre-ground coffee will also work just fine, freshly ground coffee is more flavorful and delicious.
If you are going to manually brew your coffee, you may as well have the coffee you enjoy the best, ground to your choice. Oh, and it’s generally recommended to use your freshly ground coffee within 20 minutes of grinding.
Now that we’ve got the grinding covered, let’s get back to Chemex vs Aeropress comparison.
The Structures – How These Coffee Makers Differ In Design And Appearance
An Aeropress brewer looks like a cylinder. It is made of plastic, making it portable and great for camping trips (there are no glass Aeropress options). It is easy to transport and also very easy to clean.
The typical Aeropress has the main vessel, the bottom container, a funnel, a scoop, a container for the microfilters, and a stirrer. Many models also come with a pouch for easy carrying.
A Chemex is the go-to for making pour over coffee. It’s practically the poster boy of pour over coffee makers. As appearance goes, Chemex is straightforward. It’s a glass vessel with an insulating collar at the neck, and that’s about it. Some Chemex models skip the collar and use a glass handle, as seen in traditional glass jars.
The appearance of the Chemex is sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing. The hourglass shape gives it a distinctive look. This is also the place where the filter is placed when brewing coffee.
Chemex takes up very little counter space. However, because it is made of glass, it is fragile and can break easily.
Methodology And Steps To Brewing Coffee In Aeropress And Chemex
Chemex vs. Aeropress brewing methods are worlds apart. While the Chemex is a drip pour, the Aeropress is a pressure one. So how do you brew using each?
Before we get into the instructions, there are a few things you need to know about each brewing tool. An Aeropress will yield 1-3 cups at a time. The most common Aeropress model is single-cup, though larger variants are also available. A Chemex can yield up to 10 cups (depending on the model and size of the carafe).
Steps To Prepare Your Brew With The Aeropress
Aeropress needs fine-ground coffee. The recommended grind size is roughly the same as used for brewing espresso. Here are the steps to follow.
- Boil 7 ounces of water.
- Insert the paper filter into the plastic cap.
- Assemble the Aeropress.
- Pour a little bit of water onto the round coffee filter, while you preheat the vessel.
- Carefully add your coffee grounds (15 to 18 ounces) into the filter.
- Pour some of the hot water into the vessel.
- Saturate your coffee using the stirrer, and let sit for 30 seconds.
- Pour the rest of the water. After one minute, stir your coffee grounds a few times.
- Using the plunger, press gently. It will drip into the liquid chamber.
- Unscrew the dripping chamber, and pour your coffee to enjoy it.
Steps To Preparing Your Brew With Chemex
Chemex usually works with a medium-coarse grind. Technically, it’s the same grind as you would use with a drip coffee maker. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to experiment with the grind till you find one that works best for you.
Adjust the grinder to get your coffee grounds a bit coarser or finer than the classic medium grind. It takes a few practice runs but once you’ve got it right, the rewarding brew is worth the effort.
Here are step-by-step instructions to get your Chemex brew:
- Measure the water for the number of cups you want to brew approximately 8 ounces per cup. Add another ½ cup of water (you will need this to clean the filter)
- Boil water to 205 degrees (F).
- Measure the coffee beans 14-17 grams of beans per cup.
- Grind the beans (medium grind is best)
- Place the filter in the brewer. Chemex recommends using Chemex Bonded Filters. This is where the ½ cup of boiling water comes in, pour it into the filter, (this will eliminate any paper taste and will preheat your Chemex.)
- Once the water has moved and the filter is empty, add the coffee grounds.
- Saturate the coffee grounds with some water and let sit for one minute.
- Once saturated, pour the rest of the boiling water in slow, deliberate motions. Distribute water evenly over the grounds. Using a gooseneck kettle is recommended for better control over water flow.
- Optional, stir the grounds with water to better saturate them.
- Remove the filter, pour, and enjoy!
What Do the Brews Taste Like?
An Aeropress manual coffee brewer is certainly different from others. You can use it to make a French press style brew or an espresso one. Because it is a pressure brewer, it works sort of like a syringe. This makes the result not as crisp or rich as other methods, but the brew is undeniably strong and enjoyable.
A darker roast is almost always the choice for Aeropress users. This is because the pressure method takes on better with dark or espresso roasts. The presence of the Aeropress microfilters greatly impacts the taste. And this is especially important because the Aeropress makes an espresso-style brew. The filter does not allow any oil or sediment to seep through.
