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For coffee lovers and enthusiasts, choosing the best pour over brewing device is a detailed process. Each brewing method offers unique advantages and disadvantages that you must take into consideration before making a purchase decision.
Fortunately, there are certain coffee brewers that have proven their excellence over time and make the decision much easier. Here, we take a thorough look at Hario v60 vs Chemex.
These are classics that are well-respected in coffee circles and have a devoted following for good reason.
Both devices offer many benefits, such as producing great tasting coffee, ease of use, and an intriguing design.
With an increasing number of people becoming interested in specialty coffee and experimenting with different brewing methods, we put these two popular brewers on display to see how they compare.
Comparing the Differences of the Hario v60 vs Chemex Coffee Maker
The following are some of the major factors you should consider when deciding between these two brewers.
Flavor Comparison Between the Hario V60 and Chemex
The Chemex pour over coffee brewer provides a bright, delicious coffee, with a slight edge in clarity. It has a distinctively balanced taste when compared to other pour over coffee makers.
However, some find that the Hario v60 offers more complex flavors.
Those who like the full body and mouthfeel of French press coffee are more likely to prefer the coffee taste from Hario v60 coffee brewers.
Ease of Use / Cleaning
Both pour over coffee brewers are easy enough to use, but the Hario v60 is more finicky in getting all your variables just right to produce a great cup. Though, this allows you to explore a wider variety of flavors than you can with the Chemex.
One major difference that sets Chemex apart from the v60 is the size of the opening. Because of this larger opening, the Chemex is just more tolerant of coffee grind size and variations in pouring with your gooseneck kettle. Most Chemex users who have been using it for a while say that they can make their coffee without even thinking about it.
Both the Chemex and v60 are a breeze to clean up, but the bottom chamber of the Chemex will be a little more difficult to get at. You’ll want to use a bottle brush or similar to reach everything.
Brewing coffee on the Chemex takes a smidgen longer than with the V60. This is because of the thicker paper filters. For a general guideline, the V60 brewing time should ideally fall between 2 and 4 minutes. On the Chemex, the typical brew time will fall between 3 to 6 minutes. Depending, of course, upon the size of the brewers.
How Much Can I Brew at a Time?
If you want to brew multiple cups of coffee from a single batch, it’s easier on the Chemex. It can accommodate up to 10 cups (13 on the Handblown Series!), whereas the Hario v60 is only capable of 6 cups at most (Hario v60 size 03).
The Chemex just makes it easier to serve a crowd without having to brew multiple times.
The Chemex’s classic hourglass shape makes it the perfect addition to any kitchen decor. Its elegant and unique look will definitely get your guests talking.
The Hario v60 isn’t half bad either! With all the different options offered with it (like the copper and glass versions), the Hario v60 is sure to stand tall.
If you’re basing your decision solely on price alone, the Hario V60 will probably win this battle, depending on the version you choose. The plastic version is clearly going to be the cheapest route, both with its pros and cons.
Consider, though, that the Hario doesn’t come standard with a brewing decanter. So if you were to purchase the ceramic or glass model, you’re going to be right around the same price as the Chemex by the time you add your brew vessel (although you could just brew directly into your mug).
Which of the Two Is Most Durable?
The Chemex being glass and the Hario v60 (glass and ceramic versions) are all prone to breaking if not careful. Ceramic is more resistant to heat and thermal changes, and is typically stronger than glass of the same thickness.
The plastic Hario v60 is more durable than all of them, but is certainly not going to be bulletproof.
The difference in price between the three sizes is minor, and won’t be an issue for most individuals.
However, take the thermal mass of each material into consideration. This will affect your brewing temperature, and thus, your extraction.
In short, the plastic performs best in maintaining your water temperature, since it doesn’t absorb as much heat energy as the other materials do; specifically the ceramic and glass.
With those materials, you’ll definitely want to consider the capacity of your gooseneck kettle, because the preliminary step of saturating your filter and preheating your dripper will consume much of your water.
Which Size Hario v60 Should You Choose?
The size you choose will depend on your needs. The bigger the size, the more coffee you can brew at once.
If you’re only used to consuming one cup of coffee, then the small size (01) is probably best. However, if you’re more of a fiene and/or you want to make coffee for multiple people, then we always recommend the 02 or 03 Hario v60.
As a rule of thumb, the size 02 is suitable for just you and/or a mate, and the size 03 is good for serving three to four people.
Just remember that there are minimum brew capacities with each if your goal is proper extraction.
What Comes With The Hario V60?
You can purchase the v60 brewer by itself or in different bundles on Amazon. Here are some items that often come bundled with the Hario:
Hario V60 coffee server (decanter) w/ lid
Hario coffee measuring scoop
An assortment of disposable paper filters (sometimes bleached, sometimes natural)
How Much Does It Cost and Where To Buy?
You can purchase a Hario V60 from Amazon for anywhere from $11 – $70. The price difference depends on the material and size of your choice.
If you want excellent quality at a middle-of-the-road price, the ceramic 02 version is a good fit for most and costs around $25 for just the brewer.
The Chemex pour over brewer, invented in 1941 by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm PhD, is a manual coffee maker that works by letting water flow through the ground coffee beans at its own pace.
The Chemex pour over brewer is praised for its simplicity and elegance, so much that you can find this masterpiece in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Chemex Sizes and Styles
The Chemex comes in a multitude of sizes, ranging from a 3 Cup size to a 13 Cup size (a “cup” being 5 ounces), depending on the style of Chemex you buy:
The Classic Series and Glass Handle Series:
The Handblown Series:
Which Size Chemex Should You Choose?
The size of your Chemex doesn’t play a direct role in properly extracting your coffee like it does with the Hario v60.
