Why is Chemex Different Than Other Pour Over Coffee Drippers?

chemex1Pour overs.

Are you are new to the world of the pour over?

Perhaps you are one of those crazy veterans waiting that extra amount of time at your local coffee shop for your morning elixir?

Deciding which device is right for your home coffee brewing can be confusing.

You may ask yourself the question, should I buy a Chemex?

The most important thing to consider is consistency (And quality coffee of course).

Being able to recreate the same great tasting cup is essential to the at-home coffee crafter and people that brew with Chemex pour overs tend to achieve the same results over and over with less effort.

Its design and simplicity enable it to stand far above the rest of the competition… and even within the world of Chemex all of the various sizes and styles (with collar, without, with handle, without) perform about the same mostly due to it’s funnel shape and unique filter.

Designed by a chemist in 1941, hence the name Chem-ex. It produces extraordinary extractions while keeping variables to a minimum and allowing you to recreate that perfect cup every time.

Coffee is, in fact, part chemistry and part passion, and the Chemex marries these two elements well.

The ability to consistently make the same cup of coffee and not having to remember exactly what you did the last time is the beauty of this design.

How does it do this?

It’s All About The Filter

chemx filter vs pour over filterChemex filters are heavier and thicker.

It is one of the main reasons why the Chemex stands above the competition and has done so for many years. Other filters like the ones used in the Hario V60 allow the oils to filter through while the Chemex removes the oils entirely.

Both the Chemex and V60 are included on my best pour-over coffee maker list however because many people actually want those oils!

It all depends on your preference, if you prefer no oils, the Chemex is your brewer.

The filter is also sturdy enough as not to tear when you remove the wet filter filled with the coffee grounds.

This is an added bonus as other brewers that brew over your cup are simply removed entirely without this being an issue. The design of the Chemex requires the filter to rest in the conical neck of the carafe.

The filters are available in a wide variety of options from pre-folded circles and squares to the unfolded half moon depending on your preference.

And finally, there is the issue of sediment:

There is nothing worse than getting to the end of your cup and seeing the sludge left behind from the smaller coffee grounds that escaped your filter.

The Chemex filter eliminates the sediment so that you can enjoy the pure liquid gold that makes up a delightful cup of coffee.

Set It And Forget It (Almost)

The thickness of the double bonded filter also allows for the coffee to steep for the proper amount of time.

Producing a good quality infusion yields a richer flavor.

While other pour over drippers require a rhythm to the pour of water to control the flow of the coffee through the filter, the Chemex filter controls the flow.

There are plenty of YouTube videos and blog posts that explain the best way to pour the water into the filter.

But the reality is, as long as you let the coffee bloom with the first addition of water, after that, it really is about pouring the right amount of water into the brewer.

Simply weigh your coffee and measure your water to the right proportions and you can let the Chemex do the rest.

Make sure that you grind your coffee fresh to the right consistency:

If you grind too fine, it will take too long to filter through and clog it the filter.

Too coarse of a grind and it will yield a weaker brew.

With a little experimentation on your part, you can create a consistent brewing process that you can recreate every time.

For a general rule of thumb, a medium coarse grind or automatic machine grind is what is recommended.

This allows you to extract as much of the true flavors of the coffee as possible.

This process is paramount when you are enjoying our single origin coffees, as each one offers different flavors of origin, highlighting the climate, soil, and latitude where it is produced.

It’s About Control

The simplicity of the brewer and its filter allow you to experiment with grind consistency, water temperature, pour techniques and coffee varieties.

It is a simple piece of equipment that allows you to have the control you want but is easy enough for those that aren’t as scientifically inclined to master.

An All In One Brewer

Why is the Chemex different than other pour over drippers? Not only is it a pour over dripper but it is also a carafe as well as a server all in one piece of equipment.

All other drippers either brew directly into a cup or a carafe that is purchased separately.

Art, Form, and Function

Made from a single piece of borosilicate glass coupled with a wooden collar, it is a beautiful addition to your home that lends both functionality and visual elegance.

