The first sip of a truly bold and intense cup of coffee can be a significant part of your morning routine. If you enjoy a stronger cup, the Aeropress and the Chemex both produce a coffee with a big flavor.
While they have some similarities and differences, when looking at Chemex vs Aeropress coffee makers, they may be a bit of a mystery to you. Let’s break down these two brewers so that you can learn all that they have to offer!
Chemex or Aeropress
Both Chemex and Aeropress are known for producing delicious coffee, but you may be wondering which is the right fit for you. Regardless of your choice, the Aeropress vs Chemex, the coffee you make will be delicious and full of flavor.
The Chemex is a type of pour-over, glass, coffee maker. It was invented in 1941 by Peter Shlumbohm. The Chemex is funnel-shaped and uses specialty filters to ensure a clean cup of coffee.
It produces a balanced and smooth cup of flavorful coffee that can be poured right from the vessel itself.
The Aeropress was invented in the early 2000s by Alan Adler and was inspired by a syringe. The Aeropress brews quickly, in as little as 30 seconds, and uses a plunger mechanism similar to a French Press to separate the grounds from the water.
The resulting coffee is strong and bold in flavor, similar to espresso.
How Are They Made?
Coffee made in the Chemex starts with folding a specialized filter and placing it on the top of the device. Hot water is then poured over the filter, a process called “rinsing.” The excess water is removed and this will eliminate any paper taste.
Grounds are then placed in the filter and hot water is poured in a circular motion over the top of the grounds. A gooseneck kettle is best for this.
The water then makes its way through the coffee and filter, brewing into coffee, and dripping down to the reservoir below.
The Aeropress also has specialty filters. A filter is placed into the detachable cap and hot water is poured over the filter. As with the Chemex, it helps remove any existing taste, but it also helps the filter adhere to the cap.
Next coffee grounds are added to the ring-shaped gutter at the top of the Aeropress and hot water is added at a ratio of 2:1 water to grounds.
The mixture then sits for 30 seconds before more hot water is added to fill the rest of the chamber. The mixture is then stirred 10 times to agitate it.
Finally, the cap is attached and the Aeropress is flipped over and the plunger is pushed, separating the grounds from the water.
What Are They Made of?
The Chemex is made of one singular glass piece. It resembles two funnels attached together. The top serves to hold the grounds and filter and the bottom is where the coffee drips into.
Most Chemex also has a wooden collar around the center, this allows the user to comfortably pick it up without touching the hot glass.
The Aeropress is made of a clear cylindrical chamber and a plunger with an airtight seal made of silicone. There is also a filter cap to hold the filters in place.
The Aeropress does come with several accessories, though they are not essential to the coffee-making process. The main components are made of translucent plastic.
How Are They Similar?
The Aeropress and Chemex have a lot in common. Both the Aeropress and the Chemex produce a strong, smooth, and flavorful coffee. They both use specialty filters that result in a “clean” cup, meaning reduced coffee granules.
While the Chemex is made of glass, it is still relatively easy to transport, making both of these easy to pack on a vacation or trip.
Finally, both are meant to produce small batches of coffee and both are customizable when the ratio of coffee to water is altered.
Cost, Caffeine, Brew Time, and Flavor Comparison
- Cost: $45-$60
- Coffee grind: Medium coarseness
- Caffeine: 80 mg per 8 oz
- Brew Time: 4 minutes 30 seconds
- Flavor and Taste: Balanced, flavor forward, smooth
- Cost: $35-$45
- Coffee grind: Medium-Fine coarseness
- Caffeine: 110 mg per 8 oz
- Brew Time: 30 seconds
- Flavor and Taste: Intense, clean, espresso-like
While Chemex and Aeropress coffee have many similarities, there are distinct differences that you may want to consider when deciding which is right for you.
The Chemex uses a medium-grind coffee and a specialty filter. The method of pouring the water over results in a balanced and flavorful cup of coffee that is very smooth.
The Chemex itself costs between $45 and $60 depending on the size and materials used to make it. It has a relatively quick brew time of 4 minutes and 30 seconds, though this could be slightly longer or shorter.
The coffee produced has a caffeine ratio of 80 mg per 8 oz. The Chemex is made of glass, with a wooden or rubber collar around the outside. It is one singular piece.
The Aeropress brews coffee much quicker, in under 30 seconds, and produces a coffee that tastes almost identical to espresso. It is an intense flavor that is bold and has some bitter notes. Due to the filter, the coffee is very clean.
The Aeropress costs between $35 and $40 and the coffee produced have a caffeine ratio of 110 mg per 8 oz. The Aeropress is primarily made of plastic. It contains more than one piece, but they do all next together for traveling purposes.
How To Drink Chemex vs Aeropress:
The Aeropress produces an espresso-like coffee, and therefore you may wish to enjoy it as you would espresso, in a singular small cup.
You could of course also add cream or sweetener to it to suit your tastes and it also makes a great base for coffee house beverages where espresso would traditionally be used.
You can make a great Caffe Mocha at home using the Aeropress.
- 6 oz Aeropress coffee
- 2 oz steamed milk
- 1 oz chocolate syrup
- Chocolate sauce to taste
In the bottom of a mug add one oz of chocolate syrup and pour 6 oz of Aeropress coffee over it. Swirl the mug to mix. Steam milk (or milk alternative) of your choice and using a spoon to hold back the foam, pour the milk directly into the coffee mixture.
Finally, use the spoon to add the foam to the top of the beverage and drizzle chocolate sauce to taste.
Chemex coffee can be enjoyed anyway you choose, though many like to enjoy it with a traditional cream or milk and sweetener. You can also use your Chemex to make iced coffee right in the basin!
Chemex Iced Coffee
- 1 Cup Iced Cubes
- Medium coarse coffee
- Hot water
For this recipe, you will prepare your coffee as you normally would in a Chemex, but you will not “rinse” the filter.
Instead, add ice into the base of the Chemex, add your filter and coffee, and pour all of your hot water over in one motion. As the coffee drips into the base with the ice, swirl to chill. When brewed, pour into a glass with fresh ice and enjoy!
Since coffee made in the Chemex uses a drip process, a great alternative is a standard drip coffee maker. This is an especially good choice if you want to make coffee for a crowd, as the Chemex is meant for smaller batches.
Another great alternative is the V60. The V60 is a pour-over coffee maker. Unlike the Chemex it only has the funnel, there is no base, so you brew directly into the mug.
The Aeropress has some great alternatives as well. If you enjoy the concept of the plunger, a French Press has a similar way of separating the grounds, but the coffee will be less intense and more oily.
If you like the intensity, a stovetop Mokapot is a great choice, it uses pressure and steam to produce a similar-tasting strong coffee.
Chemex Vs Aeropress – FAQs
Which came first?
The Chemex preceded the Aeropress by about 60 years. The Chemex was developed in the 1940s and the Aeropress came to market in the 2000s. Both utilize coffee methods that have been around for much longer than the actual apparatus.
Which is stronger?
While both produce a strong-tasting coffee, the Aeropress produces a flavor closer to espresso and has slightly more caffeine with 110 mg per 8 oz.
Which is the most popular?
While both of these methods are gaining popularity, Chemex is more recognized globally, in part because it has been on the market longer. Though the Aeropress is gaining popularity in the United States.