According to the National Coffee Association (NCA), 62% of American adults enjoy a cup of flavorful coffee daily.
However, only serious home baristas and coffee lovers know that pour-over coffee trumps drip. Granted, the process is a lot slower but worth the wait. The pour-over method is much better than using an automatic drip coffee maker because it allows you to control the flow of water and the water temperature and brings out the coffee flavor you seek.
Chemex and Hario V60 are two of the biggest names when it comes to pour-over coffee makers. So which brewer should you go for?
The answer depends on your objective. Keep reading to find out what sets these two products apart and which one suits your needs.
It may come as a surprise, but Chemex has been around for over eight decades. In that time the Chemex’s simple design has remained unchanged. You can spot a Chemex anywhere due to its hourglass form, and there is wood and leather at the collar for gripping. You can get a complete glass design without the wood or leather. However, most people prefer the original design with wood.
Working with a Chemex is quite simple. After grinding your coffee bean of choice, place the filter at the top of the Chemex. Scoop a tablespoon of ground coffee and add it to the filter. Next, you need to boil the desired amount of water. Pour the water over the filter in a spiral motion and let gravity do the rest.
Feel free to perfect other coffee brewing methods.
What We Like
- Brewing with the Chemex is very easy; anyone can do it
- The Chemex produces consistently good coffee
- The Chemex is very affordable, unlike a coffee maker
What We Don’t like
- The process takes time – it’s not instant
- Cleaning the lower chamber is harder
- You need additional equipment to boil the water
- Since it’s manual, it can be dangerous, especially when handling hot water.
Hario V60 Overview
The Hario brand has received many awards for different designs. However, not many are as successful as the V60. The design of the prototype began way back in the 1950s. The company, then known as Hiromu Shibata Works, developed a new type of durable, heat-resistant glass they called Hario, which means “king of glass.” However, the final product didn’t reach the public until the 1980s.
Today, the V60 comes in various sizes. They also come in plastic, ceramic, stainless steel, and the original transparent glass. Most homebrewers prefer the ceramic model. The design hasn’t changed much except for the addition of ribs that lift the filter paper. Overall, the V60 has more options and a wider variety of sizes than the Chemex. It is also not as delicate.
What We Like
- The V60 has more options both in size and materials
- The prices are reasonable
- Relatively easy to clean
- It makes great coffee every time
What We Don’t Like
- You will need to buy their special paper filter
- Brewing requires additional equipment such as a burr grinder, kettle, and a scale
- Some parts are not dishwasher safe
- You need to perfect your pouring technique
Chemex vs. V60 Direct Comparison
The Chemex vs. V60 debate has been ongoing for some time.
When it comes to the brewing process, there is very little that separates the two. However, there are design differences visible to the naked eye.
Here are the differences you should know about.
The major difference between the two brewers is their form.
The Chemex has an hourglass shape while the V60 is conical. For Chemex, the top half is also the funnel. On the other hand, most of the V60 is a perfect 60-degree angle funnel, from which the V60 gets its name.
There is a separate container for decanting. All V60s produced after 2004 feature rib design on the funnel. This lifts the fitter above the surface and makes cleaning a little easier.
Taste and Flavor
Pour-over brewing is popular because of the final product.
As a result, both products produce high-quality coffee. However, there are slight differences in taste and flavor. The Chemex uses a special filter made of thicker paper. Some claim this helps remove higher levels of cholesterol from the coffee and results in a lighter, bright coffee with less mouthfeel.
On the other hand, the V60 only uses a single-layer filter. The result is a slightly darker coffee, and the thinner filter allows more compounds through. But, again, the result is delicious coffee with a little more body.
Grind size is an important consideration when brewing your coffee. The rate of extraction is higher when the water has more surface area to contact.
Brewing with the Chemex requires a coarser grind size. However, there is some wiggle room, so a good medium grind works well.
On the other hand, the V60 works better with a finer grind. As stated previously, a finer grind increases the surface area of your coffee grounds and improves the extraction rate. Here there is less margin for error.
