Are you looking for the perfect pour-over to complete your morning routine? There’s a huge range of options out there, so how do you know which one is right for you? Let’s look at two of the biggest names offering beautiful and affordable pour-over coffee makers and how they differ.
Bodum and Chemex: How Are They Different?
A Bit of History
Bodum’s origins date all the way back to the 1940s when founder Peter Bodum opened his storefront in Copenhagen, Denmark. Bodum’s core philosophy was that form should follow function, and he famously said, “Good design doesn’t have to be expensive.”
Though Bodum is best known for its sleek Scandinavian-style french press coffee maker, the company has diversified and offers a range of coffee makers and accessories. Today, it’s based out of Switzerland and known worldwide for its affordable and aesthetically pleasing product line.
Chemex also got its start in the 1940s when Dr. Peter Schlumbohm, a German-born inventor and chemist, worked to create a coffee-brewing method that was as simple as it was beautiful.
The all-glass design was a huge advantage, as metal was prioritized for wartime production. Often, when people think of pour-over coffee, they think of Chemex. And it’s no wonder; Chemex coffee makers have been considered the standard pour-over coffee maker for decades.
If you set the Bodum pour-over coffee maker next to a Chemex, you may be surprised to see how similar the two coffee makers are, at least regarding aesthetics. Both are made of high-quality glass, feature an hourglass-shaped decanter design, and have a cork grip around the center. It could be hard to tell the difference between the two if you’re not well versed in pour-over coffee makers!
The main difference between the Bodum and Chemex coffee makers is their parts and how they function. A Bodum pour-over coffee brewer has a permanent mesh filter. But, if you have a Chemex, you’ll need to buy Chemex-branded paper filters made to absorb the natural oils in your coffee beans.
Pour Over Coffee Makers: What You Should Know
What is the Pour-Over Method?
Pour-over coffee is a simple brewing process in which hot water is poured evenly over coffee grounds before being extracted through a filter in a manual coffee maker. It requires no electricity (except what you use to boil your water) and produces a hot, fresh cup of joe in minutes.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Buying your first pour-over coffee maker doesn’t need to be a complex decision. But, it’s worth considering what features you need and your priorities to get the best bang for your buck. Here are a few things to think about:
- How much coffee do you want to brew? If you’re brewing a pot of delicious coffee for a large household or an office setting, you’ll want a larger carafe that will hold several cups at a time. You’ll also want a larger carafe if you drink several cups of coffee daily. A more compact coffee maker will do if you aren’t a heavy coffee drinker and only serve yourself. Bodum’s offering is smaller and suited for single coffee drinkers, while Chemex offers an extensive range of sizes.
- What filters do you want to use? If you’re not keen on repeatedly buying one-time-use filters, then go with the Bodum, which features a reusable mesh strainer. If you’re looking for oil-free coffee, go with the Chemex and its paper filter.
- What’s your budget? If you’re looking for a more affordable option that won’t leave a hole in your wallet, the Bodum is an excellent choice to get you started. If money is no object, you may consider the Chemex since it’s a bit more expensive but tends to produce a better result, taste-wise.
Who are Pour-Over Coffee Makers Best Suited For?
If you’re looking for a simple and streamlined coffee brewing process that doesn’t require all the bells and whistles of an espresso machine or a traditional drip coffee maker, then a pour-over method is an excellent choice. It’s also a good option if you prefer the manual ritual of brewing your coffee every morning.
However, if you’re a set-it-and-forget-it kind of person or you have a hectic morning routine, this may not be the brewing method for you. It takes a bit of patience and technique to get it right, and it’s best for slow or lazy mornings when time isn’t a consideration.
Bodum Vs Chemex Pour-Over Machines: A Side-By-Side Comparison
Bodum’s pour-over offering is an excellent choice for anyone just getting started with pour-over coffee without investing too much in a higher-end product.
It looks great, and it’s accessible and easy to use, with all the accessories you could need and none of the maintenance issues of conventional coffee makers. It also has a sleek, simple design and user-friendly features like a built-in decanter.
Things We Like:
- The Bodum coffee maker is one of the more affordable coffee brewers on the market, making it an excellent option if you’ve recently started experimenting with pour-over coffee and don’t want to break the bank.
