Chemex Vs French Press

You want to buy a coffee maker but aren’t sure which one to choose? You love hipster coffees and are looking for more options to make the perfect brew? We’re here to help.

You’ve seen people on the street drinking delicious coffee. Guess what! That coffee was made using a Chemex or a french press method, and you can make it at home. But which one is the best?

Do you know the difference between a French press and a Chemex? Find out now! This article explains which one you should buy and why. (Tip – Check out French Press vs Moka Pot)

Both methods produce a tasty, aromatic cup of coffee. In this article, we will be going over the pros and cons of both methods and things to consider when choosing one over the other.

At first glance, it seems that both are great methods of brewing a pot of coffee but there are some fundamental differences between them.

What is Chemex Method and how does it work?

Chemex is one of the most popular methods for brewing coffee. It’s a glass-on-glass drip coffee maker that has earned a reputation for excellent flavor and uniformity.

The Chemex coffee maker was invented by a scientist in 1941. Since then, it has evolved into a beautiful, functional device with wide application for brewing both coffee and tea.

How it works. The Chemex comes in two parts: the pot and the filter holder.

The Chemex’s main feature is the absence of an exposed or removable filter. Instead, the filter sits directly within the holder, which holds coffee manually.

The process of brewing is similar to drip coffee brewing methods such as pour-over and french press.

What is a French press and how does it work?

The French press is a glass beaker that sits atop a metal frame. The beaker has a plunger attached to it.

Ground coffee goes into the bottom of the beaker, and hot water is slowly poured over it. The plunger is then pushed down to squish the grounds, forcing them to the bottom of the beaker.

Coffee from this method tastes bitter, unlike others.

What is similar between them?

  1. Both the Chemex and the french press are simple, straightforward brewing methods.

  2. Both make a great-tasting cup of coffee and are very easy to use.

  3. The brew tells you when it is finished.

  4. Both have permanent filters that make cleaning easy (although it’s recommended that you clean your Chemex after every use)

  5. Frequent cleaning is something that you should pay special attention to with both. If not, they could easily become breeding grounds for mold and bacteria.

What is different between them?

While the Chemex and the french press both produce coffee, they do it in strikingly different ways.

The typical French press is an old-school brewing method that has been around since at least 17th century Europe (but has only recently been revived as we have learned more about the long-term effects of coffee consumption). 
The Chemex, on the other hand, came into being in 1950. Chemex is the name of the company that invented this method, but the brew it produces is also called "Chemex".

Each method produces a different drink: the French press yields a more robust, “richer” beverage whereas the Chemex yields a much smoother and lighter one.

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Similarities & Differences Between Chemex vs french press Explained In Detail

Let’s take a look at some of the similarities and differences between both brewing methods.

1. brewing time

brewing time

Both methods take approximately three to five minutes to prepare coffee on average. However, most coffee drinkers will suggest that you don’t leave your coffee in the French press for longer than two minutes or so because it won’t get as hot as it should and may brew bitter. The Chemex will yield a much hotter cup of coffee.

2. clean up time

Clean Coffee Machine

It takes about five to seven minutes to clean both of these coffee makers. But because the Chemex filter is larger, you can’t wash it as quickly as you can the French press plunger – this is why the Chemex takes longer to clean. The French press must be cleaned right after use, or mold may develop over time.

3. taste

Coffee Taste
The Chemex yields a smooth and sweet beverage with a rich flavor. French press coffee has more body and can taste bitter and acidic because of all the grassy, earthy flavors in the grounds.

4. portability

The Chemex is great for traveling because it doesn’t leak and you can take it anywhere (without using an insulated travel mug with it).

5. ease of use

 ease of use

Both methods are very easy to use. The French press needs to be filled with water and ground coffee, given time for the plunger to move, and then served.

The Chemex doesn’t have any moving parts involved in the brewing process so it is much easier to prepare a good cup of joe.

6. quality of coffee

quality of coffee
The Chemex is a more precise brewing method that produces a much more consistent, high-quality coffee. While the French press is an old-school brewing method that yields a stronger, sweeter coffee.

7. cost

cost

The Chemex is still more expensive than the french press brewer, but you can get good deals on them sometimes on sale (and with promo codes). The French press can be even cheaper if you shop around for other brands.

8. crema

Coffee crema

Although both methods yield a great cup of coffee, they can produce different results. The French press is the better result for frothing due to all of the oils that are left in the grounds and in the coffee itself; but technically, both coffee makers don’t produce a frothy foam on top.

9. stain removal

If you have a French press, it’s easy to remove the coffee stains because they don’t soak into the plastic. If you have a Chemex, it’s much harder to clean out of your glass vessel.

10. grinds in your cup

The Chemex lets you easily remove the grounds from your cup. The French press has a thicker filter that retains more coffee and can leave loose ground inside your cup.

Now that we have compared the technical aspects of both brewing methods,

let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.

Chemex vs French Press Pros & Cons

Chemex Brewed coffee

Chemex Brewed coffee

Pros

  1. Chemex brewing produces less acidity: the result is a drink that is much sweeter and smoother in flavor.

  2. Chemex brews a cup with less bitterness since the flavor is not extracted as strongly from the grounds.

  3. Chemex can be reused to store things like candy, tea bags, and sugar: this is a win-win for the environment and your wallet. You can store these items in the Chemex because the pods are made of glass, not plastic.

  4. The Chemex can be used as a server for entertaining purposes: simply add a glass of ice to the top of the Chemex and pour hot water in it – this will keep all of your drinks warm.

  5. You can use it to brew tea and stronger beverages like hot chocolate on occasions: you can add a few coffee beans and some hot chocolate powder (which is especially good on cold, winter nights) and you’ll be able to make a strong cup of hot chocolate.

