AeroPress vs Chemex: The Ultimate Showdown

By Evelina •  Updated: 05/23/22 •  11 min read

If you’re a college student or a coffee enthusiast on a budget, then you’re probably familiar with the AeroPress and Chemex coffee brewing methods. These two devices are very popular among coffee lovers for their simple design and great results.

But when it comes to budget coffee at home, there are some clear differences between these two. So in this comparison, we’re going to take a closer look at the AeroPress and Chemex to see which one is the best for making coffee on a budget!

The AeroPress Coffee Maker

AeroPress vs Chemex - AeroPress Coffee Maker

The AeroPress is a manual coffee maker that uses force and air pressure to make coffee. There is not much to it, you just add your coffee grounds and water to the chamber, and press the plunger down to filter the coffee.

The beauty of AeroPress is its simplicity and portability – it’s small enough to fit in your backpack, and it’s perfect for making coffee on the go. If you’re a student or always on the move, then it is a great choice for you.

A Few Things About Its Design

It was invented in 2005 by Alan Adler, an engineer who now lives in Los Altos, California. The brewer is made out of BPA-free plastic, and it comes with thin paper filters that ensure you get a clean, smooth cup of coffee.

The design is very simple. It consists of a cylindrical chamber, a plunger, and a filter cap. You also get a funnel that can be attached to the chamber, which makes it easier to add your coffee grounds.

The stirring pad and spoon are also included in the package, so you can start making coffee right away. For more information about the history and the design of the AeroPress see: History of AeroPress.

Quick Overview of The AeroPress Pros And Cons

Pros:

Cons:

What is The Chemex?

AeroPress vs Chemex - Chemex Coffee Maker

Pour over coffee has become increasingly popular in recent years, and the Chemex coffee maker is one of the most popular pour over devices on the market.

The Chemex was invented in 1941 by German chemist Peter Schlumbohm who was looking for a more efficient way to make coffee. It’s made out of a glass carafe that’s shaped like an hourglass, with a long neck and a wooden collar.

There are other pour over coffee makers like the Hario V60 and the Kalita Wave, but the Chemex is the first that created such a unique design.

The Design And Functionality of The Chemex

The process of making coffee is simple. You just need to add your coffee grounds to the filter and pour hot water over it. The coffee will drip into the carafe, and you can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee in just a few minutes.

The glass is made out of the same glass that is used for lab ware, so it’s very durable and easy to clean. The wood collar is there for aesthetic reasons, but it also makes the Chemex more comfortable to hold.

The paper filters are thicker and bigger than the ones used for the AeroPress, and they’re also cone-shaped. This means that the coffee grounds are evenly saturated, and you can control the brewing process much better.

You can also buy a metal filter that goes inside the wooden collar which is reusable but it’s more expensive.

A Quick Overview of The Chemex Pros And Cons

Pros:

Cons:

Differences Between AeroPress and Chemex

Let’s face it, it’s not common to find someone passionate about both Chemex and AeroPress. Most people tend to prefer one or the other, depending on their needs. So, what are the main differences between these two coffee makers?

1. Grind Size

The grind size is probably the most important factor when you brew coffee. The grind size for Chemex should be much coarser than the one you would use for AeroPress. This is because the Chemex paper filter is thicker, and if you use a fine grind, the coffee will be over-extracted and bitter.

AeroPress, on the other hand, can handle a wider range of grind sizes. You can use a finer grind for espresso-like coffee, or a more medium grind for a regular cup.

Overall you need to be careful with the grind size when brewing with Chemex, while AeroPress is more forgiving. The grind size will also affect the brewing time, so keep that in mind.

TIP: The grinder you use is also important. A good manual burr grinder will make a big difference in the quality of your coffee, no matter what brewing method you use. It will cost you more, but it’s worth it in the long run.

2. Brewing Time

AeroPress vs Chemex Brew time

And since I mentioned brewing time, let’s talk about that next. The brewing time for Chemex is usually around 4-5 minutes, while AeroPress takes only 1-2 minutes.

The brewing time for Chemex is longer because when pouring hot water over the coffee grounds, it needs to drip through the filter and into the carafe. This process takes time, and that’s why Chemex coffee is usually stronger and more concentrated.

For the AeroPress, since you only use force to push the coffee through the filter, the brewing time is much shorter. This is one of the main advantages of AeroPress over Chemex.

Other reasons that can affect the brewing time are:

Important: If you’re using AeroPress for the first time, make sure to brew using the Inverted AeroPress technique. This is when you place the AeroPress upside down, and it will make the whole process much faster.

3. Taste

taste for chemex and aeropress

Taste is like a religion when it comes to coffee, and so many different factors affect it. The main difference in taste between Chemex and AeroPress is the level of concentration.

Chemex coffee is usually stronger and more concentrated because of the longer brewing time. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on your preference. Some people prefer a more diluted coffee, while others like a stronger cup.

AeroPress coffee has a more mellow taste because of the way it is brewed. The short brew time means that the coffee isn’t as concentrated, so it has a more sweet flavor.

