Coffee Facts

Chemex Handblown vs. Classic

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Are you ready to start producing delicious home-brewed coffee with a CHEMEX® but not sure which model to choose? These classic pour-over coffee makers have been a favorite of coffee connoisseurs for decades and come in two main styles: classic and handblown. Which provides the best brew and value? Read on to find out how the CHEMEX® handblown vs. classic compare.

The CHEMEX® Advantage

The CHEMEX® manual coffee maker hit shelves in 1941. It’s a pour-over coffee machine renowned among coffee enthusiasts for its beauty and ability to produce a rich coffee brew. This attractive glass coffee maker is ideal for creating full-bodied coffee as strong as you wish without tasting bitter.

CHEMEX® brewers are borosilicate glass that is very resistant to stress, fractures, and chipping. Because it has a low coefficient of thermal expansion, borosilicate glass is resistant to heat shock. It is also resistant to acid degradation and chemicals, so it will not influence the flavor of your coffee.

While both the classic and handblown series use borosilicate glass, there are some key differences to note. Let’s take a closer look at the classic series first.

CHEMEX® Classic

The CHEMEX® classic coffee maker is made of a single piece of high-quality, heat-resistant borosilicate glass and is hourglass-shaped. It features a detachable, insulated, polished oak collar and a leather tie around the middle. To use this manual pour-over coffee maker, simply set a filter in the top, add your ground beans, pour hot water over them, and watch your coffee trickle down into the bottom as it brews. 

What We Like:

  • It is non-porous borosilicate glass that will not collect smells or chemical residues.
  • It is convenient and straightforward to use with a timeless, beautiful appearance.
  • When used with patented CHEMEX® bonded filters, it produces the ideal cup of coffee, free of sediments, unwanted coffee oils, and bitter ingredients.
  • It is available in three, six, eight, and ten-cup sizes to accommodate any size household.
  • While the larger-sized brewers can make greater quantities of coffee, you can also make just one cup. Therefore, a CHEMEX® classic brewer works well for both large groups or individuals.
  • The glass portion is dishwasher safe.
  • Replacement collar and tie are available for purchase.
  • The filter makes coffee grounds easy to clean up.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Paper filters must be purchased and are relatively expensive if you use the CHEMEX® brand bonded filters.
  • If you decide to hand wash your CHEMEX®, the hourglass shape can make it difficult to access the bottom portion for thorough cleaning.
  • Because the Classic CHEMEX® series coffee makers are constructed using thinner glass, it is prone to breaking if dropped.

Handblown CHEMEX®

Professional glassblowers use Croatian borosilicate glass to create the handblown collection in limited batches. Like the glass used in the classic series, the vessel is non-porous. It doesn’t collect chemical residue from coffee grinds or filters or add unwanted flavors to your brew. It has the same wooden collar and ties as the classic brewer to allow for a secure and firm hold on the coffee maker’s neck without burning your hand.

The design of the handblown CHEMEX® is similar to the Classic Series, but its weight and durability are what set it apart. Handblown CHEMEX® coffee makers feature thicker borosilicate glass, making them stronger, more resilient, and less likely to shatter if dropped. The thicker walls of the handblown CHEMEX® also help to keep your coffee hotter longer by retaining your brew’s heat.

What We Like:

  • The handblown CHEMEX® has thicker glass, making it more substantial and less breakable.
  • It is non-porous borosilicate glass that will not collect smells or chemical residues.
  • The CHEMEX® handblown glass coffee maker has thicker glass but the same streamlined construction as the classic series.
  • When used with patented CHEMEX® bonded filters, it produces the ideal cup of coffee, free of sediments and bitter ingredients.
  • The handblown line is available in three, five, eight, and thirteen-cup sizes.
  • Clean-up is easy with filters making ground disposal simple, and the glass portion is dishwasher safe.

What We Don’t Like:

  • The handblown CHEMEX® is much more expensive than the Classic CHEMEX®. 
  • Paper filters must be purchased and are relatively expensive if you use the CHEMEX® brand bonded filters.
  • If you choose to hand wash your CHEMEX®, the hourglass shape can make it difficult to access the bottom portion for thorough cleaning.
  • Because the handblown CHEMEX® is handcrafted, there may be minor differences in size and construction.

Final Thoughts

For coffee lovers looking for high-quality pour-over coffee method brewing equipment, the glowing reviews for CHEMEX® speak for themselves. Both series of CHEMEX® brewers yield delicious coffee free of unwanted flavors, have an attractive design, and take up a minimal amount of counter or cupboard space. Either is an excellent choice to use with this process of brewing coffee, but the handblown CHEMEX® comes out on top because of its increased durability.

In addition to being less prone to cracks and breaking, the CHEMEX® handblown line keeps coffee hotter longer. It better insulates your hand for a better pouring experience. The classic series tends to get hot under the collar, so much so that you may have to put it down before you finish pouring a cup of coffee.

In addition, the CHEMEX® handblown series offers a greater range of sizes and offers a larger 13-cup capacity brewer, making it ideal for the coffee enthusiast with a big family or who loves to entertain. Both versions are easy to use and clean. 

The only drawback of the handblown line is its hefty price tag. For those on a tighter budget, the classic provides a much more economical and similar brewing experience. If you can afford it, the improved quality and durability of the handblown version are worth the expense.

No matter which version you choose, coffee drinkers everywhere agree that a CHEMEX® is one of the best methods to appreciate the intended flavor of fine coffee. With one of these brewers, you’ll be able to create delicious coffee at home that you’ll love.

Happy Caffeinating! 

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