Coffee Maker Duel
In the eternal battle for the best coffee, competition is brewing between Chemex vs AeroPress, two premium coffee makers. Let’s take a look at both systems and why only one wins out.
Chemex vs AeroPres
In one corner, pour-over glass coffee maker Chemex. In the other, its opponent, the AeroPress coffee press. Both are standout designs in their own categories, but which is the best in the Chemex vs AeroPress duel?
The Chemex coffee maker was designed to look as good as its coffee tastes. It was invented by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm, who was a chemist and inventor. It’s glass and wood design makes for a modern, contemporary style that was a unique look at its invention.
The carafe is made of borosilicate glass. Around the middle of the hourglass shape is a wood and leather circular grip. A paper filter is placed in the upper section and hot water poured through the coffee grounds there.
- The Classic series of the Chemex comes in four sizes, three-, six-, eight-, and ten-cup*.
- The Glass Handle series has a simple round handle and comes in three-, six-, eight-, and ten-cups.
- The Handblown series is made by hand. Its sizes are slightly different, in three-, five-, eight-, and thirteen cup versions.
Making coffee with the Chemex is an experience, a morning ritual if you will. Chemex suggests grinding your own coffee with a burr grinder. Bring it to a medium coarse ground. Burr grinders result in, “a more even extraction and fuller bodied cup of coffee” (Chemex).
The Chemex Bonded Coffee Filter comes in a cone shape. There are three layers of filter over the spout of the carafe. A tip is to pour warm water through the filter before brewing. This preheats the system. The warm water can be poured out before adding grounds.
After water has been boiled, it should cool for a moment and stop boiling. It should be around 200 degrees Farenheit. Pour a bit into the grounds. Wait half a moment. This is called “blooming.” Then the rest of the water can be poured, being certain to cover all of the grounds.
If there is left over coffee, it can be kept warm on the stove top in the Chemex coffee maker carafe.
The Aeropress is a narrow coffee press that fits in the top of a cup. A filter is placed in the bottom of the press. The press rests in a cup. Coffee grounds are poured in, followed by hot water. The plunger of the press can be used to stir up the grounds and then plunged down to force water through the grounds and filter, and then into the cup.
AeroPress is the kind of coffee maker for people who need their coffee now. In just one minute, one to three cups of coffee are made. Espresso or American style can be made, as well as cold brew.
When Alan Adler invented the Aeropress, he wanted to find a new way to make better coffee. He succeeded in doing so, bringing the AeroPress to a trade show in 2005. He achieved a unique design as the AeroPress doesn’t quite look like a coffee maker. Given that it uses a mug as a base, it cuts down on coffee maker size.
The AeroPress is priced at $29.95, making it a go-to choice for the budget shopper. The design of the AeroPress is meant to avoid bitter coffee. It is made of BPA-free plastic. The AeroPress makes one, two, or three cups of coffee. It comes with 350 filters. The slim press is compact enough to transport with you.
One of the benefits of pressing coffee is the reduction in acidity. This improves the taste, but it also has added benefits. This is important for the health of your teeth as well as digestion.
When comparing the AeroPress vs the french press or traditional coffee maker, it does not over extract, leading to less bitter coffee.
Popular amongst outdoorsy people who want a lightweight, packable solution to still have coffee on the trail while camping, the AeroPress travels well.
Unlike classic french press styles that come with a built in filter, both Chemex and AeroPress require disposable filters. Let’s assess both based on affordability, availability, and eco-friendliness.
A huge focus of the Chemex is proper extraction. This extraction is facilitated by the cone-shaped filters. These filters are about one third thicker than typical filters. The shape and thickness influences the rate at which the coffee is filtered, leading to better extraction and thus flavor.
Chemex Bonded Filters come in Pre-folded Circles, Pre-folded Squares, Pre-folded Squares (natural), Unfolded Half Moon, and Unfolded Half Moon (natural). The Chemex website contains instructions on how to fold the filter.
These come in packages of 100 and cost $9.50. They can be purchased directly from Chemex and other retailers, including Amazon.
Chemex filters also come on a subscription basis, ensuring you never run out.
Called Micro-Filters, AeroPress Filters come in a pack of 350 for $4.99. These fit in both the AeroPress and AeroPress Go. They can be purchased directly from AeroPress and a variety of other retailers, including Amazon.
The filers are reusable, and both biodegrade and compost, making these an effective option for green households.
