Learning to brew coffee at home can take your enjoyment of coffee to the next level. As you begin to research filter coffee makers, you may hear two brand names frequently coming up: Hario, a Japanese company that’s known for the V60 coffee brewer, and Chemex. But how do they differ? Let’s compare Chemex vs. V60 and determine which one is your ultimate coffee maker.
What is pour-over coffee?
Pour-over is a low-tech way to get great coffee. This coffee brewing method is appreciated for its simplicity: all you do is set up your ground coffee in a paper filter. Then, you pour hot water over the coffee grounds, and brewed coffee trickles out.
Unlike coffee brewed with the French press, pour-over coffee is typically sediment-free. It is due to a paper filter that filters out microparticles of coffee and minimizes bitterness. However, the French press is generally known for producing coffee with a thicker mouthfeel than drip coffee makers.
An important thing to note is that a serving of pour-over coffee has more caffeine than a serving of drip coffee or even espresso. So make sure not to overdose on it while experimenting with pour-overs.
Two of the leading pour-over coffee makers in the market are Hario V60 and Chemex. The Chemex has a unique design resembling an hourglass, while the Hario V60 is a little cone designed to sit on top of your coffee mug of choice.
Chemex vs. V60: what is the difference?
The Chemex is known for its elegant hourglass design, which is even featured in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. Its body is made of high-quality borosilicate glass, and a wooden collar with a leather tie adds a natural touch.
The Hario V60 is a simple Japanese coffee maker that is versatile and portable. The name V60 comes from the 60-degree angle of the filter cone, which has a single large hole at the bottom that the coffee brews through. You can get this coffee maker in various materials, from plastic to glass, ceramic, stainless steel, and copper. The cone will sit on top of the mug of your choice and brew coffee.
When you consider the question of Chemex vs. V60, the main difference is that the Chemex has a carafe built-in while the V60 does not. Though the brewing method is similar, knowing the distinctions between Hario V60 and Chemex can help you find the best coffee maker to match your coffee preferences.
Ease of use
The process of operating the Chemex and the V60 is pretty similar. Both coffee makers produce the best results with freshly ground coffee beans. Therefore, you may want to account for how much time and energy you’ll be spending on this.
Pour-over coffee brewers do not require electricity to operate. However, to brew coffee with Chemex and Hario V60, you’ll need hot water to pour over the coffee grounds.
A gooseneck kettle is a good companion to use with either of those devices, as its thin spout can give more control when pouring water. However, a regular tea kettle should work well enough as long as you pour water in a slow stream.
A Chemex brewer performs best with medium-coarse coffee grind size. It is coarser than packaged ground coffee sold in stores, so you will probably want to plan on grinding coffee beans yourself. However, it’s not necessary to go all the way to the coarse coffee grind used in the French press.
Once you grind your coffee beans and place them in the Chemex filter, you’ll need patience as you slowly pour hot water and wait for the coffee to brew. Boiling water can provide better extraction, but you may need to experiment with the temperature and quantity of hot water that works best for you.
As the Chemex brews directly into the carafe below, there’s no need to worry about overflow, which can happen for a dripper that sits on a coffee mug. Too much water can lead to over-extracted coffee, while too little water can cause under-extracted coffee that tastes sour.
Where Chemex really shines is that it is very easy to serve coffee. The wooden collar functions as a handle to pick it up without burning yourself and pour coffee.
The Hario V60 brewer does best with medium-fine grind size. Medium grind size will also work, so you can use packaged ground coffee if necessary. An espresso grind will be definitely too fine, though.
One error beginners can make when brewing pour-over coffee with a Hario V60 or similar pour-over dripper that sits on top of a mug is pouring in too much water. Pouring hot water slowly should prevent this problem, especially if you use coffee scales and a gooseneck kettle.
The Hario V60 wins for ease of use. If you don’t have a burr coffee grinder handy, you can get away with using packaged coffee with it. The Hario V60 is also more portable if you want to take your coffee on the road.
When you are in the mood for delicious coffee, you probably want it as soon as possible. Therefore, considering differences in brew time can be important as you choose between Chemex vs. Hario V60.
A Chemex is a bit slow in brewing coffee, especially if you are brewing a large amount of it. Don’t forget to wet the paper filter and discard the water from the carafe before you start brewing. Next, add the grounds to the filter and lightly dampen them with hot water. Let them bloom or air out for about 30 seconds. Then, you have to slowly pour water in a circular motion, following the shape of the glass design. Finally, you have to wait for the coffee to trickle into the carafe.
Depending on Chemex size, brewing coffee will take from 3.5 to 5-6 minutes.
It certainly takes more time than turning on an automatic coffee maker or even using an AeroPress.
Most of the brewing tips recommended for a Chemex would be appropriate for a Hario V60. You should still wet the paper filter, slightly dampen the coffee grounds, and let them bloom. Then, slowly pour hot water in a consistent circular motion, following the shape of the cone.
The brew time of a V60 will usually be less than that of a Chemex simply because less coffee is being brewed. For an even extraction, it should take about 3 minutes.
The V60 has a faster brew time compared with Chemex. However, it’s not a fair fight because the V60 usually brews a smaller amount of coffee.
