In today’s fully automated world, it might be surprising to know that some coffee-lovers still enjoy a manual coffee pot. Most notably the type that you make by hand by pouring boiling water over the coffee grounds. Two of the most common manual coffee brewing systems are the Aeropress and the Chemex brewers. We’ll compare them and you’ll have a better understanding of which one to choose as your next brewing system.
Usually called pour-over coffee makers, they make a delicious cup of coffee every time, in part because the owners have a bit of control over the coffee-making process and can make it taste exactly like they want it to taste.
Two of the most popular pour-over coffee machines are the Aeropress and Chemex, and they are high-quality makers indeed. If you’re curious about how these two coffee makers compare, keep reading as we compare the Chemex vs Aeropress brewing systems.
What Is Aeropress Coffee?
The Aeropress coffee maker has only been around since 2005 but has taken the world by storm since then. It looks like a big plastic syringe and makes one to three cups of coffee fast, so it’s good for people in a hurry.
In fact, if you want an uncomplicated coffee maker that makes just the right amount of coffee in a very short period of time, you’ll love the Aeropress. It is a long, slender device that you put on top of a cup or mug. You don’t need any type of carafe because the brew goes straight into the mug. It works on a similar principle as the French Press except that you only brew one cup of Joe at a time when you’re making coffee.
After the device is on top of the mug, you take your paper filter (difference between white and brown coffee filters) and rinse it with hot water. You do this to get rid of that papery taste and to make sure the flavor soaks through to the cup properly. Next, add your coffee grounds and pour boiling water on top of them. Let the concoction steep for just a few minutes before you continue. The device also has a plunger-like device on the very top. After the boiling water is poured over the coffee grounds (Can coffee grounds be used twice?), press that plunger down gently so the brew gets forced through the paper filter into the cup faster.
When you are pressing down the plunger, make sure you don’t do it too hard. Otherwise, it may make a mess all over the place if you force the liquid through the paper filter too fast and potentially rip it.
You should also make sure it’s positioned properly before you start pressing down so that it doesn’t accidentally knock over the entire contraption. If used properly, the Aeropress isn’t difficult or messy. Just follow the instructions and you should be fine.
What Is Chemex?
The Chemex machine is another manual brewing machine that you have to boil water before you do anything else. Chemex is an hour-glass-shaped coffee maker that allows the top part to brew the coffee, which goes into the bottom part.
To get started, rinse the filter with hot water, then place it in the top section of the device. Pour the grounds in next – usually, two tablespoons per cup will suffice, but you can make it stronger or weaker depending on your tastes.
Place the boiling water in the top part of the brewer and make sure the grounds are covered. Then wait about 1.5 minutes for the coffee to steep before you pour more boiling water into it. All you do at that point is to keep repeating the process until there is no more dripping and the brewing is done. Finally, just remove the top part of the machine and pour your coffee into a cup or mug.
This process of pouring boiling water on the coffee grounds then waiting several minutes, then starting the process over again, is called blooming the coffee, and it’s a very important step in the Chemex process. In fact, if you don’t carefully execute these steps and wait for the proper amount of time, it might change the taste in the end. It may sound like a tedious process, but in reality, it will not take you all that long to complete it. However, it is still an important part of the process.
Unlike the Aeropress, you don’t have to press down on the grounds – you just pour the boiling water in and wait. It may take a few minutes, but it won’t take that long, and you’ll soon be able to enjoy a fresh, delicious cup of coffee. The Chemex brewer has been around since 1941, and once you use it just one time, you’ll understand why it’s so popular.
Which Is Easier to Brew?
Neither the Aeropress nor the Chemex are all that complicated. In fact, once you learn what you’re doing, both of them are able to brew a good cup of coffee in no time. Nevertheless, because you have to bloom the coffee with the Chemex maker, the Aeropress is a simpler way for brewing by most accounts. Yes, there is the plunger to use with the Aeropress coffee brewing system, but that actually makes the process a little shorter and easier in the long run.
The Aeropress is also potentially messier than the Chemex because when you’re pressing down on the coffee grounds with the plunger, you could easily press down too hard and the entire unit could fall over, spilling the liquid and even grounds along the way. Once you get used to the process, though, that should never happen.
Yet another reason that the Aeropress is simpler when brewing is the fact that you brew directly into your cup or mug, whereas when you brew with the Chemex, you have to pour the liquid from the brewing carafe into the cup. In the “grand scheme of things,” none of these things is all that significant.
However, if you’re truly looking for the simplest method to brew coffee between these two brewing methods, you’ll likely find the Aeropress to be a bit easier.
Which Takes Less Time?
Because of its simplicity, the Aeropress tends to take less time. There is no blooming the coffee and therefore, not too many steps are required when you brew a cup of coffee. The plunger can make the process a little faster and simpler, but the main reason it takes less time is that no blooming is involved.
