Anyone who’s been making coffee for some time will agree it takes some practice to get used to making a good cup of coffee and a lot of that is down to the coffee maker you choose.
If you don’t want to be too involved in the entire process from machine to cup, an automated machine will work for you but if you want control on the final taste, manual brewing is your best bet.
What’s the Chemex?
Dr. Peter Schlumbohm invented the Chemex coffeemaker in 1941.
He applied his knowledge of chemistry in the design of a machine that could perfectly extract flavors from a coffee bean.
The tool has an hourglass-shaped glass flask with specially designed Chemex paper filters that are thicker than the ones on a drip coffeemaker.
The double bonded filters help produce coffee with a better flavor and remove cafestol, a cholesterol-raising agent from coffee beans.
There are also wooden collars around its neck that make carrying easier when the device is filled with hot coffee.
What’s the Aeropress?
Aeropress is a coffee brewing tool invented in 2005 by Alan Adler. It’s the only brewing device in the world with its own world championship.
A standard Aeropress consists of a paper filter dispenser, filter holding screen, stirring paddle, scoop, funnel, two tubes- a top tube used to measure water and a bottom tube which receives the top tube.
The top tube has a flexible airtight seal which contributes to creating a perfect brew.
Chemex vs Aeropress: What’s The Difference?
There are many features we can use for comparison so let’s check them out:
1. Chemex vs Aeropress: Versatility
A versatile coffee brewer is one that can produce a wide range of flavors and produce lattes and cappuccinos along with coffee.
A manual coffeemaker which you can’t use to tweak flavors is not too different from an automated machine because it strips you of control.
Aeropress is the more versatile option, it allows you try the different variants apart from regular coffee. It also lets you make strong espresso coffee if you remove the filter.
You can’t get the same result with the Chemex even if you take off the filter.
2. Chemex vs Aeropress: Brewing Time
It’s faster to make coffee on an Aeropress with an average brewing time of three minutes as compared to the seven-minute duration recorded on the Chemex maker.
Brewing time on a Chemex also varies with the type of coffee grinds so while some can take as little as two minutes, you’ll need about eight minutes with others.
It also brews with the drip process so you can’t control the speed of water that moves through the grinds.
With Aeropress, you can have a 30 second brewing time because you actually force the water through the grinds and you can decide how fast that happens.
3. Chemex vs Aeropress: Ease Of Use
Both devices make it very easy to make coffee but the shorter wait time on the Aeropress makes it a bit easier to use.
The Aeropress comes with its components unassembled but you only have to go through that setup once and you won’t have any problems after that.
The Chemex brewing process is a bit tedious as you’ll have to pour the water in a certain manner but everything’s not always perfect on an Aeropress.
You should be a bit careful while pushing on the top tube so you don’t spill coffee and hot water.
Also, clean-up time is shorter on the Aeropress as all you need to do is throw the unused coffee grinds away and rinse the device.
4. Chemex vs Aeropress: Capacity and Durability
The Aeropress only makes one cup at a time but the Chemex maker houses a six-cup chamber.
If you’re making coffee for a large number of people, using an Aeropress will get you exhausted quickly so it’s not something you should try.
The makeup of both coffeemakers points to the Aeropress being the more durable option as its heavy plastic core can resist a good amount of stress.
Chemex’s glass core is brittle and renders the entire set redundant if it breaks.
5. Chemex vs Aeropress: Cost
Chemex is more expensive than Aeropress, both on first purchase and in the long run.
That’s because the thicker filters on the Chemex are more expensive to get and you can’t get clean flavors without them but if you need a device that produces a high volume of coffee, the initial investment can be worth it.
6. Chemex vs Aeropress: Design
The hourglass-shaped Chemex machine has a more stylish design so if you’re participating in a brewing competition or just has an eye for aesthetics, it’s one you’ll admire.
7. Chemex vs Aeropress: Brewing Method
Both devices brew in different ways. Here’s how it works for the Aeropress:
#1. Heat your water to about 175°F. You can heat it to boiling point first then allow it cool to this temperature.
#2. With your Aeropress scoops, measure two servings of coffee beans and grind till fine. Coarse and moderate grinds won’t produce tasty coffee.
#3. Wet the filter and pour in the coffee grinds through the funnel.
#4. Then add water to the top tube and insert the plunger so you can push to force water through the coffee grinds.
#5. Taste the coffee and if it’s too concentrated you can add more water to dilute.
Here’s how it works for the Chemex:
#1. Heat your water to 205°F by heating to boiling point and allow to cool for 30 seconds.
#2. Unfold the Chemex filter then insert in the top of the brewer then pour hot water for about 5 seconds.
#3. Using coarse grinds, pour into your filter and shake the device till they’re settled.
#4. Then pour water into the grounds to wet them and let it sit for about 45 seconds. This is called creating the bloom, so water reaches the coffee grinds and releases carbon dioxide from the coffee.
#5. After the 45 second wait period, continue pouring hot water through the filter and do this for two minutes.
#6. Allow all the water to drain through the filter, remove the filter and discard unused coffee grinds.
Chemex vs Aeropress: Winner?
Seven features on both the Chemex and the Aeropress have been reviewed in this post. The former wins on some and the latter wins on the others.
Check the features that appeal the most to you and that will help you choose the perfect fit.