We recommend buying a grinder for more control over the final product.
Both the Chemex and V60 use disposable paper filters. However, they both require special filters made by Chemex and Hario.
By design, the Chemex uses thicker filters than the V60. A thicker filter removes more compounds and produces clearer coffee.
To avoid running out, you should always get enough filters to last you at least a week. It is easier to find V60 filters than the Chemex versions.
Ease of Use
If you want great coffee, you will have to put in the work. Pressing a button on an espresso doesn’t count.
The pour-over technique involves manually pouring hot water in a circular motion over ground coffee beans. Both Chemex and V60 are equally matched for ease of use, and they use the same brew methods.
However, the Hario V60 is a little trickier to master. This may be because it’s smaller or due to its reliance on the pouring kettle. You need to improve your pouring method to get a smooth brew.
After enjoying that glorious cup of coffee, you will need to clean up. That process starts with removing the filters and disposing of them. Getting rid of the used filter is relatively easy.
Next, you turn your attention to the brewer. The Chemex is more robust than the V60. However, the hourglass shape makes it harder to reach the bottom half that holds the coffee.
In addition, the wooden handle can be easily damaged with water. The V60 is easier to clean since it is dishwasher safe.
Both the Chemex and the V60 are durable. However, the V60 is slightly better. Foremost, strong plastic models are available that are unlikely to break.
On the other hand, the Chemex is primarily made of glass, so you must handle it carefully. In addition, the wooden collar and the leather string wear out over time, and another factor at play is the size.
The Hario V60 is significantly smaller than the Chemex. The V60’s small size means you can throw it in the dishwasher and clean it easily. You can also hold it by the handle to clean, like a cup.
Like with any new purchase, money is an essential factor. The good news is that both the Chemex and the V60 are relatively cheap.
You can use one of these hand brewers at a fraction of the price of an espresso machine. However, if you have to pick between the two, the V60 is cheaper.
Plastics are typically more affordable than glass or ceramic. However, you should factor in the cost of additional equipment such as an additional pour kettle and filters.
Sizes and Styles
You can make as much coffee as you want with either brewer. It really comes down to personal preference.
The only difference is how much you can brew at a time. Generally, Chemex is better suited for brewing a larger batch of coffee. The Chemex is available in 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, and 13-cup models.
Additionally, Chemex produces three lines of brewers.
The Classic is the most common and features a wooden collar. The other two are the Glass Handle and the Hand Blown models.
The V60 has more limited size options. Generally, the Hario V60 can only produce a cup or two at a time. However, there are a lot more options when it comes to materials, colors, and designs. Available sizes include 1, 4, and 6-cup models.
Which Brewer Should You Choose?
Now that you know the significant differences between the two, which one should you get?
Well, the answer to that depends on your needs. For instance, if you are looking to brew several cups of coffee at a time, then Chemex is the way to go.
But, conversely, the Hario V60 is worth considering if you want something smaller.
The good news is that you can’t go wrong with either. They both make smooth-tasting coffee. You can visit local coffee shops and taste samples from each before deciding.
To help out, get the Chemex if;
- You prefer clear coffee
- Want room for error while perfecting your pour technique
- You prefer glass
- You love the clean earthy design featuring wood, glass, and leather
However, the Hario V60 is a better choice if;
- You prefer to make small batches of coffee at a time
- You plan to carry your pour-over coffee brewer around while traveling
- You want an easier time cleaning
And the Winner Is?
The truth is that you can make a great cup of coffee with either. Ultimately, it will be down to personal preferences. On the one hand, the Chemex has an excellent design and can produce more coffee per brew.
On the other hand, the Hario V60 is available in more colors and materials. They are also smaller and easy to clean.
While we didn’t decide for you, hopefully, this article gave you the information you need to come to your own conclusion.
If you perfect your pour and get the right coffee beans, you can make the perfect brew with either.