With enough practice and skill, making your own coffee at home can taste leagues better than buying one from a coffee shop. You get to choose your own roasts and brew it exactly the way you like – and often in less time than it takes to wait in line at Starbucks. Plus, it works out to be anywhere from ten to fifty times cheaper.
But which brewing method is best for producing superior-tasting coffee? We’re going to compare two common methods – the pour over and Chemex – to find out.
Overview: Pour Over VS Chemex
The pour over is a classic, time-tested method that helps you extract bold and smooth flavors from any coffee grind. You basically fill a filter or cone with your coffee grounds, place it over a cup, then slowly pour hot water over the coffee. The most popular pour over models are the Hario V60 and the Kalita Wave.
The Chemex functions much like a pour over, except with a few key differences that produce an entirely distinct taste. It’s both filter and carafe in one and can hold up to three to 10 cups of coffee. The Chemex’s biggest secret, however? Its special, extra-thick bonded filters that can extract the flavor of any roast.
Product Material & Design
Depending on the brand and model, you can get pour overs in plastic, ceramic, stainless steel, or glass. These are usually quite compact and are easy to bring around when traveling. Pour overs can come in a cone or flat-bottom styles.
The Chemex has a beautiful, iconic design that has found its way into the permanent gallery of the Museum of Modern Art. Its main body is made entirely out of glass, which makes it incredibly sturdy but also not very portable.
You can brew coffee with a pour-over in 3-5 minutes, depending on the design and material.
Because the filters are much thicker, the coffee drips into the cup at a much slower pace at about five or six minutes.
Winner: Pour Over
Ease of Use
Pour overs require you to be pretty involved in the process to maximize your coffee’s finish and flavor, but it’s relatively easy with enough practice. Most pour overs can make 1-2 cups per brew, so while it’s great for small households, it’s a poor choice for large-batch brewing.
Chemex filters need to be pre-soaked prior to use because of their thickness, but they can make anywhere from 3 to 10 cups of coffee per batch. The process is quite similar to regular pour overs otherwise.
Taste & Quality of Brew
You can basically customize the taste of your coffee if you experiment with brewing times, temperatures, pouring styles, and brewing accessories. Pour over coffees taste smooth and light, and are perfect for roasts with very distinct tastes.
Longer brewing times means that Chemex coffees are cleaner, richer, and better able to highlight subtle notes.
The Final Verdict
Ultimately, the best kind of brewing method boils down to you. Each method produces an entirely different-tasting coffee, so choose the method that works with your personal tastes and preferences.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.