You’ve seen these comparisons before that compare the Chemex brewing method to Hario V60s so often, it’s practically a meme.
But, is there any difference between these two when it comes to the pour-over method?
Even if you don’t understand coffee brewing, this in-depth article will help you to learn more about the pour-over method and why these two brands are always highly debated.
Keep reading more about our Chemex VS V60 comparison.
- What is pour-over coffee?
- How to make pour-over coffee
- What is a Chemex?
- What is Hario V60?
- What's the difference between Chemex and V60?
- What kind of filters are used?
What is pour-over coffee?
The easiest way to describe pour-over coffee is that it’s a brewing method that is performed by hand and not through any machine automation. Although each brewing method will slightly differ from person to person, there are subtle changes that cause the coffee grounds to extract flavors during the entire pour-over process. This is why there are so many different pouring styles that are used to get the right amount of coffee extraction.
Typically, pour-over coffee starts with a brewing vessel that holds a filter and coffee grounds and allows hot water to be literally poured over the coffee grounds to release the coffee. Many people do not know that coffee grounds go through a couple of different stages when these grounds come in contact with hot water. This is where careful timing is needed to pour the hot water in stages so that pure coffee is released into a lower vessel that’s waiting below.
Pour-over coffee is also a lesson in patience, and learning how to spot selective signs of what your coffee grounds are telling you is vital. It’s easy to follow instructions from a tutorial video, yet your coffee ground grind size may differ in humidity, room temperature, hot water temperature, and type of coffee you’re brewing. Needless to say, if you learn how to brew your own coffee, you don’t need to rely on coffee houses to get your favorite cup anymore!
Pour-over coffee is only one type of brewing method. Check out more about the different types of coffee that you can enjoy.
How to make pour-over coffee
To make any kind of pour-over coffee, you’ll need to choose a brewing vessel that works best for you. There are many different brand names but essentially the function is the same. The easiest version is a simple brewing vessel that sits on top of your favorite coffee mug. These are also called single-serve pour-over brewers that brew a single cup of coffee only. You will also need to find coffee filters that will fit into that cone-shaped vessel.
Other items that are very helpful include a gooseneck kettle which holds the hot water used to pout onto your coffee grounds. It can be electric or non-electric, but the most important part is bringing your water temperature up to a restricted level that isn’t too hot for brewing your coffee. A digital scale is also important to keep track of the number of grams of coffee grounds and total water used for brewing.
The rest of what you need to know about brewing is patience and little tips and tricks that help make each cup of coffee taste perfect. The first steps to making pour-over coffee might sound confusing, but is actually a simple process of elimination. To first brew your coffee correctly, you want to allow the best conditions to help your coffee to bloom. The second step is helping to create a natural vacuum between the coffee grounds and the filter.
This is so that the brewed coffee drains evenly into your coffee mug. The rest of your task is not specifically keeping an eye on your extraction time or watching a stopwatch, but enjoying the process of making coffee for yourself. If it feels like work, then you’re not doing it correctly. This is why you often see so many coffee shop baristas who always appear bitter and unhappy just like the coffee that they’re serving.
As you’ll find each step listed here provides revealing tips that differ from the Chemex Vs V60 brewing methods. As subtle as these differences might be, what you’ll learn from brewing and extraction methods will greatly improve the quality of your coffee at home.
Check out how to make a good pour-over coffee in the video below.
What is a Chemex?
The Chemex coffee maker is both a brewing vessel and carafe that is considered all-in-one for coffee brewing. This glass vessel has a wooden neck collar that slips between the middle and divides the upper brewing vessel from the carafe underneath. It looks more scientific than anything else, resembling a chemistry beaker. It was invented back in 1951 by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm who used the German method of Bauhaus design to introduce Chemex to the public.
Although Chemex has been highly praised for its simple beauty and design, by the 1950s, inventor Schlumbohm insisted that Chemex become a product that is seen favorably in the public eye. He even went so far as to give Chemex coffee makers away to famous people in society including Charles Addams (creator of the Addams Family), in hopes that Addams would place a Chemex coffee maker into one of his cartoon drawings.
Among those who were the first to boast about the Chemex included Lyndon B. Johnson and Harry S. Truman. Even British author Ian Fleming even included his super-spy 007 (James Bond), that Bond would always enjoy strong coffee brewed from a Chemex- in the novel “From Russia With Love”. The original Chemex design was officially displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City because of its iconic simplicity.
What is Hario V60?
This is another popular coffee maker that is slightly different than the Chemex. Instead of a 2-in-1 design, this is a coffee vessel that is placed over a coffee cup when you brew your coffee. The V60 is made from temperature-resistant glass and sometimes ceramic materials. What gives the Hario V60 a different look than the Chemex is a series of spiral-shaped ribs along the inside of this cone-shaped vessel.