But it is important to consider the capacity of your gooseneck kettle. For instance, if you have a 1-liter kettle (33.8 ounces), it makes sense to go no larger than the 6-cup Chemex since it only brews around 30 ounces at a time.
The 6-Cup Chemex is a great in-between size and is perfect for brewing coffee for yourself or for smaller groups of family and friends.
The 3-Cup Chemex might better serve those who mostly only brew coffee for themselves or have little storage space.
Chemex Brewer: Considerations
The Chemex is an amazing product, but consider this before purchasing:
It’s glass and breaks easily (if comparing it directly to the plastic Hario v60)
While they’ve constructed the Chemex to be as durable as possible, the glass carafe can break if you’re not careful. In other words, don’t drop it on your way to the kitchen table.
More Expensive Than Others
Yes, the Chemex works fantastic, if not better than most other pour over coffee makers, but you can find a fairly solid alternative for half the price if you shop around. If cost isn’t an issue, then some of the other positives might outweigh the higher price tag.
Not Very Portable
Compared to some of the more common alternatives, the Chemex pour over brewer is significantly larger. There are some people who say that they love the larger size because it allows them to brew for a group of family or friends, while others say that it’s too large to fit comfortably on their kitchen counter.
Ease of Cleaning
It’s not as easy to clean as the Hario v60, but it’s simple enough to hand-wash your Chemex with warm water and dish soap after each use. For the hard-to-reach area of the bottom chamber, use a hard bristle brush (baby bottle brush) to thoroughly clean it.
Similar to the Moka pot, it’s best to keep your Chemex out of the dishwasher. Too many users have broken theirs from subjecting it to the extreme temperatures, then nicking it on something.
How Does a Chemex Work?
It works by placing the coffee grounds in a circular conical paper filter at the top of the brewer. You then pour your hot water over the ground coffee beans and let it drip into a vessel like a glass carafe or a thermos.
This puts you in total control of the brewing process, allowing you to adjust the flavor of your coffee by controlling how your water flows through your ground coffee.
The Chemex uses high quality, 100% natural filters that are thicker than other filters. These filters block any sediments, oils, or bitter elements that might be present in your ground coffee beans from getting through.
And since it’s made with non-porous Borosilicate glass, it won’t absorb odors or chemical residues, so your Chemex coffee will taste as pure as you intend it to be.
Also, the natural wood collar makes it easy to grip, even with wet or oily hands.
As mentioned, the Chemex pour over brewer comes in four different sizes: 3, 6, 8 and 10 Cup sizes, with each “cup” measuring 5 US fluid ounces. If you want to put your fancy-pants on, you can buy one from the Handblown Series in sizes of 3, 5, 8, and 13 cups.
How Much Does a Chemex Cost?
A Chemex ranges from around $39.00 for the 3-cup version to around $49 for the larger, 10-cup version. Prices fluctuate, but as I write this, it’s actually a couple dollars cheaper on Amazon than on the retailer’s website.
If you’re interested in getting yourself one of the cool hand-blown ones, you’ll pay a little extra. They range from around $109 – $134.
Where Can I Purchase One?
Currently, most sizes and options are available on Amazon (with free shipping), or at just about any online specialty kitchen retailer.
The Chemex makes a cleaner and brighter cup of coffee, whereas the V60 is more versatile and has the ability to create heavier, more interesting flavor profiles.
If you prefer simplicity with a clean, balanced flavor, and you want to use it with very little hassle, go with the Chemex.
However, if you prefer a heavier mouthful and like the idea of being able to create more interesting flavors through experimentation, then the Hario v60 is probably the better option for you. Just remember, the v60 requires a little more patience to dial in.
Hopefully, this article has helped you decide which coffee maker is best for pour overs. Keep in mind, either of these two coffee brewers will probably be a significant upgrade from your automatic drip coffee maker.
From a very young "growth-stunting" age, Clint Doerfler has had a deep-rooted love for coffee. As a result, he founded Coffee Gear Gurus® to share his passion for incredible home brewed coffee with others. When he's not watching true crime shows with family or playing music, he's devoted to helping fellow coffee feins make amazing coffee at home - regardless of their experience.
Oh, and before you go, check out these related posts…
We look at the top 5 best coffee grinders for pour over coffee. From budget friendly to higher end grinders, these will surely up your specialty coffee game.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the correct grind size for pour-over coffee brewers?
Start with a medium-fine coarseness (closer to fine than medium) and keep going finer with each brew until you reach a point where your coffee is bitter and astringent. At that point, dial it a notch back toward medium.
What is pour-over coffee?
Pour-over coffee is essentially just what it sounds like. You pour hot water over the coffee grounds, letting them steep as they fall into a collection vessel below.
The benefit being that it allows you to control all the variables of the brew process, including the speed of your pour, resulting in lighter or heavier flavors as desired.
What are the best coffee beans for Chemex?
Consider purchasing any varieties of Peruvian coffee. The Chemex brings out the subtle notes that are hidden in coffees from Peru. If you want strong, dark flavors, consider a dark roast for the Chemex.
How long can you store coffee in a Chemex?
After brewing, you can cover your Chemex and refrigerate it for up to 12 hours without losing all your delicious flavor and freshness. We don’t recommend going much past that 12-hour mark.
What is the proper coffee grounds to water ratio for pour over coffee?
The coffee to water ratio for pour overs is right within the same ratio recommended for drip coffee, which is in the range of 1:17 coffee/water.
So if you’re brewing with the Hario v60, size 02, use 24g of coffee and about 400g of water. If your coffee tastes sour and acidic, adjust your grind finer. If it tastes bitter and astringent, adjust your grind to slightly coarser.