As you try to decide on Chemex vs. V60, it’s essential to consider how much coffee you want to brew at a time. While both the Chemex and the V60 are sold in a few different sizes, capacity is still one significant difference between these two coffee brewers.
The smallest size Chemex coffee maker brews three cups of coffee, and the Chemex sizes go up from there to 13 cups. A bigger Chemex is an excellent option for serving a family or even a party. However, if you only want one great cup of coffee, it might be hard to figure out the right amount of water and ground coffee to use in such a big brewer.
The 01, which is the smallest version of Hario V60, is most commonly seen sitting on top of a cup or a glass server, and it’s sized to brew from one to two cups of coffee at a time. The 02 model brews from two to four cups of coffee, and the 03 can brew up to six cups, which will require a bigger server or carafe.
Hario makes servers and carafes fit all sizes of the V60 dripper, and you may want to invest in one if you want to brew your coffee in style.
Chemex is the clear winner if you intend to brew bigger batches of coffee for family or friend gatherings. However, if you will mostly brew one or two cups of coffee for yourself (and possibly your partner), a Hario V6o would be a solid option.
Most people would say there’s no point in learning a new coffee brewing method if it doesn’t make a coffee you like. So knowing the differences in coffee taste brewed with these pour-over coffee makers can help you select the right one for you.
A distinctive feature of Chemex coffee makers is their unusually thick paper filters. Unfortunately, regular cone filters aren’t tall enough to fill a Chemex cone, so you’re stuck with the proprietary model.
The thicker filter is known for producing a cleaner cup of coffee, as it filters out coffee oils and sediment. Therefore, Chemex is an ideal brewing method for coffees with subtle or complex flavors that would otherwise be hard to detect. For example, when brewed with Chemex, floral coffee aromas are exceptionally bright.
Brown Chemex filters are said to give the coffee a papery flavor. To reduce it, don’t forget to flush the paper filter with water before putting your coffee grounds in.
While Hario V60 coffee makers also require paper filters, they are much thinner than those of Chemex. You will still enjoy a sediment-free cup of coffee, but it will have more coffee oils adding to the consistency of your coffee.
While taste is personal and highly subjective, both Chemex and Hario can produce an excellent tasting cup of coffee. For those who enjoy coffee with a thicker mouthfeel and body, Hario V60 is a great choice. However, if you prefer light and bright taste, Chemex is optimal.
Washing your coffee maker is an overlooked but essential part of the coffee brewing process. Removing oils and sediment after use will help you continue to get the best results with future brews. Let’s find out how Chemex vs. Hario V60 compares in this regard.
You will need to remove the wooden handle and leather tie before cleaning your Chemex. After that, you can put the hourglass-shaped carafe in the dishwasher. It’s durable enough not to break, but you can also hand wash it with soap and warm water.
An excellent advantage is that the thick filter paper prevents Chemex from getting too dirty. Simply discard the used filter, and the worst part of the cleanup is already done.
Many models of the Hario V60 are dishwasher safe. However, a copper V60 should probably not go in the dishwasher. If it’s important to you to be able to stick your coffee maker in the dishwasher, go with a plastic, stainless steel, or ceramic model.
You can also hand wash any model of the Hario V60 with soap and warm water. Pay extra attention to the interior spiral ribs, as debris can collect there.
You can easily rinse both Chemex and V60, but the Chemex wins as it’s less likely to get dirty, and it is dishwasher safe.
Who doesn’t like to enjoy delicious coffee without breaking a budget? While buying a quality coffee maker for home is an investment, you need to factor in its maintenance costs.
Both Chemex and V60 pour-over coffee brewers use single-use paper coffee filters, which will be an ongoing expense. You can get a reusable filter for Chemex and Hario V60 if you want to cut filter costs in the long run. However, you will have to clean the metal coffee filter, and your coffee will have more sediment.
Of the Classic Chemex coffee brewers, the price ranges from $40 to $55 based on capacity. The Glass Handle models without the distinctive wooden collar are priced similarly. However, some other Chemex models can be more expensive.
The type of paper filter used in other pour-over coffee brewers like the Hario V60 is not tall enough to fill the Chemex cone. Therefore, a Chemex requires proprietary Chemex filters. A pack of 100 costs over $10, and they might not be as easy to buy at your local grocery store as generic filters.
However sturdy they may look, you can’t save on Chemex filters by brewing coffee with them more than once. However, you can compost Chemex filters or wash and repurpose them for various uses in your household to minimize waste.
The Hario V60 cone comes in various materials, so you can choose how fancy you want to go. The plastic models are inexpensive, around $10. Ceramic and glass options cost $20 to $30, and the eye-catching copper cone is at the top of the range.
Hario V60 filters are available for $7 to $10 for a pack of 100. However, you may be able to get away with using off-brand paper coffee filters in a pinch.
The Hario V60 is the best way to discover pour-over coffee brewing at an affordable price. However, you may want to upgrade to a Chemex if you become serious about perfecting your pour-over technique.
Making coffee with a pour-over brewer is a way to bring a touch of stylish simplicity into your life. It’ll also allow you to enjoy a great cup of coffee at home without paying top dollar at the coffee shops. So whether you choose the state-of-art Chemex or the compact Hario V60, your satisfaction is within reach.