In the world of manual coffee brewing, pour-over methods have gained immense popularity among coffee aficionados.
Both offer unique approaches to making a delicious cup of coffee, but they have distinct differences that can significantly impact the final brew.
In this blog post, we’ll do a Chemex vs. Hario V60 showdown, exploring the key features and characteristics of these two iconic pour-over coffee makers.
|Design||Elegant hourglass with wood tie||Conical shape, various materials|
|Filter Type||Thicker paper filters||Thin paper filters|
|Cleaning Ease||Requires more effort||Generally easier|
|Price Range||Typically pricier||Budget-friendly options|
|Brewing Time||3.5 to 5 minutes||2:45 to 3:30 minutes|
|Grind Size||medium-coarse grind||Fine grind size|
|Taste||Cleaner tasting coffee||Full-bodied coffee|
What Exactly Is Pour-Over Coffee?
Pour-over coffee is a hands-on drip brewing method, that involves pouring hot water over coffee grounds in a filter.
The water seeps through the coffee, capturing its flavors, and filters through to a container, like a carafe.
This method is a darling in the world of specialty drip coffee, with the quality of the outcome heavily influenced by the user’s technique.
What sets Pour-over apart is the level of control it offers.
You can tinker with factors like grind size, water temperature, and pouring speed to craft coffee with various boldness levels and flavors.
It’s perfect for those with leisurely mornings who relish the artisanal brewing process, ideal for one or two cups.
Coffee aficionados use pour-over to fine-tune their coffee’s flavor and body.
Pour-over coffee has its perks: it delivers a cleaner cup, and better extraction compared to drip, without the mess of immersion brewing.
Plus, it’s efficient when you’re after just one cup.
What Is A Chemex?
The Chemex, a manual coffee maker, was crafted in 1941 by German chemist Peter Schlumbohm.
It’s an electricity-free pour-over device featuring an elegant hourglass-shaped glass flask with a distinctive, conical funnel-like neck.
What sets it apart is the proprietary, thicker bonded paper filters, which deliver a remarkably “clean” coffee by removing most of the coffee oils.
Another standout feature of the Chemex is its heatproof wooden collar surrounding the neck, providing a safe grip for handling and pouring.
This collar is turned and then split in two, held together by a tied leather thong.
The Chemex brilliantly combines style and functionality, resulting in coffee with outstanding flavor clarity.
The Chemex Corporation, established in New York State in the late 1930s, gained accolades for its design, earning a spot among the best-designed items of modern times, according to the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1956.
Notably, it’s featured in the permanent collections of prestigious museums like the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Philadelphia Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution.
- Large capacity for group brewing.
- Unique and aesthetic design.
- Thicker filters for cleaner, smoother coffee.
- Easy to clean and dishwasher-safe.
- Produces a cleaner, less bitter brew.
- Relatively expensive.
- Fragile glass construction.
- Bulky, taking up space.
- Limited filter options.
- Slower brewing due to thick filters.
What Is A Hario V60?
The Hario V60 is a pour-over coffee maker introduced by the Japanese company Hario in 2004, derives its name from the 60-degree angle of its cone.
Hario, established in Tokyo in 1921, initially focused on crafting glass products for various applications.
After nearly three decades of research, they developed Hario Glass, a heatproof glass created using 100% natural minerals, emphasizing its eco-friendly nature.
While Hario has received numerous design accolades, it’s the V60 that stands out as their most renowned creation.
The V60 comes in ceramic, glass, plastic, and metal variations, offering a few color choices.
Its conical design accommodates deeper coffee ground layers, with spiral ridges and unhindered flow for flexible water pouring – quicker for a delicate brew or slower for a richer flavor.
The V60 is a highly adaptable brewer, putting you in control of multiple brewing variables for precise customization, making it ideal for those with experience, patience, and a passion for honing their coffee-making skills.
- Well-designed, durable, easy to use, and clean.
- Open-source with a wide range of product options.
- Quick brew time for time-conscious coffee lovers.
- Even coffee extraction for a balanced cup.
- Affordable, budget-friendly option.
- Enhances citrus flavors for citrus-loving coffee enthusiasts.
- Requires additional equipment (gooseneck kettle) for water flow control.
- A steep learning curve, demands practice for a perfect cup.
- Limited capacity for larger groups.
- Cleanup effort due to plastic or ceramic construction.
- Lacks the unique design appeal of the Chemex for aesthetics-focused users.
