Coffee has evolved. Gone are the days when the countertop coffee machine drips average coffee into the large pot.
Even single-cup machines, the most popular being Keurig, are going out of style.
Now, there are so many options for the expert brewer, and coffee lovers are demanding a better brew.
Two of the most popular machines on the market right now are the AeroPress and the Chemex. But which one is right for you?
In this article, I’ll give you an in-depth comparison and highlight the features of each one.
By the end, I guarantee you’ll be able to make an informed decision.
It’s AeroPress Vs Chemex time. Let’s get to it!
What Is The AeroPress?
Before we can compare and contrast the features of each, let’s look at how each of these coffeemakers work.
The AeroPress works by simplifying the science of espresso.
You make espresso by exerting lots of pressure on water as it passes through grounds.
Of course, this is an oversimplification. But who wants an advanced physics lesson right now?
In contrast, a variety of electric coffee makers use gravity to pass hot water through grounds.
The AeroPress uses hand pressure by using a plunger to force the hot water through the grounds.
The process couldn’t be simpler:
- you put the filter in the cap,
- twist the cap onto the chamber (a cylindrical tube),
- put the chamber over your mug or cup,
- add your ground coffee,
- add your water,
- put the plunger on top through the chamber and press gently.
It only requires the pressure of one hand, and voila! Your perfect cup of coffee is ready in about a minute.
What’s So Special About Chemex? Is it Hard to Use?
The Chemex has been around a lot longer than the AeroPress, since 1941. This advanced coffee maker is made out of glass.
It has a sleek hourglass shape with a wood collar that you can leave out on the countertop.
It’s so beautiful, in fact, that it has a home in the Corning Museum of Glass in New York.
The hourglass design isn’t about looks, though. It’s part of the science behind the amazing coffee it produces.
It’s also why some other modern coffee makers have copied the Chemex design.
To make coffee with the Chemex:
- insert a filter (according to instructions) into the Chemex,
- add grounds to the filter,
- pour the appropriate amount of water over the grounds,
- toss out the filter, and
- enjoy your perfect cup of coffee.
To get a more in-depth look at how to use a Chemex, watch this video:
It takes a bit longer than the AeroPress because of the slow pour. But we’re talking a difference of seconds, not minutes.
The main thing that makes Chemex unique, besides its method (which is essentially drip coffee with more control and care), is its filter.
It’s 30% thicker than normal coffee filters. That means that it filters out even more of the “stuff” that adversely impacts the taste of coffee.
That said, buying the right filters is going to be very important to getting the most out of your Chemex.
AeroPress Vs Chemex – What Kind of Coffee Can They Make?
The AeroPress is very versatile. It can make regular hot coffee (drip), cold brew, and espresso-style.
The Chemex can also make iced coffee. Although you’ll still need hot water for the brewing and actual ice in the body of the Chemex.
You can also make espresso-style. You use an espresso grind and less water.
What Do You Need to Work Them?
This is an important question if you plan to take your beloved coffee maker on the go.
Particularly if you plan to take it camping. Lots of outdoors-men and women like their coffee models to come with them on the trail.
The AeroPress doesn’t need electricity.
If you want to make hot coffee or espresso-style, you’ll need a way to heat your water.
But if cold brew is fine with you, you don’t need anything but a mug or cup.
The Chemex is like the AeroPress in that you don’t need anything but hot water and a filter to work it.
But, given that it’s made of glass, it doesn’t travel well (even though it is thick, durable glass).
That said, the Chemex is much more visually appealing, so storing it in plain sight is more palatable.
Its glass might also be more durable in the long-term than the plastic AeroPress.
AeroPress Vs Chemex – Environmental Concerns
What kind of impact do these coffee makers have on the environment?
Great question! A lot of us are trying to reduce the footprint we make on the earth.
The AeroPress requires disposable, one-time-use filters.
Which Chemex filter is best?
The Chemex uses paper filters, but you can also buy a reusable Chemex filter.
Although you want to make sure it has the same filtering degree as the disposable ones. That’s part of what makes Chemex unique.
In the end, it’s best to buy your filters from Chemex because the filters are such an important part of the process.
Another added environmental bonus of the Chemex is that it’s plastic-free.
Many people work hard to reduce plastic in their lives, even reusable plastic. If that’s your thing, Chemex fits the bill.
No matter where or when you’ll use your new coffeemaker, I doubt you’re looking to do a lot of clean-up.
The AeroPress is very easy to clean.
You only need to rinse each of the parts. No soap required.
Sometimes, you may want to take the end of the plunger off and clean it.
And the chamber may need a deeper clean every once in a while. But other than that, it needs minimal maintenance.
In some ways, the Chemex is easier to clean, since it’s only one piece after you discard the filter.
Remove the wooden collar and wash with soap and water, or you can put it in the dishwasher.
How Much Will They Set Me Back?
The AeroPress retails for about $30. But they can run a bit more depending on if you buy a model that comes with accessories or a carry case.
Also, you’ll need to keep buying disposable filters, which aren’t that expensive. When bought from AeroPress, they cost about $5 for 250 filters.
The Chemex isn’t much more expensive. The standard three-cup model retails for just under $40.
The filters are pricier, though. Most retail for just under $10 for 100 filters.
Neither AeroPress or Chemex sell reusable filters on their websites. But they are available from other retailers, including Amazon.
For the AeroPress, they start at around $10. But given that this isn’t an item you want to skimp on, the better models run around $20 to $25.
A good reusable filter for Chemex is more expensive, around $30.
AeroPress Vs Chemex – Which One Makes the Better Cup of Coffee?
This is what you came here for in the first place, isn’t it?
With the AeroPress, you get a delicious, smooth cup of coffee. It boasts low acidity and guarantees no grit (a common complaint among French press users).
The Chemex isn’t much different in those regards, actually.
Chemex coffee is also free from grit and has low acidity, due to its extra-thick filter.
The filter also removes other properties such as oils, giving the coffee a pure taste.
That said, some people like the depth those oils provide, in which case, the Chemex may not be their best choice.
As an added flavor bonus, you can refrigerate leftover coffee and drink it later. Either cold or reheated, it will keep its flavor.
Some people might notice a flavor difference because of the materials used.
Plastic does have the chance to impart added flavors to the coffee, making it less pure.
The AeroPress is made from plastic that’s completely BPA- and phthalate-free.
But some will still insist that nothing but glass can impart a clean, pure taste.
AeroPress Vs Chemex – Which One Should You Buy?
So which will it be? As you may have anticipated, the right coffee maker comes down to your needs.
Do you have an active lifestyle and want to take your coffee maker on the go with you?
Then AeroPress is the obvious choice.
It might also be better for coffee addicts in more chaotic settings, such as a house with kids or a college dorm.
Since it’s made of plastic, it won’t break as easily.
Homeowners who prefer elegance and a simple-looking design may favor the Chemex.
It makes a beautiful addition to any kitchen and is sure to impress guests.
If lifestyle isn’t enough to help you make up your mind, consider personality!
Are you an innovative, cutting edge individual who always knows about new technologies?
Do you impress your friends with the latest gadget?
If so, AeroPress may fit the bill better.
Or, do you prefer classic design and tried and true methods?
Would some call you a purist?
Is your home inviting yet elegant?
If so, then the Chemex would make a perfect addition to your sleek kitchen, not to mention lifestyle.
Have you tried both of these coffee makers? Did you have a different opinion about either of them?
Let me know in the comments below. Stay caffeinated!