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Aeropress v/s Chemex Coffee Maker – Ultimate Guide

Every coffee lover will agree with you on this: every time is coffee time. You don’t need an elaborate excuse to taste that cup of this black miracle, which is why you need to invest in making it as good as possible.

So, you have to look for the perfect way to brew it. This brings me to the next question: should we go for Aeropress or Chemex?

What Are the Brewing Methods?

Some people spend way more time on the best ways to brew a cup of coffee and too little time on drinking it – but we don’t mind it. After all, we’re the ones reaping the benefits of this crucial research in a cup.

Choosing the best brewing method will pretty much depend on each person’s needs and style. Therefore, while some may be more comfortable and go for the Aeropress procedure, others will find the Chemex coffee maker more effective.

Aeropress v/s Chemex - Comparison and Review

   Aeropress

           Chemex

Brewing Method

Pressure

Dripping or filtration

Ease of Use

Simple and fast

A bit more time-consuming

Brew Control

Yes

Yes

Brewing Time​

3 minutes

4 minutes

Available Materials

Plastic

Glass

Available sizes

1 size

3, 6, 8 or 10-cup size

Resulting Brew

Strong and clean

Rich and clean

Price Range

$20-$40

$30-$70

For those of you who don’t know what Aeropress and Chemex are, here is something that will enlighten you.

The Fast Aeropress

Aeropress is a coffee maker that every person can easily use in the comfort of their home. It’s classy, unique, and once you set it up, you’ll get your coffee in less than a minute (the other two will go into setting up the brewer).

This brewing method is very convenient if you are the kind of person who is always on the run. If you only have a few moments to get up, get dressed and go out the door, you can’t afford to lose time on brewing coffee – and skipping it will actually mean torture and a day full of headaches for most of you.

The technique of this brewing method is pretty similar to that of an espresso machine. You force steam and hot water through the grounds and filter, and you extract the flavor of the coffee beans.

How do you make it?

Simple: The filter is placed in the chamber, and then you put the grounds into the filter. You take some hot water, and you pour it on top, using the plunger to send the water through the grounds and voila! Instant coffee!

Cleaning the device is just as simple as making the coffee:

You take out the filter, throw it away, quickly rinse the Aeropress and then you will be ready to head out the door. Your day will be good and bright, with your coffee in your hand.

The Careful Chemex

While Aeropress focuses on delivering on-the-clock coffee, Chemex is more of a gentleman that takes its time with a drip technique. It’s like comparing the Flash with Batman: one of them is fast and… well, flashy while the other one saves Gotham from the shadows.

chemex

This brewing design has been around for almost 80 years, which means that this was invented even before computers came into the world (priorities, right?).

It still seems to be the favorite of many coffee lovers (and addicts) all over the world since it delivers a very rich aroma.

When looking at the Chemex coffee maker, you’ll be surprised by how simple it looks: it is a glass container shaped like an hourglass that can fit a filter right at the top of the cone. The grounds are poured right into the filter, after which you pour boiling water over.

After 4 minutes, you will have yourself a nice cup of delicious-smelling black magic.

Ease of Use

Both devices are very easy to use – the only difference is that the Chemex will take just a tad bit longer to make the coffee.

  • The Aeropress will require some assembling at the beginning, but it will be very easy to use in the future without too much of a fuss.
  • On the other hand, while Chemex may look like a regular hourglass container, you’ll have to go through the same process every time: add water into the filter, allow it to drip, add the rest of the water and wait until it has finished brewing. The whole brewing part will take at least 4 minutes.

When it comes to storage, the Chemex can brew more than one cup of coffee (as opposed to the Aeropress). Therefore, if you have to brew coffee for six persons as fast as possible, the Chemex may be the more convenient option out of the two.

Aeropress is very quick to brew, but if you have a large group of people to deal with, then it’s going to drive you insane at some point.

Also, if you are a newbie to coffee brewing, you may find that the Aeropress is a little more helpful. The process is very straightforward and the cleanup time is also reduced. The Chemex, on the other hand, was made for those who are already familiar with coffee brewing and want more control over the process.

Therefore, if we were to compare these devices with tea brewing (sacrilege, I know!), we could say the following: Aeropress is the instant tea we find in bags while Chemex is the more elaborate Japanese tea ceremony.

Comparing the Brewing Time and Control

In the case of Chemex, the brewing time will depend on the types of grinds that you intend to use. Some of them may take as little as two minutes while others may take as much as 6 to 7 minutes. Since it’s a drip process, you don’t have much of a say into how fast the water will be going through the grinds.

On the other hand, with Aeropress, the brewing time can take around 30-60 seconds – since you literally force the water into going through the grinds. No more waiting for your beard to grow while your coffee brews.