Chemex vs Hario V60: Key Differences
Now let’s take a look at the key differences between the Chemex and Hario V60.
Chemex vs Hario V60: Grind Size
When it comes to the grind size, the Chemex prefers a medium-coarse setting, typically around 18 to 20 on a Baratza Encore grinder.
However, it’s quite forgiving if your grind leans a bit finer or coarser.
On the other hand, the V60 calls for a slightly finer grind than the Chemex but not as fine as espresso.
In the V60, your grind choice wields significant influence over your coffee’s outcome.
V60 filters are thinner, so the coffee steeps a bit faster than the Chemex.
To balance this speed, we opt for a finer grind.
For a potent brew, go with a fine grind and a slow pour, while a medium grind with a faster pour yields a milder cup.
Remember, the grind size for both devices plays a pivotal role as it impacts how quickly the water flows through and extracts flavors from the coffee.
Chemex vs Hario V60: Taste
Chemex and Hario V60 employ different filter types, influencing the coffee’s taste.
Chemex relies on thicker paper filters, resulting in a cleaner, lighter, and sweeter brew.
Its all-glass build ensures that no additional flavors are imparted into the coffee, allowing you to savor 100% pure coffee flavor.
In contrast, Hario V60 uses thin paper filters, permitting more oils and flavors to shine through, creating a complex and nuanced taste.
The V60’s design aims for a delightful balance between flavor clarity and a satisfying body.
Keep in mind that the taste of coffee from both these makers is influenced by factors like grind size, water temperature, and pouring technique.
Taste preferences, ultimately, are subjective and can vary from person to person.
Chemex vs Hario V60: Ease Of Use
Both the Chemex and Hario V60 demand a certain skill level to operate effectively.
However, the V60, despite its popularity, can be a bit challenging for newcomers.
It’s highly sensitive to various factors, making it less forgiving than the Chemex.
The V60’s smaller size and the kettle you use play significant roles in this sensitivity, often requiring a bit of practice to master.
However, while the V60 may not be as beginner-friendly as the Chemex, it isn’t overly complicated either.
To achieve the best extraction, you primarily need to perfect your pouring tempo.
Pour too forcefully, and most of the water might rush through the paper filter, leaving you with an under-extracted cup.
If you’re just starting your home coffee-brewing journey and seeking a pour-over coffee maker, we recommend going for the Chemex.
It offers more forgiveness when you make mistakes like pouring too vigorously or getting a different coffee grind than expected.
Chemex vs Hario V60: Filters
Both the Chemex and Hario V60 use paper filters, but they come with differences in thickness.
Chemex filters are notably heavier, about 20-30% more so than most other brands.
These filters excel at removing even the tiniest sediment particles and unwelcome oils and fats.
Crafted from laboratory-grade paper, they’re purpose-built to filter out impurities, ensuring your coffee is free from anything unhealthy or bitter.
As a result, the Chemex brew tends to be exceptionally clear, even more so than the V60, which still offers a fairly clear cup.
On the flip side, Hario V60 filters are specially designed to snugly fit V60 drippers.
While they maintain clarity and balance in the coffee, they offer slightly less flow restriction.
The added bonus is that V60 filters are often easier to come by, which can be a practical advantage.
Chemex vs Hario V60: Design
Both the Chemex and Hario V60 are celebrated for their unique and aesthetically pleasing designs.
The Chemex boasts an elegant hourglass shape with a wooden collar secured by a leather tie.
The glass beaker exudes a pristine, almost clinical cleanliness, while the handcrafted wood collar adds a tactile and visual charm.
Remarkably, the Chemex retains its original 1941 design.
In contrast, the Hario V60 adopts a conical shape that allows for deep coffee ground layering.
Its spiral ridges and unhindered water flow offer versatility—you can pour swiftly for a delicate brew or slowly for a bolder flavor.
The V60’s design is timeless, embodying simplicity, classic elegance, and a touch of modernity.
This ceramic brewer, known for its elegant, conical form, remains a beloved choice in the industry.
Although the Hario V60 has evolved since its 2004 debut, it’s still handcrafted by local artisans, creating a captivating fusion of traditional and contemporary elements.
When it comes to design preference, it’s ultimately a matter of personal choice.
Both brewers are exceptionally well-designed.
However, the Chemex’s simplicity, the interplay of glass and wood, and its recognition by renowned museums give it a slight edge in the design department.
