Are you tired of finding coffee grounds in the bottom of your cup of morning brew? Maybe you feel that your coffee is just a bit too bitter for your changing tastes. What if you could solve both problems with one brewing system?
Pour-over coffee is arguably as delicious as any coffeehouse brew, and it’s doable within the comfort of your home. However, you must choose a coffee brewing system. This article sets the scene for a true battle royale to see who wins the Chemex vs. Melitta debate.
It’s All About the Pour Over
Not only does the pour-over process give you more control over your coffee, but you also get a fresh cup every time. Making the perfect pour-over is surprisingly easy with the proper tools at your disposal. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a cleaner cup of coffee anywhere.
Before we can properly compare Chemex vs. Melitta, it may help to understand how each brand ended up in the pour-over coffee brewer game. We’ll keep this lesson short and sweet, but to understand the two heavyweights, you need a little background.
Melitta Started (Almost) Everything
Perhaps to nobody’s surprise, a frustrated housewife developed the grandmother of all pour-over and drip coffee devices. In 1908, an annoyed German coffee lover wanted to scrap her percolator and dreamed of a superior cup of tasty coffee. Armed with materials from her kitchen, Melitta Bentz crafted a two-piece filtration system out of paper and a brass pot.
What started with a frustrated coffee drinker in search of a clean cup of coffee evolved into a massive international company. Melitta’s creation paved the way for new filters and pour-over systems that consistently deliver the clean cups of coffee she dreamed about and eliminates that troublesome coffee sediment.
The whole “frustrated housewife using a little ingenuity to revolutionize the coffee world” story is undoubtedly fantastic. Why should you trust the woman’s product more than 100 years later?
Like most creations, subsequent crafters worked to perfect the original simple pour-over coffee maker. The original Melitta design evolved to include various materials and colors to suit any kitchen. You can choose from a wide selection of Melitta coffee makers at various price points, making them excellent options for beginners and people working with a budget.
As a bonus, it’s relatively easy to find Melitta products. It’s a good bet that you can find several Melitta items at your local grocery store.
Be Wary of Some Minor Drawbacks
Despite their best efforts to craft the perfect cup of coffee, Melitta pour-overs drain rather slowly. You must use boiling water, but it may take a little longer than you might like to get a fresh cup. Additionally, the plastic varieties may not deliver the same taste as more expensive models, like porcelain.
How Chemex Entered Coffee
Though Chemex joined the coffee industry later, its creator wasn’t new to inventing useful objects. Dr. Peter Schlubohm, notable chemist and eccentric, developed more than 300 patents throughout his life, including the Chemex coffeemaker.
Melitta Bentz sought to make a delicious, ground-free cup of coffee, while Schlubohm wanted his coffeemaker to be as beautiful as it was functional. Putting his chemistry background to excellent use, Shlubohm crafted a paper filter and a uniquely shaped carafe in 1941 that changed the coffee game forever.
Many coffee aficionados argue that Chemex coffee makers deliver the ultimate clean cup of coffee. Given the creator’s knowledge of chemistry, it’s not tough to understand how the hourglass-shaped carafe can deliver such a clean brew. If you prefer a light cup of coffee that lets you appreciate even the subtlest flavor notes, it’s not easy to pass on a Chemex.
The attention to detail remains impressive. The wood handle prevents burns from hot glass. Then, there is the leather detail that prevents the wood from slipping from your fingers. Finally, the drainage port creates a decent flow without passing over the beans too fast.
But Chemex Is Not Perfect
It’s tough to find fault with the Chemex carafe, but not impossible. Unfortunately, it is glass, making it susceptible to chips and cracks. Plus, the filters feel too thick, so you may want to choose a different brand for brewing coffee. Oh, and if you want Chemex products, you need to hit up a specialty coffee store.
Battle for the Best Pour Over Coffee
Let’s dive into some of the best products each brand has to offer.
Melitta 640616 Coffee Maker with Glass Carafe
This pour-over coffee maker makes it easy to brew ten cups of gourmet coffee. Since the brewing cone fits directly on the glass carafe, you only need to add a #6 cone filter, scoop the coffee, and “pour over” the hot water.
The glass carafe holds up to ten cups with clear markings delineating each level. It would be nice to have the cone made from something more durable, like metal or ceramic, but it still delivers a tasty brew.
- Affordably priced
- Easy to use
- Lightweight but durable design
- Serves up to 10 cups
- Plastic brewing cone is not as clean as alternate materials, like metal
- May have some quality control issues
Chemex Classic Series Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker
It’s only fair to compare Chemex’s ten-cup coffeemaker to the Melitta. This Chemex Classic uses non-porous Borosilicate glass, meaning you won’t have to deal with foul odors or chemical residue.
Though made from high-quality glass, the Chemex pour-over is lightweight, and it’s only one piece, making it easy to use and store. Slip in the filter, scoop the coffee, and pour the hot water to brew quickly.
- High-quality glass resists odors and chemicals for a clean brew
- Only one piece makes it easy to use
- Transparent glass makes it easy to see how much coffee you have
- Beautiful design looks great in any setting
- Pricier than the alternatives
- May need to experiment with other filter brands to get the coffee taste you desire.
The Verdict: Chemex vs. Melitta
It’s tough to go wrong with either option, so it generally depends on your capabilities and preferences. Melitta pour-overs are more affordable, making them excellent choices for beginners. On the other hand, the Chemex design brings out the most flavor from the beans and allows you to embrace even the most subtle notes.