Borosilicate glass is the same heat-resistant glass used in laboratory equipment that allows you to put it directly on a low burning gas flame and does not impart any flavor of its own.

However, its glass construction does make it more fragile and not the best option if you have kids, fumbling fingers or want to use it while traveling.

In addition to being a powerhouse of function, it is also aesthetically pleasing to the eye and allows you to see the entire coffee brewing process unfold before your eyes.

It is a pleasure to find something so engaging to all of our senses, with the at-home production of your coffee.

The Chemex allows you to see, hear, smell, touch, and ultimately taste the highest art of coffee brewing.

It is also the only coffee maker that is on permanent display at the New York City Museum of Modern Art.

Additionally, it features a pour spout so that you can easily dispense your home brewed creation without spilling or dripping down the sides of the carafe.

Some models even incorporate a glass handle to make it more convenient to pour.

When you need to clean it, just untie the leather tie and remove the wooden collar. The carafe can be hand washed or put in the dishwasher. We recommend a quick wash with hot soapy water and a good rinse directly after use.

Three’s a Crowd But Not For The Chemex

Available in three, six, eight, and ten cup variations, the larger sizes allow you to brew a pot of pour over coffee without having to change the filter out or buy a separate carafe to brew into.

This is a definite advantage over other brewers and allows you the privilege of sharing excellent pour over coffee elegantly to a group of friends or family.

Coffee On The Rocks

If you enjoy iced coffee, the Chemex is the perfect tool as the purity of its brew allows you to cover and refrigerate freshly brewed coffee without losing the flavor profile, allowing it to be enjoyed at a later time.

It can also be reheated later.

Wait, did I say reheat later?

The coffee brewed in the Chemex has a wonderful pure taste that lasts.

You can indeed enjoy your coffee your way with this simple piece of equipment, (dare I say art) for a little over $40 for the 6 cup model.

In The End

Despite a market awash in alternatives, we at Gathering Grounds believe that the Chemex stands a bit higher than all the rest because of its versatility.

Chemex has stood the test of time serving as an unwavering beacon of dependability, craftsmanship, and simplicity.

When you endeavor to undertake brewing gourmet coffee at its finest, look no further than the Chemex coffee maker.

And while it isn’t as convenient as your automatic drip coffee maker, it certainly looks more stylish on your counter.

We sell some other less expensive options that still make a good cup of coffee such as the Hario V-60 or the Clever Coffee Dripper. Click here to see our other recommendations that we sell.

For more in-depth information and how to brew in the Chemex, please read our full Chemex review.

Is Chemex Coffee the Same as Pour Over Coffee? What’s the Difference?

Some of you may have heard of, and are curious about, what Chemex coffee is and how it might be an alternative to your current coffee choice. This article will be covering pour over coffee and Chemex coffee.

Some people compare Chemex coffee to pour over coffee and say that Chemex coffee is simply pour over with a slightly thicker filter. That statement is not entirely wrong. The two methods are quite similar and the filter is the main difference. However, Chemex coffee is still quite unique in its own right and is different enough from pour over coffee to make a significant difference in taste.

If we want to know about these two methods, we first need to go over their differences and then have a look at each method individually.

How Is Chemex Different From Pour Over Coffee?

chemex-coffee-brewerSo, there are a few differences and some reasons to choose Chemex over pour over

  • Chemex Coffeemakers were invented/improvised from a chemistry flask. Every step of the process is done in the Chemex brewer, rather than having a separate server and carafe.
  • It is essentially an improved pour over coffee maker. Where a pour over coffee maker can leave a plastic taste behind, which may make the coffee unbearable for some people, a Chemex Coffeemaker is made of pure glass so there is no taste left behind.
  • The Chemex filters are significantly thicker than normal coffee filters. While it is not necessarily a special filter, it is a higher grade filter.

For the most part, you’ll get a much smoother taste from Chemex coffee because of the thicker filter. Not everyone will enjoy the taste, though, so it’s all a bit of a preference thing.

Is Pour Over Coffee better than Chemex Coffee?