Chemex vs Hario V60: Variety Of Sizes
For the Chemex, you have four size options: 3-cup, 6-cup, 8-cup, and 10-cup.
The 3-cup is ideal for those making coffee for one or two.
Moving up, the 6-cup suits 3-4 people, the 8-cup serves 4-5, and the 10-cup caters to larger gatherings.
On the Hario V60 side, you get three sizes: 01, 02, and 03.
The 02 is the most common and versatile, suitable for brewing 250-300 ml or 500-600 ml of coffee.
If you usually brew smaller amounts, the 01 is more convenient, and for those who need larger servings, the 03 can brew 1-6 cups.
When it comes to material choices, the V60 offers plastic, glass, ceramic, metal, and copper editions.
Basically, if you want more size variety, the Chemex provides an additional option.
Chemex vs Hario V60: Cleaning And Maintenance
When it comes to ease of cleaning, the Hario V60 takes the lead thanks to its shape and materials.
With the V60, the process is straightforward.
After brewing, you can easily dispose of the paper filter, then give the V60, which is notably smaller, a quick rinse.
Many V60 models are fully dishwasher-safe, and they’re designed for easy access to every part for thorough cleaning.
On the other hand, the Chemex requires a bit more effort.
Its hourglass shape can be tricky to clean thoroughly, and you’ll need to remove the wood collar, which can be sensitive to moisture.
While the Chemex is technically top-rack dishwasher-safe, it’s often more durable when hand-washed.
In terms of cleaning, the V60 has the upper hand.
It’s a great choice if you need a coffee maker that’s easy to maintain and travel-friendly.
The non-glass options also reduce the risk of breakage, making it a practical option for on-the-go coffee lovers.
Chemex vs Hario V60: Cleaning And Maintenance
The brewing times for Chemex typically fall in the range of 3.5 to 5 minutes, and it uses thicker filters.
On the flip side, Hario V60 usually takes between 2 minutes and 45 seconds to 3 minutes and 30 seconds to brew.
The V60’s larger hole at the bottom provides flexibility for experimenting with faster or longer brew times.
It’s important to note, though, that brew time alone isn’t the sole determinant of coffee quality.
Other factors like water temperature, coffee-to-water ratio, and grind size also significantly impact the taste and aroma of your brew.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to explore different combinations to find the perfect brewing method that aligns with your taste preferences.
That being said, if you prefer a faster brewing process, the Hario V60 may be the choice for you.
Chemex vs Hario V60: Price
When it comes to pricing, the Hario V60 generally offers a more budget-friendly option, particularly its plastic models.
Chemex coffee makers are known for their quality and unique design, but this is also reflected in their price point.
The Chemex is not as expensive as high-end espresso machines, but it’s not the cheapest option, especially compared to the V60.
Key Similarities Between Chemex and Hario V60
While the Chemex and Hario V60 have their unique characteristics, they share several common elements that make them both popular choices among coffee enthusiasts:
Both the Chemex and Hario V60 employ the pour-over method, a manual drip brewing technique that involves pouring hot water over coffee grounds in a filter.
This method allows for precise control over the brewing process.
Neither the Chemex nor the Hario V60 requires electricity to operate, making them ideal for those who appreciate a more hands-on approach to coffee brewing.
Both coffee makers provide the flexibility to experiment with various brewing variables, including coffee-to-water ratio, grind size, and pouring technique.
This customization allows you to fine-tune your coffee to your taste preferences.
Both use paper filters, although they differ in thickness.
The use of filters helps in producing a cleaner cup of coffee with fewer sediments and oils.
The Chemex and Hario V60 are known for their aesthetically pleasing and iconic designs, making them not only functional brewing devices but also beautiful additions to your coffee setup.
Both are constructed with quality materials.
The Chemex is made of glass and features a wooden collar, while the Hario V60 comes in various materials, including plastic, glass, ceramic, metal, and copper.
Respected by Coffee Enthusiasts
These coffee makers have garnered respect and admiration from coffee aficionados worldwide for their ability to bring out the true flavors of coffee.
Guide to Making Pour-Over Coffee
To make the perfect pour-over coffee, follow this step-by-step guide:
- Fresh coffee beans
- A pour-over coffee maker (e.g., Chemex or Hario V60)
- Paper coffee filters (specific to your coffee maker)
- A kettle
- A digital scale
- A timer
- A gooseneck kettle (optional but highly recommended for better control)
- A burr grinder
- A carafe or coffee mug
Step 1: Choose and Measure Your Coffee Beans
Start with fresh, high-quality coffee beans.