TIP: For better espresso coffee you can use a metal filter like the Joepresso, which is designed to fit the Aeropress perfectly. This will give you a more intense cup of coffee without being too bitter.

4. Quantity

If you’re making coffee for a large group of people, Chemex is the way to go. The carafe can hold up to ten cups of coffee (depending on the size), so you’ll have plenty to go around.

There are four Chemex models: the 3-cup, 6-cup, 8-cup, and 10-cup.

AeroPress makes one cup at a time, so it’s not the best choice if you’re looking to make a lot of coffee at once. However, it is perfect for making a single cup of coffee to enjoy on your own.

Keep in mind that the AeroPress was made to be portable, so it’s easy to take with you when you’re traveling.

5. Water Temperature

AeroPress and Chemex water temperature

The water temperature is also a major factor in the taste of your coffee. AeroPress requires a lower water temperature than Chemex, so the coffee will be less bitter.

For AeroPress, you need to use water that’s between 175 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Chemex coffee tastes best when brewed with water between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

Important: Try to use filtered water for both methods, as this will make a big difference in the taste of your coffee.

6. Ease of Use

When it comes to ease of use, both Chemex and AeroPress have their pros and cons.

Chemex is a bit more difficult to use because you have to be careful not to over-brew the coffee. This can make the coffee taste bitter.

The process is also a bit more time-consuming since you have to wait for the water to boil and then let it cool to the proper temperature before brewing.

AeroPress is much easier to use because there’s no risk of over-brewing the coffee. The entire process only takes a minute or two so it’s perfect for busy mornings.

The only downside is that it can be a bit messy. Coffee grounds can end up everywhere if you’re not careful.

7. Price

Brewing coffee at home is cheaper than buying coffee at a café, no matter which method you use.

Chemex coffee makers are a bit more expensive than AeroPress coffee makers. A Chemex starts at around $42.01, while an AeroPress coffee maker costs $39.95.

The Chemex filters are also more expensive, starting at $10 for a box of 100 filters, while for AeroPress you’ll pay $7.95 for a box of 350 filters.

The other Chemex models (6-cup, 8-cup, and 10-cup) cost between $46 and $60. So, if you want to save some money, AeroPress is the winner.

Note: The prices will vary from store to store, so be sure to compare prices before you buy. You can check the latest prices for both Chemex and AeroPress coffee makers on Amazon.

8. Cleaning

Cleaning your coffee maker will help to ensure that your coffee tastes great and that your equipment lasts a long time. Depending on the type of coffee maker you have, cleaning may be as simple as running water through it after each use.

If you have an AeroPress coffee maker, cleaning is a breeze. All you need to do is remove the plunger and rinse the chamber with warm water. You can also use a small brush to clean the rubber seal if necessary.

To clean a Chemex coffee maker, you will need to remove the filter and rinse the carafe with warm water. You may also need to use some vinegar to remove any smells or build-up inside the carafe.

So in terms of cleaning, both the AeroPress and Chemex are pretty easy to manage. But the winner is definitely the Chemex!

9. Skill Level

If you are a complete beginner when it comes to making coffee, you might want to stick to a simpler coffee maker like the AeroPress. The AeroPress is very easy to use and you can get great results even if you don’t have a lot of experience.

The Chemex is more of an advanced coffee maker and it might be a bit more difficult to get the perfect cup of coffee if you are just starting out. However, once you get the hang of it, you will be able to make some really amazing coffee with it!

Ultimately, if you are starting out, I recommend AeroPress. However, if you want to try something more advanced, the Chemex is definitely worth a shot!

What is The Coffee to Water Ratio For Chemex?

The coffee to water ratio for Chemex is 1:15. This means that for every 1 gram of coffee, you’ll want 15 ml of water. That might seem like a lot of water, but it’s necessary to evenly extract all the delicious coffee oils and flavors from your grounds. 

If you want to make 1 cup of coffee use 200 ml of water and 13 grams (13,333) of coffee. If you want to make 2 cups, use 400 ml of water and 26 grams of coffee. And so on…

Last Thoughts

So, which coffee maker reigned supreme in our showdown? Ultimately, AeroPress edged out the Chemex by a narrow margin. Both brewers produced delicious cups of coffee, but AeroPress’s simplicity and portability make it the better choice for most people.

Of course, this is just my opinion – you might prefer the Chemex for its elegant design or its ability to make larger batches of coffee. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which coffee maker is right for you!

Do you have an AeroPress or Chemex coffee maker? What do you think of it? Let me know!

Happy brewing!

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Evelina

Evelina’s passion for coffee could never been hidden. Having worked as a barista, she learned the true value of the coffee bean and its secrets. As she continued to evolve as a barista, so did her knowledge, techniques on making different coffee blends and most importantly how to operate every kind of gear when it comes to coffee. Having a degree in biomedicine and being a barista, allows her to provide our community with in-depth knowledge surrounding the topics of coffee.