Aeropress gives your brew a very strong and truly unique flavor. The coffee tastes flavorful and the brew is clean. Coffee brewed with an Aeropress tastes strong and feels great.
Chemex, however, is more appropriate for lighter, fruitier roasts of coffee. If you are a coffee enthusiast, you probably already have an idea of which roasts you want to try.
Gourmet coffees and single-origin beans are far more preferable for the Chemex pour over treatment than an Aeropress. Other coffee beans and pre-ground coffee go pretty well with the Chemex. Versatility of this coffee maker is a big reason for its popularity.
The Chemex is mostly preferred for those that enjoy a smoother, full-flavored cup of coffee. Even though it is not as strong as Aeropress, coffee brewed in a Chemex does not lack body.
Brews are brighter and clear in color. They’re also very smooth and palpable.
The versatility allows you to get a variety of different brews. The Chemex brings out all the subtle hints and taste nuances of coffee.
So Is One Brewing Method Decidedly Better Than The Other
Both Aeropress and Chemex are sophisticated ways to brew your coffee. However, they both have their differences.
Let’s add more nuance to the Aeropress vs Chemex comparison.
- Both the Aeropress and the Chemex are easy to use, although the Chemex takes a few more steps for brewing.
- Both tools are easy to clean.
- Chemex is a bit more expensive than an Aeropress.
- Chemex can brew up to 10 cups of coffee depending on the size of the coffee maker, while the Aeropress only brew one at a time
- Aeropress utilizes a pressure method for brewing. Chemex is the best-recognized pour over coffee maker.
- Both brewing methods take less than 5 minutes, though the exact time can vary for Chemex depending on the size of the coffee maker.
- Both methods give you total control of the brew.
- Chemex is made of glass (making it a bit more fragile), while the Aeropress is made of plastic, making it portable. Chemex uses high-quality glass, but well, glass is glass.
- They’re both the gateway of making excellent coffee!
It’s worth noting that while its plastic construction makes the Aeropress more portable and resilient, it can also be a negative. Aeropress uses high-quality plastic and is perfectly safe for human use. Nevertheless, many people tend to avoid plastic coffee makers to prevent plastic from coming in contact with edible items. In these circumstances, the glass construction of Chemex gives it an edge in the Chemex vs Aeropress comparison.
FAQs – Answering Common Queries On Aeropress vs Chemex
What size Chemex is best?
Chemex coffee makers are available in various sizes, going all the way up to a 10-cup coffee maker. The size you want on your Chemex is dependent on how many cups you usually brew.
All Chemex coffee makers start with the assumption that one cup is the same as 5 oz. That’s reasonable, but most of us work with an 8 oz cup of coffee. If you use the same measurements, it’s worthwhile to adjust Chemex measurements to your own.
That way, the Chemex 10-cup coffee maker is good enough for six cups for your use. That’s a reasonable pick for a larger family or if you entertain guests often. For smaller requirements, the six-cup Chemex should fit just fine.
Is Chemex hard to use?
It’s very easy to use a Chemex coffee maker. It brews pour over coffee without the need for any shenanigans. However, brewing a more adept pour over does require some effort from the user.
Maintaining a gentle and steady stream of water might need some effort from new users. However, seasoned users and those with culinary skills see no problem at all in handling Chemex and brewing their favorite coffee.
Should I buy an Aeropress?
Absolutely. Aeropress is a simple and cost-effective way to brew amazing coffee. It makes an amazing and strong brew. Coffee made from Aeropress is often likened to brewing espresso. And while you could say it’s not true espresso, and that’s right, it still beats most espresso makers way above the price range of the Aeropress.
To be clear, cost-effectiveness isn’t the only reason to buy this coffee maker. It stands well on its own merits and is generally regarded as an excellent coffee maker.
Making The Choice – Does One Coffee Maker Decisively Better The Other?
Both Aeropress and Chemex are quality products. There is no better, the choice is entirely up to your taste buds. As we said, both methods are easy and give you total control.
Additionally, they use different brewing methods, so your brew will be different when using either coffee maker. Your decision on Aeropress vs Chemex isn’t about which coffee maker is better. It’s on what brewing method you prefer for your coffee.
If you prefer a strong and clean cup of java, we say go with the Aeropress. If your preference is rich, clean, and lighter, we say go with the Chemex. If you enjoy all varieties, we say, then, why not try both?