- With its classic hourglass shape and the option of a cork or silicone sleeve, the Bodum pour-over coffee maker is elegant and sophisticated enough for even the biggest coffee snob.
- The built-in decanter and permanent mesh filter keep the long-term cost of this coffee maker down and make for a convenient coffee brewing experience.
- It’s easy to use, clean, and maintain. It’s a great choice for amateur coffee lovers who may be intimidated by more high-end options.
Things We Don’t Like:
- Due to the extraction method, the coffee strength is a bit lacking, and the flavor of the coffee leaves something to be desired. Pour-over brewers like the Chemex will produce a stronger coffee cup overall.
- The decanter’s spout could be improved; it’s prone to spilling, doesn’t allow a precise pour, and drips tend to get the cork grip wet. It’s not a big deal, but it is kind of frustrating.
- Due to the mesh filter, you tend to get a lot of sediment when brewing with a Bodum.
- The plastic-bottomed permanent mesh coffee filter doesn’t play nicely with all grind sizes, so be careful. It also doesn’t produce a great extraction compared to paper filters.
The Bottom Line
This Bodum pour-over coffee maker produces a decent cup of balanced coffee and is also beautifully designed and easy to use, even for those new to pour-over coffee. It’s a very affordable coffee maker with an approachable classic design that helps offset the drawbacks of a built-in reusable filter.
Whether you’re looking to experiment with new brewing styles or want to try your hand at a pour-over coffee maker before upgrading to a higher-end model, you can certainly do worse than the Bodum.
The Chemex coffee maker is a bit pricier than the competition, but its wide range of size options, including an 8- or 12-cup coffee maker, makes it a versatile and timeless choice for coffee lovers. It’s constructed with durable borosilicate glass and features a wooden handle with a rawhide string.
To use it, you’ll need to purchase Chemex’s proprietary paper coffee filters, which absorb the natural coffee oils from your ground coffee beans. But, the result is a cup of delectable coffee that you’re bound to enjoy!
Things We Like:
- The gorgeous design of the Chemex is beautiful and classic, and if you’re looking for something that will look great sitting on your kitchen counter, the Chemex will do the trick!
- It comes in a wide array of sizes, so there’s a Chemex to suit just about every household.
- The Chemex produces rich, flavorful, clear coffee that easily beats the Bodum for taste.
- The handblown glass carafe is heavy, with a high-end feel. The wooden handle is timeless and elegant, and overall the Chemex has a more premium feel.
Things We Don’t Like:
- The Chemex is more expensive than the competition and requires extra coffee gear like a gooseneck kettle and a coffee scale to get the best cup possible. In contrast, the Bodum coffee maker is a bit less fussy.
- Since the Chemex doesn’t have a permanent filter, you’ll have to replace your filters continuously.
- You have to buy Chemex’s proprietary filter papers, which can get expensive over the long run but are better than conventional filters.
The Bottom Line
If you’re willing to spend a bit more both now and in the future for the sake of a better cup of coffee, then the Chemex is your best bet. It’s a sleek and beautifully thought out elegant design that feels high-end and gets results. The Chemex is not for those looking for the simplest or most affordable option, but coffee aficionados searching for a strong coffee taste will love it.
There’s much to consider about which coffee maker comes out on top. Clear differences exist between the two designs, but overall they’re very similar in their shape, appearance, and brewing method. So which one is the best pour-over coffee maker?
While the Bodum pour-over coffee maker does produce a weaker, less flavorful cup of coffee, it’s easily accessible for the newbie who’s just getting started, and it doesn’t require the arsenal of accessories that would be practically mandatory if you chose a Chemex. It’s also a better option if you don’t have the technique of the pour-over coffee-making process down just yet.
On the other hand, if you’re a little more experienced, or you’re looking to get the best cup of quality coffee for your money right from the start, the Chemex is an excellent alternative that will give you a richer and more nuanced flavor profile, but at a higher cost.
Overall, it really just depends on how you like your coffee and whether price difference and extra accessories are a consideration. To learn more about the pour-over coffee-making method, check out our takes on how it stands up against other types of coffee makers like the Aeropress or an automatic drip coffee maker. Or, learn the best way to brew your pour-over coffee, step by step.