The eco- and budget-friendly element makes AeroPress filters the clear winner in Filters.
Both designs come with accessories and sibling style lines.
The beauty of the Chemex is that it was just the beginning of an entire ecosystem of coffee makers and accessories. When you start with one of the classic glass pour-over carafes, you will soon find yourself drawn to the mugs, cream and sugar set, kettles, and the Ottomatic.
For those looking for a complementary set of mugs and cream and sugar set, Chemex offers these contemporarily designed items. Matching the hourglass style, this set is both attractive and functional.
In addition there is also the Chettle, a sleek glass and silver kettle meant to be used with the coffee carafe. With a matching hourglass shape and metallic spout, it deepens the contemporary style of the line.
The Chettle is heated by induction on an electric base. Pairing the kettle and the Chemex coffee maker, perhaps with some Doubled Walled mugs from the cup line make Chemex into an artistic, home goods experience.
For a direct stove-top option, the Chemex 2-Quart Water Kettle is a great option for simple boiling.
The Ottomatic is an automatic pour-over accessory, which contains a water tank and sprayhead. It brews both regular and iced coffee directly into the Chemex. It measures more the size of a typical coffee maker: 11 x 7 1⁄2 x 11 1⁄2 inches. The Ottomatic retails around $350.00
AeroPress’ baby brother, AeroPress Go, comes with a mug/storage container and allows you to make fresh, delicious coffee anywhere you can find water. It is perfect for those who have outdoor jobs or who want to take this camping, hiking, or adventuring with them.
If you want to accessorize, the AeroPress also comes with a branded tote to store the press on the go.
The Chemex line is undoubtedly a beautiful home accent with many options, creating a beautiful ritual and place setting for your morning coffee, winning this category.
Ease of Cleaning
A difficult to clean product can ruin great function, so how do the Chemex and AeroPress wash up?
The Chemex is dishwasher safe. It also can be washed by hand with soap and water. Chemex sells a descaling solution for $5.00, as well as a cleaning brush.
The AeroPress can be washed on the toprack of the dishwasher if needed. Generally, it need only be rinsed. If there is ever a residue inside, it can be cleaned with vinegar.
Not actually needing to be washed is a major plus for AeroPress, taking the gold in this category.
Stand Out Features
Chemex’s Coffee Culture:
Chemex provides an education in coffee, through their:
- Instructions found on the website
- Filter Folding 101 tutorial
- Brew Perfect Video Game
This engagement brings users into the culture of coffee.
Notably, the Brew Perfect Video Game is a surprisingly relaxing romp into the video game world. Help Dr. Schlumbohm catch the perfect beans while avoiding other gross elements that want to drop into your coffee cup.
AeroPress’s Cold Brew Process*
Making cold brew is quick and easy with AeroPress, leading to one more low-acidity drink. AeroPress’s cold brew is made in two minutes.
Choose a fine grind of coffee. Use tap water in the press. For one minute, stir, to ensure proper extraction. Press. Add ice water to the mug.
*While some claim to make cold brew with Chemex, AeroPress is officially endorsed for the process.
In the fight of AeroPress vs Chemex, AeroPress is the obvious choice.
The AeroPress is the clear all around winner for its price, portability, eco-friendliness, and innovative design.
The Chemex has design, ritual brewing, and classic history going for it. But with premium treatment comes premium price, and this is evident in Chemex’s line and filter subscription options.
Use the Chemex if you:
- Are looking for design as well as function
- Prefer glass to plastic
- Don’t mind waiting for your coffee
- Enjoy making your coffee into an experience
- Want a coffee maker with a matching line of accessories and options
- Want a low acidity coffee
- Want the option to order filters by subscription
- Need something dishwasher safe
- Want the correct level of extraction from your coffee grounds
The AeroPress’ quick process, ease of use, and to-go qualities make this inexpensive coffee maker a win in my book.
Use the AeroPress if you:
- Need something on the go
- Want your coffee in one minute
- Want a press that is easily stored and uses your mug as its base
- Want to achieve great extraction
- Need low-acidity coffee
- Want to have coffee while camping or hiking or living somewhere without electricity
- Want reusable filters
- Want composable filters
- Are looking for a afforadability
And so ends the Chemex vs AeroPress duel, with AeroPress claiming victory. Perhaps true coffee connoisseurs will find themselves wanting both coffee makers to deploy at the appropriate moments and always have the option of making great coffee.
Looking for more coffee makers? Take a look at all our coffee maker reviews here.