If you’re in the market for a pour over coffee brewer, you may be considering the Chemex.
This unique brewer has a cult following and is known for its clean taste and beautiful design. But what are the pros and cons of the Chemex?
Let’s take a look, so you can make an easy decision if you like the brewer or not. No longer will you have to search the web to find out about a Chemex.
Are you ready to learn all about it? Grab a cup of coffee and start reading away!
The pros and cons of a Chemex
Down below, I’ll go over the pros and cons of a Chemex. I’ve listed quite a few pros for it, as I really like to brew coffee with it. However, there are many cons that I’d like to touch on as well.
You can have a quick glance below before moving on to an in-depth look at all the pros and cons:
- Clean tasting coffee
- Filter options
- Finer grind size
- Thick coffee filter
- Glass design
- Learning curve
At the end of the article, I’ll give you my conclusion and my thoughts on whether or not this is a coffee brewer that I’d recommend.
The pros of Chemex coffee
The pros of a Chemex are essential, as this will help you decide whether or not the coffee brewer is something you’re interested in.
Down below, I’ll go over three pros that I wanted to share with you. After that, I’ll go over the cons to the Chemex.
Pro 1: Capacity
The capacity of this brewer is a huge pro. You can buy up to a 10 cups version of this version.
The amount of coffee you can brew with that thing is insane! I use an 8 cups version of the Chemex at home, and it works amazing.
You can brew so much coffee at once. It works great if you’ve got family or friends coming over or when you’ve got a big family yourself.
Pro 2: Super clean tasting coffee
The taste of Chemex coffee is superb. The coffee taste really is something else. It tastes so different from the Hario V60 coffee, while this is also a pour over coffee brewer.
Because of the thick filter used, the coffee that comes out tastes super clean and balanced.
Many coffee enthusiasts (myself included) like to use the Chemex to brew coffee with light roasted coffee beans. These coffee beans have to be brewed with this technique to get that amazing and full flavor profile.
But most of the time, medium roasted coffee beans are used. Medium roasted coffee beans look like this:
The filters take away any coffee beans’ inconsistencies and leave behind the undiscovered coffee flavors. You can only find these coffee flavors because of the coffee filters. It’s amazing.
To get the best flavor possible, make sure to rinse your paper filter before starting your brew. In this article, I’ll tell you about all reasons to do so.
Pro 3: Different filter options
As I’ve told you above, the filters are of a particular thickness. The coffee filter also has a weird sizing, and you need to be very specific when choosing your coffee filters.
I suggest using the original coffee filters that most people use. These coffee filters are made of paper and look like this when folded open:
The coffee filters are folded to get a triple-stacked part that goes into the side of the pouring spout. This way, the brewer will not vacuum while brewing. Unfolded, the coffee filter looks like this:
You can also opt for a reusable metal Chemex filter. This is great if you dislike using paper filters for each coffee brew. I suggest checking out the reusable filter if you don’t want to keep buying paper coffee filters.
Did you know the Chemex filters come in different shapes as well? There’s a circle version (from the photos above) and a square version. You can find more information about the differences here.
The cons of Chemex coffee
I have quite a few cons of the Chemex. Most of them have to do with the brewing part of the, but also the design. It is of utmost importance to consider these cons when you are still on the fence about this coffee brewer.
Con 1: Needs a fine coffee grind size
Pour over coffee uses a fine coffee grind size. As this article is all about a pour over coffee brewer, I’ll tell you a bit about the specific grind size required for Chemex coffee brewing.
The coffee grind size for the brewing of the coffee looks like this:
As you can see, there are not many huge chunks of coffee to be found in this grind size. And because it is such a fine grind size, the amount of time it takes to grind a cup’s worth of coffee is quite long.
Most of the time, when brewing just one cup of coffee, it will take me up to two minutes to grind those coffee beans. I use a manual coffee grinder for the brewing of only one cup of coffee.
Of course, if you’re using an electric coffee grinder, you’ll be done in just a few seconds.
Imagine you’re camping and you want to brew some coffee. You get your coffee brewer and coffee grinder and start grinding those coffee beans.
It will take you quite a while to finally start brewing the coffee you crave so much.
However, brewing delicious coffee takes time, and the coffee will taste even better when you’ve taken the necessary time.
Con 2: Thick coffee filter
This coffee brewer uses a thick filter that is either a con or a pro for most people. For me, the thick coffee filter is a con, as it leaves less flavored coffee to enjoy.
The thick coffee filter eliminates most of the coffee beans’ inconsistencies and will leave you with a super clean-tasting coffee. This is why I mentioned the coffee flavor as a pro as well.
However, if you like coffee with a more full-bodied and tasteful flavor profile, you’ll have a hard time enjoying this coffee.
The coffee flavor differs from French press coffee or coffee made with the AeroPress or Moka pot.
These coffee brewers all produce more robust tasting coffee, which might suit you better depending on your flavor preference.
Con 3: Glass design
The glass design of a Chemex has many downsides. Although it looks stunning, it is the most breakable coffee brewer to date.
I use the kind with a wooden collar and a leather string to keep it together, but there are also full glass versions that come with a handle to make the pouring of your coffee a tat easier. The coffee brewer I use looks like this:
The glass design Chemex and the one that I own are super fragile. You risk breaking it by hitting it with a cleaning brush or banging it against your kitchen counter.
For me, the fragile design is a massive con as it is less durable than other coffee brewers out there. For example, you can buy a Hario V60 in a full plastic design; and you’ll have trouble breaking it.
Con 4: Learning curve
This con is perhaps the biggest of them all; it takes time to learn how to brew good coffee with a Chemex. You have to master the coffee grind size, the water temperature is important, and the right use of the filter is a must.
The first few attempts that I made to brew coffee with a Chemex went wrong. The coffee came out either under or over-extracted.
Because this coffee brewer requires such a specific coffee grind size, this was my pitfall. Most of the time, I used the right amount of water, and it also had the right temperature.
However, if you give yourself some time to learn, you’ll most likely love to brew coffee with it from then on. The great part about Your Dream Coffee is that you are never done learning great stuff about coffee.
If you’re interested in learning to brew coffee with the Chemex, you can find a complete guide to it here.
Con 5: Cleaning of a Chemex
This coffee brewer has an hourglass design that looks clean and elegant in your kitchen or anywhere you’d like to put it.
Although the design looks impressive, you’ll have trouble cleaning the Chemex perfectly because of it.
If you ask me, the Chemex’s neck and the little pouring spout are the toughest to clean.
You can, however, easily clean the bottom half by using a little hot water and soap and swirling it around in there. I usually let it dry on a clean kitchen towel, once clean:
Moreover, the top part is where the filter and the coffee chill out before pouring in the bottom half. All the coffee oils and stuff you don’t want are left inside the filter and ultimately on the inside of the brewer.
So, it can take quite a while to get your Chemex brand-new looking. But if you use the right cleaning techniques, you’ll get there. I’ve written an article about 5 ways to clean a Chemex, which you can check out if you’re interested.
After writing this article and having owned the brewer for quite a while now, I can say that I do recommend buying a Chemex for yourself.
It will produce excellent coffee that almost everyone will enjoy. The coffee taste is a friend of all.
But, the learning curve and the specific grind size combined with the right water temperature can discourage some people from buying a Chemex.
If you feel like you want to learn to brew with this brewer, it is a buy for sure. It will take some time getting used to, but after that, you’ll brew amazing coffee over and over again.
Have you brewed coffee with this coffee brewer before? Let me know by leaving a comment down below. If you have any other questions regarding coffee, you can also contact me directly by pressing the “Contact Me” button at the top!