A standard coffee-to-water ratio is 1:16, which means 1 gram of coffee for every 16 grams (or milliliters) of water.
Adjust this ratio based on your taste preferences.
Step 2: Heat Water
Boil water, and then let it cool for about 30 seconds.
The ideal water temperature is around 200°F (93°C).
Use a gooseneck kettle for better control when pouring.
Step 3: Prepare Your Equipment
Place a paper filter in the pour-over coffee maker and set it on top of your carafe or coffee mug.
Step 4: Rinse the Filter
Pour a small amount of hot water through the filter to rinse it.
This helps eliminate any paper taste and preheats the coffee maker.
Discard the rinse water.
Step 5: Grind the Coffee
Grind the coffee beans to a medium-coarse consistency, similar to sea salt.
The grind size affects the brew time and flavor.
Step 6: Add Coffee Grounds
Add the ground coffee to the filter, leveling it out for an even bed.
Step 7: Blooming
Start the timer and pour just enough hot water (about double the coffee weight) to saturate the coffee grounds evenly.
This is called the “bloom” and allows the coffee to release trapped gases.
Let it bloom for 30 seconds.
Step 8: The Pouring Process
Begin pouring the water in a slow, circular motion, starting from the center and moving outward.
Pour water until you reach the desired coffee-to-water ratio, keeping the coffee bed submerged.
Step 9: Control the Flow
Maintain a steady flow rate by pouring slowly.
The total brew time should match the target time based on your grind size (usually 2 to 4 minutes).
Adjust your pour to achieve this time.
Step 10: Wait and Enjoy
Once the water has passed through the coffee grounds, remove the filter and discard it.
Your freshly brewed pour-over coffee is ready to enjoy.
Step 11: Experiment and Fine-Tune
Tastes vary, so don’t hesitate to experiment with your coffee-to-water ratio, grind size, and pouring technique to find the perfect balance that suits your preferences.
Step 12: Clean Up
Rinse the coffee maker and components thoroughly, and let them air dry.
Proper cleaning helps maintain the quality of your pour-over coffee maker.
The Verdict: Choosing Between Chemex and Hario V60
Here’s a simple guide to help you make the right choice:
Buy a Chemex if:
- You appreciate the elegant and timeless design that doubles as kitchen decor.
- You prefer a clean, light, and sweet cup of coffee with minimal sediment and oils.
- You often brew for a larger group or a family.
- You don’t mind investing a bit more for a coffee maker that’s both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Buy a Hario V60 if:
- You’re on a budget and looking for an affordable yet quality pour-over coffee maker.
- You value flexibility and the ability to experiment with different brewing variables.
- You want a coffee maker that’s easy to clean, particularly in its plastic versions.
- You’re into quick and efficient brewing, ideal for those with busy mornings.
Is Chemex easier than V60?
The Chemex is considered more forgiving, making it a better option for beginners.
The Hario V60 requires a bit more skill and precision but offers greater control for experienced users.
Which is better, the Chemex or the Hario filter?
Chemex filters are thicker and remove more oils, resulting in a cleaner, lighter cup.
Hario V60 filters are thinner, allowing more oils and flavors to pass through, leading to a more complex and nuanced taste.
Is Chemex coffee really better?
Chemex is known for its clean and light brew, which some people prefer.
However, “better” coffee is subjective and varies from person to person.
Why is Chemex so special?
The Chemex is renowned for its timeless design and ability to produce a clean, sediment-free cup of coffee.
Its unique hourglass shape, wooden collar, and leather tie make it not only a functional coffee maker but also an iconic piece of coffee brewing history.
Why is the V60 so popular?
The Hario V60’s popularity can be attributed to its versatility and flexibility.
It allows users to experiment with various brewing variables, offering greater control over the brewing process.
Its conical shape and spiral ridges enhance flavor clarity and body in the coffee.
Why is the plastic V60 better?
The plastic version of the Hario V60 is favored for its durability, lower cost, and ease of cleaning.
It’s a budget-friendly option that still delivers quality pour-over coffee.
Is a V60 worth it?
If you appreciate the flexibility and are willing to invest the time to perfect your pour-over technique, the V60 can be a great addition to your coffee arsenal.