For the most part, I would have to say no. Although preference in taste can make a bit of a difference, most pour over coffee makers have plastic in them that leaves a taste behind that isn’t present when you use a Chemex coffee maker. Now I will say that pour over coffee is already better than automatic coffee, so even if you don’t choose Chemex coffee I would still recommend getting a pour over kettle at least.

Most manual methods of making coffee are better than using drip coffee, as manual methods offer more versatility and choice when making your coffee. The kettles for pour over coffee can get somewhat expensive, so it may not be a feasible choice for everyone.

Pour over coffee is a method created by Japanese people to have a unique way of making coffee. One thing you should know about this special style of Japanese coffee is that it isn’t something you can just pour and go. It requires a special kind of kettle, a certain kind of carafe, and good beans. This particular method of making coffee requires a lot of patience as it is one of the most time-consuming methods of brewing coffee.

The method uses a narrow spout to produce an even, steady stream of water – instead of flooding the filter and letting it drip, you deliver a continuous, measured amount of water over a period of several minutes. This method may seem to be a bit tedious and annoying to take so much time to brew the coffee, but it is well worth the wait.

The resulting coffee tastes different than most other methods of making coffee you can find. The flavor can be sweet and bright, something quite distinct in coffee. It is rare to have coffee that tastes as unique as this method, so I really think this method of coffee making is worth all the time it consumes.

Chemex coffee does not stray all that much from these steps. You largely follow the same instructions to make it.

If you are looking into using this method, I would take a look at some grinders, as grinding your own coffee beans for this can make it all the more personal. I would also recommend this for Chemex coffee for the same reason. Not to mention that Chemex requires a specific grind level to get perfect coffee.

Now if you’re looking into getting a pour over coffee kettle, there are several you can find, but I would personally recommend this Stagg pour over kettle.

Now let’s take a look at the Chemex coffee brewing method.

Is Chemex Coffee better than Pour Over Coffee?

pour-over-coffee-vs-chemexChemex coffee is one of the only methods that provide a nearly completely clean cup of coffee, far more so than any other method. Personally, I enjoy having the oils and such in my coffee, but I would say this method of making coffee is much better than using pour over coffee.

Brewing Chemex coffee is somewhat different than pour over coffee. Because of the thicker filter, the Chemex Coffeemakers require a specific grind level. although you can experiment with different grind levels, as some may take longer or go quicker, depending on whether it is thicker of finer.The grind of your coffee needs to be quite fine, more so than that of French Press, but not so much that the grind looks like sand. This part is very important, as it prevents the coffee from pouring through too fast, and not coming through at all.

As with most brewing methods, the ratio of the coffee depends on the desired taste you want from your coffee. Typically, a 1:10 or 1:15 ratio will be about average (Coffee per Gram to Water Per 10Ml).

Chemex coffee has a bit of an interesting backstory to it. It was created by a scientist, hence why the Chemex Coffeemaker looks like a chemistry flask. Peter Schlumbohm, a German chemist and inventor, designed this coffee maker back in 1941. He had over 3000 patents, but this was arguably his most popular invention. It did not, as many believe, come out of the Third Wave Brewing Movement.

Most aspects of using this method can be experimented with to change the outcome. However, the recommended temperature is around 90-98 degrees Celcius, the filters are typically 30% heavier than an average filter, and brewing Chemex coffee will, on average, only take about 3 to 5 minutes.

So, overall, I would say that using a Chemex Coffeemaker could be a much better alternative to regular pour over coffee, as it is quite a unique method and provides cleaner coffee.

So Chemex or Pour Over Coffee?

I would say it really falls down onto preference. For the most part, a Chemex is designed to use heavier filters and give cleaner coffee, but you can use the same method to make regular pour over coffee.

Chemex Coffeemakers can be more expensive than a typical pour over coffee, so you may choose pour over to save some money, although the price difference is quite low.

Either way will do you just fine, but if you are looking for a way to get cleaner coffee, I would recommend looking at Chemex Coffeemakers.

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

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