With Aeropress, the time will be cut in half, and it’s the perfect thing if you need a buzz of caffeine for the day.

If you are one of those humans with no time to spare, then Aeropress is for you. If you like to chill while brewing your coffee, the Chemex is the adequate choice.

Accessories that Come With the Brewer

When you buy the Aeropress coffee brewer, you will receive 350 filters with it as well. Therefore, if no one but you uses it and you only drink one cup per day, these Aeropress filters will last you an entire year. Plus, if you rinse them carefully after you use them, you may still get a coffee or two out of them. The filters aren’t very expensive, and you can get them from any shop that sells the Aeropress.

The Chemex, on the other hand, isn’t sold with filters. You’ll have to purchase them separately, so be very careful with that. Many people bought the Chemex only to realize that they need to order filters as well. They come in various shapes, colors and sizes, so the choice is pretty much yours.

Chemex recommends that you do not use other filters than theirs for brewing the coffee. They made them thicker than regular filters, which mean that they can also hold more grounds.

The Designs of the Brewing Devices

Each of these devices has a unique style.

The Chemex is more on the fancy, stylish side. It looks clean, simple and classy – which is why many people seem to prefer this one over the Aeropress.

It’s simple, really: an hourglass-shaped vessel made of glass, a handle made from wood and a cord. You may be surprised to find out that it’s an object that is displayed in art galleries all over the world.

On the other hand, the Aeropress does not look as fancy as its competitor – but it’s still environmentally-friendly. It doesn’t have any BPA or phthalates – which is pretty much something you will want to avoid drinking on a daily basis.

If looks are important to you, then you may want to go with the Chemex. It certainly has a better impact if you were to brew coffee in this device in front of a crowd.

Comparing the Taste

When it comes to taste, comparing these two is pretty much like comparing apples and pears – both of them are fruits, and both of them grow on trees! They taste great – but they don’t taste the same.

These coffee brewing methods are like these fruits: similar in some aspects, but completely different in others.

For instance, Aeropress will offer you an espresso; the coffee that results from the process is strong, clean, rich and very bold. It’s pretty much like something the Incredible Hulk would drink before going on a power range.

Chemex, on the other hand, is Tony Stark sitting at the top of his game, enjoying the view of his completed creation. Tony doesn’t want to go into Hulk-smash mode – he wants to chill and enjoy the taste.

Chemex is, therefore, the milder version of Aeropress. While the taste may not be as intense as the latter, you’ll still enjoy a sweet sip of this coffee. It’s perfect for those who can’t handle strong coffee for one reason or another (such as if you suffer from heart palpitation or calcium deficiency). Mixed with some milk, this one is perfect for a relaxing lunch break.

Sensing the Aroma and Getting a View

Just like with the taste, there are also several differences when it comes to the smell. Regardless of the beans and the mugs used, both of them carry a very strong aroma.

Fans all over the world say that, in both cases, the smell is sweet and spicy, similar to the aroma that natural root beer gives off. I know it sounds crazy – but that is what everyone keeps saying. And there is definitely truth in that.

As for the “looks,” you have to admit that you love seeing your coffee “as black as your soul” (at least, that’s what people on the Internet keep saying). When it comes to opacity, we couldn’t see much of it in the Chemex brew. However, in the case of Aeropress, the opacity was very noticeable.

In the picture above, the left side holds a mug of Aeropress while the one on the right has Chemex in it. No mug has any other addition in it except for the coffee grounds. You can see how there is a significant difference between the two colors and that Aeropress seems to focus more on the details – as many people also claim.

The Durability Test

Technically, every coffee maker should be handled with as much care as possible. You don’t buy it just to drop it – that’s the job of the shock testers.

Chemex is made of glass, so if you handle it with care, this should last you for a long time – even your great grandkids will be able to use it when they grow up. However, if you are the kind of person that drops everything they put their hands on, then the Chemex may not be the ideal choice for you.

Clumsy persons should definitely go for the Aeropress. Since it’s made of plastic, you won’t have a heart attack the moment you see it falling to the ground. Sure, it’s fun to break things – but when that “thing” is your coffee maker, you will be brewing tears instead of coffee that morning.

The only drawback is that the plastic of Aeropress may not be as durable to the effects of time as the glass is. If you were to put a new Aeropress and a new Chemex in a vault for 100 years, the chances are that the Chemex will still be in perfect shape when you get it out – whereas the Aeropress will barely be hanging to its last breath.

Think about your dexterity when purchasing the brewer. If you are a dropper, go for the Aeropress; you’ll thank your wallet later. On the other hand, if you’re a paranoid parrot that is extra careful, then you can safely bet on the Chemex.