The hot water is pushed through the grounds and the paper filter, and your brew is done. This means that the Aeropress has a much shorter brew time vs the Chemex.
Although we classified both the Aeropress and the Chemex as pour-over brewing systems at the beginning of this article, technically the Aeropress is a press brewer, and those tend to brew faster since there is no blooming necessary. There is no need to wait for several minutes in between the brewing cycle and pouring. This makes the Aeropress perfect for people who are in a hurry.
Does Aeropress Coffee Taste Better Than Chemex?
Asking whether the Aeropress or the Chemex makes better-tasting coffee is like asking which veggie is the healthiest. Vegetables are always healthy, but not everyone likes the same vegetables.
The same goes for coffee made with either a press or a pour-over brewing method – it depends on your own personal preferences of how you like your brew. The tastes, however, are a little different from one another, so if you know what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to decide between these two brew methods.
Typically, the Aeropress provides you with coffee that is stronger in flavor, and in fact, it is much like an espresso taste and can be used for beverages like an Americano. The Chemex, on the other hand, provides you with richer flavors and more intricate notes. This is because when it comes to these two brewing systems, their designs and the brewing methods they use are completely different.
Let’s say you love coffee that is strong, bold, and rich, or you love lattes, mochas, or cappuccinos. In this case, it’s better to choose the Aeropress because it will give you that unique flavor you’re looking for. (Remember, Aeropress coffee is a lot like espresso.) On the other hand, the Chemex makes a milder type of coffee, much like a drip coffee pot would make. The taste itself isn’t as intense as the Aeropress coffee is, but you can sip it and enjoy it as you relax and take it easy.
Since both of these brewing methods offer something unique, you just have to decide which type of coffee you prefer and go from there. Since they are both reasonably priced as well, you can even purchase both of them if you like.
Which Coffee Maker Will Last Longer?
Naturally, any type of coffee machine can break if not treated properly, but in the case of the Aeropress versus the Chemex, it is very likely that the Aeropress will last a much longer time.
Why? The Aeropress brewing device is made out of a BPA-free hard, thick type of plastic, it is much less likely to break even when it gets old. The plastic the company uses is a very high-quality, durable plastic that is built to last for many years to come.
On the other hand, the Chemex is made out of glass, which means there is always the possibility that it could break. Of course, the Chemex brewer is made out of non-porous Borosilicate glass, which is very sturdy and also doesn’t absorb odors or chemical residues while you brew with it. Nevertheless, glass can break, so this is something you need to take into consideration when you’re researching which brewer will last the longest.
What Equipment Is More Expensive? Chemex or Aeropress?
There is no doubt that the Aeropress press brewing device is a little less expensive than the Chemex pour-over brewer – by roughly $10. While you can buy an Aeropress for around $35 to $40, it’ll cost you $45 to $50 for a Chemex coffee brewer. Of course, neither of these represents a huge price tag, especially when you consider that most standard coffee machines start out in the $25 to $30 range and go up from there.
This doesn’t just apply to the coffee brewers themselves. The filters for the Aeropress are also less expensive than those for the Chemex. In other words, you’ll save a lot of money over the long run when you purchase the Aeropress.
If you’re on a budget, this can make a big difference and can even be the deciding factor when it comes to choosing the right coffee brewing system. If it doesn’t matter, however, it simply means you can choose either one of them to brew your coffee at home.
When it comes to deciding between the Aeropress and the Chemex pour-over coffee brewer, the good news is that you will never be disappointed in either the coffee pot itself or the coffee it makes. If you’re trying to decide between these two high-quality coffee makers, just consider the following:
If you’re going to be using it indoors versus outdoors (the Aeropress is best for outdoor use because of its portability; Chemex is best for stationary uses such as your kitchen).
- How fast you want your coffee to be ready (Aeropress is faster than the Chemex, although neither takes that much time to brew a cup of coffee).
- What type of coffee you prefer (choose Aeropress for espresso-type coffees such as lattes and mochas; pick Chemex for a milder tasting brew).
- What your budget restraints are (the Aeropress is roughly $10 less than the Chemex, and the paper filters are less expensive as well).
- How sturdy you expect the coffee makers to be (Aeropress is made out of heavy-duty plastic, while the Chemex is made out of glass).
If you’re trying to decide between the two, it’s a good idea to research them more so you can get the information you need to make the right decision.
Research not just the coffee makers, but the coffee filters and even the coffee itself, since each of these coffee makers, specializes in a different type of coffee. You can use either grounds or grind fresh beans yourself, but the type of coffee you choose can vary depending on which machine you choose.
The fact that you can purchase both of these coffee makers for less than $100 means you don’t have to spend too much time thinking about which of their features is most important to you. If you sometimes like strong coffee and you prefer a milder coffee brew at other times, you can indeed get both coffee makers without breaking the bank.
Furthermore, since they are both very well-made coffee makers that are made by reputable companies, you can count on enjoying both of them for a very long time.