  6. The Chemex filter can be used for other beverages such as iced tea and cider: it won’t affect the taste of your drinks, so feel free to experiment.

  7. The Chemex is easy to clean and the plastic is light so you don’t have to worry about it getting too heavy when you are holding it.

  8. The paper filter doubles as a sieve so you can strain your grounds out before serving.

  9. The glass goes with you everywhere; it’s dishwasher-safe and won’t break if you dropped it.
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Cons

  1. The Chemex produces a more delicate brew: although the filter does not allow more sediment to pass through it, this is easier said than done. If you leave the coffee in the Chemex for too long, a bitter taste will begin to develop.

  2. Chemex filters are more difficult to clean than the French press: the grounds need to be rinsed out completely to avoid any coffee-tasting flavors from getting into the next batch of coffee. In this sense, it does not produce a “clean” cup of coffee than the French press.

  3. The Chemex brews a much lighter beverage than the French press: the French press can extract much more flavor from the grounds because of the heat produced by the plunging motion. Therefore, a stronger cup of coffee is made with a French press than with Chemex.

  4. Chemex is more time-consuming to prepare a cup of coffee.

  5. The Chemex is more expensive than the French press: not much point in getting the Chemex over the French press if you want to save money.

French Press Brewed coffee

French Press Brewed coffee

Pro’s

  1. French press yields a more robust brew: the French press brewing method creates a stronger cup of coffee due to the much stronger flavor that is extracted from the grounds.

  2. French press coffee has a stronger flavor.

  3. The French press can be used over and over again to make different drinks: this is not possible with the Chemex.

  4. The French press allows you to make your own blends.

  5. The French press is more convenient to clean than the Chemex: the mesh screen is much easier to clean than the Chemex filter.

  6. The French press is more versatile and portable than the Chemex.

  7. The French press is more affordable than the expensive Chemex.

  8. The paper filter can be reused: this allows you to save money without feeling like you’re wasting your coffee.

  9. The French press is an excellent choice for travel: it’s compact and can easily be packed away.

Cons

  1. The coffee grounds are more acidic and bitter than the Chemex where there is less acidity and bitterness in brewed coffee due to the brewing method itself.

  2. The French press is not as precise and more time-consuming than the Chemex.

  3. French press coffee can be stronger than Chemex brewed coffee: if you leave the coffee grounds in the vessel for too long, a strong, bitter taste develops in your cup.

  4. You cannot measure how much water to add to each coffee cup with this method: it is important to measure the exact amount of water ratio with a Chemex due to its precise filter design.

  5. The French press can leave coffee grounds inside of your cup.

  6. The French press is difficult to clean, and you may have trouble removing the grounds from the inside.
We now know all the basics of both of these brewing methods, let's look at some recommendations and tips to help you get started which one you can choose as your brewer.

Chemex Brewing Tips:

Chemex Brewing Tips
  1. Choose the right temperature for your water that is between 200 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (Celsius). Be sure to heat your water in a different vessel to prevent contamination.

  2. Use medium or dark-roasted coffee beans for the best results: the Chemex filter is more susceptible to producing more bitter tastes unless you use medium or dark roasted beans.

  3. Try to use coffee that is harvested within the same season because it will have more aroma and flavor.

  4. Store the Chemex away from direct sunlight to prevent it from cracking.

  5. If you want to keep the coffee warmer for longer, consider using a thermos.

  6. Use a scale to measure your exact amount of coffee beans out: this will keep your brew consistent with each cup you brew.

  7. Choose medium ground coffee so that you can use more beans and have a better chance of getting the perfect coffee cup each time.

  8. Use filtered water – water with extra minerals may affect the taste of your cup.

  9. Clean your Chemex after every use with vinegar to preserve its shine for a longer time.
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French Press Brewing Tips: 

French Press Brewing Tips
  1. Use coarsely ground coffee for stronger flavors.

  2. Use a coarse grind just before brewing to avoid sticking to the screen.

  3. Avoid using too much coffee – if you use too much coffee, the water won’t be able to extract all of the flavors from your grounds, which will leave you with a weak tasting brew.

  4. Use more coarsely ground coffee if your pot is larger than 12-ounces.

  5. Use a spray of water while stirring and pressing down on your mug so that the grinds do not stick to your cup.

  6. Choose medium ground coffee so that you can use more beans and have a better chance of getting the perfect cup each time.

  7. Try using filtered water – water with extra minerals may affect the taste of your cup.

  8. Clean your French press after every use with vinegar to preserve its shine for a longer

Here are the most frequently asked questions by consumers-

What are the most common questions customers ask?

Can you leave the coffee overnight in Chemex and French press?

You can in a Chemex but the coffee won’t taste as nice as a freshly brewed cup.

Also, in French Press, the coffee will keep extracting from the grounds in the press, so it's not advisable to keep the coffee overnight in the french press which is hot brewed.

Which one has more caffeine?

The Chemex has more caffeine. The reason is that the filtration process allows for the grounds to have a longer exposure to water which will cause the extraction of more caffeine from coffee beans.

Which one tastes better?

The taste depends on the user’s preference. Now that you have all the tips and tricks for making coffee with both brewing methods, it is time to put them into action!

It is up to you which method you feel most comfortable with, but either way, you will enjoy the results.

Which one is healthier?

It is hard to predict which method is healthier, but there are some definite benefits to each. The healthiest choice would be to brew your coffee using a Chemex due to its ability to control the brewing process.

The French press also offers health benefits in the way that it allows for the oils to become more soluble.

Which one did you like better? Did you prefer Chemex over the French press? Which brewing method do you think is more healthful? Please leave your comments below.

If you found this article helpful, share it with your friends and family so that they can learn to make a delicious cup of coffee with the best brewing methods.

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