Versatility

When you purchase a coffee brewer, you want to make sure it is as versatile as possible, don’t you? Between a machine that would give you only coffee and one that would offer coffee, lattes, and cappuccinos, you would obviously choose the latter, wouldn’t you?

This is the case with Aeropress. Out of the two options, Aeropress is the more attractive options since you can make more than coffee with it. So if you are a fan of Latte, Cappuccino or Americano, then you can easily make these – as long as you have heated milk at hand. Since those drinks require espresso-style coffee as the basis, the brew you get from the Chemex isn’t exactly what you should be going for.

Chemex makes coffee that resembles the “regular” ones that your filter used to make. On the other hand, the Aeropress coffee is similar the brew you get on the stove, without the filter.

What about the Price?

When it comes to the costs implied, these two are also very different. Out of the two, Aeropress is less expensive than Chemex upon first purchase. However, while the difference may not be that significant at first, Chemex may cost you more money in the long run.

The filters for Chemex are more expensive than the ones you would get for Aeropress. Even though both types are made of paper, Chemex uses a thicker and heavier type. If you are the only one using this coffee maker, then you will benefit more from purchasing the Aeropress, financially speaking.

This doesn’t make the Chemex an inconvenient purchase. If you are the kind of person who depends on take-out coffee, then imagine how much money you’ll be able to save up in one year. You’ll get the paper filters’ worth and more.

Brewing Techniques for Chemex and Aeropress

We talked about the advantages and disadvantages of each brewing method, but I still want to make sure that you will brew your coffee correctly – which is why I gathered some tips for you. This is based on what I know and on what other people suggest.

Here are some tips for brewing with an Aeropress:

  • For 16.5 – 17 g of coffee, use around 250 ml of water at a temperature that is lower than the boiling norm (cca. 80c). You may want to opt for an electric kettle with temperature control for this, or a food thermometer.
  • Rinse the stock paper filters well before using them. They may be “brand new,” but it’s always best to be safe than sorry.
  • In order to make the coffee grounds “bloom,” add around 50 ml of water and leave it for about 30 seconds. The rest of the water should be added slowly, so that the coffee doesn’t lose its aroma.
  • Press slowly for 30-80 seconds (depending on the grounds you used). A total extraction time should not take longer than 80 seconds, tops.
  • You may want to agitate the content before pressing, to make sure that the water and grounds are well-mixed.

PRO TIP: When you grind the beans, make them a bit larger. You’ll get out a stronger, longer-lasting aroma.

If you follow this technique, then you will definitely get some amazingly aromatic Aeropress coffee.

On the other hand, if you are a Chemex kind of person, you may be more interested in these tips.

  • For a cup of coffee, use approximately 350 ml of water for 25 g of coffee.
  • When you “bloom” the coffee, make sure to add the water in increments. It also needs to be a temperature around 90 degrees Celsius (so it doesn’t have to be boiling).
  • When you fill the content with water, make sure to stir several times, so that you get a nice flavor extraction.
  • When you add water for the second “bloom,” make sure that you do it slowly and carefully – otherwise, the coffee may taste bitter instead of sweet.
  • If you find that your coffee is too bitter, you may go for a coarser grind, cooler water or less stirring.

Final Thoughts

At this point, you may have realized that both the Aeropress and the Chemex have some pros and cons. Some benefits that may be heaven for some people may not be someone else’s cup of coffee.

  • While the Aeropress isn’t exactly the Don Juan of coffee brewers, it’s still a very portable and convenient option. Combined with your own brewing technique and the right coffee, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious dark piece of heaven every morning. Plus, with the right side ingredients, you can get an excellent cappuccino to make your day just a little bit better.
  • Chemex isn’t very fast when it comes to making coffee – but it’s one of the best ways to control your coffee quantity. Plus, the right size of the brewer can “feed” your entire family with coffee every morning, and the fact that it’s a “looker” also helps. You can finally bring out the coffee brewer without feeling ashamed of how it looks.

If you ask me, the best coffee brewer is the Aeropress. It’s cheap, versatile and you can make all sorts of coffee with it as well – including the very strong kind that can wake up the dead.

It’s perfect for your home or your travels because it is fairly compact. It may not be recommended if you want to go in larger groups – but who would want to share their coffee, after all? I know I probably wouldn’t. But I wouldn’t say no to the Chemex either.

So, after reading all this, which coffee maker seems to suit your addiction needs? Do let us know your opinion!


Dennies is the founder and editor-in-chief of Dripped Coffee. He is a trained barista who knows coffee like the back of his hand. When he's not brewing coffee, you can find him fishing or swimming.

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