What these ribs do is theoretically allow air to escape when the coffee begins its initial bloom. After this, the grounds must be saturated with hot water so the coffee will drain into a coffee mug using a combination of gravity and a balanced vacuum seal between the filter and the coffee brewer. The grind size for coffee beans using the V60 is variable along with the water pouring timetable.
Unlike the Chemex coffee maker, the Hario V60 was a recent innovation that didn’t appear until 2004. The brewing vessel is overtly symbolic of a V-shape with a 60-degree angle and served as the inspiration for the V60 name. Hario is simply an old Japanese glass factory that’s been around since 1921 and produced glassware products. Through careful marketing that emerged in the mid-2000s, Hario became popular at a time when coffee houses were popular.
It was embraced by young and hip baristas as a new era in coffee house appeal and was rather overt and gimmicky due to the ribbed brewing vessel and over-the-mug design. It quickly gained popularity since it could be made from glass, plastic, ceramic, stainless steel, or copper. It’s a portable coffee-making solution to have in your home to make a single cup of coffee right away.
What’s the difference between Chemex and V60?
The difference in coffee that is produced by the Chemex and the Hario V60 is dramatically different. The V60 is designed to create a full-bodied cup of coffee whereas the Chemex will produce a cleaner and lighter cup of coffee. The main difference is that a Chemex uses thicker coffee filters. Because the interior of the Chemex is smooth, the filter will stick to the sides of the glass.
This creates a seal where air doesn’t allow the coffee to drain just from the bottom, but from the sealed surface that touches the glass. This is where a gravity-like vacuum is drawing the finished coffee through the filter. It’s a lot closer to capillary action which will take a certain amount of time to drain and filter coffee. The method of how the V60 drains is using airflow to increase filtering times.
This is why the taste difference is stronger and bolder with a V60 since the grind size can be variable. A Chemex coffee maker is much better at specific types of ground coffee where the grind is larger. The V60 can handle smaller-sized coffee grounds due to the additional airflow and gravity of how the liquid is drained.
Grinding your coffee beans yourself is going to be the most important part of getting the freshest flavors possible. If you buy pre-ground coffee, you can’t control the difference in coffee grounds which may or may not be using a conical burr grinder. This allows coffee beans to be ground into small bits that are all uniformly sized. If you have coffee grounds that aren’t uniform, this will absolutely affect the brewing and blooming ratios.
You want to have coffee grounds that all stick to the same size to get them to all bloom at the same time rather than smaller pieces blooming before the larger pieces.
Variety of size
One of the advantages of using select pour-over coffee makers is being able to choose a brewing size vessel that will make more than a single cup of coffee. The Chemex coffee maker has a model that can produce as many as 10 to 13 cups of coffee at a time. The V60 has a model that can produce as many as 6-cups. Some models are made for pour-over that are similar to the V60 that can produce 10 or more cups.
You’ll need to adjust the number of coffee grounds to the number of cups you intend to make. Keep in mind, that whenever you have more coffee to make, the longer it will take to brew. This will combine patience and enough hot water in a kettle to brew large amounts of coffee.
Many pour-over coffee makers will all feature some innovative brewing vessel designs that are all boasting a better cup of coffee. It really all comes down to preference over the funnel design. Even when you hear that you can have selective tasting coffee, this is also a matter of adjusting the grind size and selecting a type of roast. Another aspect is the type of filter that is thinner or thicker, which further impacts the overall coffee taste.
Funnel design does affect and increase coffee flavor if there are raised ribs that introduce airflow, so if you like refined coffee, then funnels that use capillary action are recommended instead.
It goes without saying that the quality of your coffee should be reliable and plentiful depending on where you live. Look for sources that aren’t charging you a lot of money for whole beans. If they come freshly roasted, this makes it easier for you to store them inside vacuum-sealed mylar bags. You might also consider roasting the beans yourself if you enjoy home roasting.
The whole idea is to buy freshly roasted beans that need to be stored so the freshness is preserved for long periods. Another important point is to prevent your coffee beans from becoming stale or rancid. If this happens, you’ll be able to smell this immediately after the beans are ground up, and will make your coffee taste terrible. It won’t kill you, but rancid coffee beans will smell musty and taste totally flat for flavor.
Ease of use
Always buy a pour-over coffee maker that is easy for you to handle. Some people don’t like the bulky beaker design that Chemex offers which is why V60 and other pour-over coffee makers will offer this type of model. Feeling comfortable with your coffee maker also should include the brewing accessories that you’re using. You need to feel confident using a gooseneck kettle, a digital scale, and anything else that you add to your coffee-making supplies.
Get familiar with your coffee maker and learn how to go with the flow. You never know when your coffee grounds might react differently than you’re used to. So the overall method should be easy and simple to reproduce with little effort.
You’ll hear a lot about extraction when it comes to the pour-over method. This is really talking about how the coffee is extracted and released from the coffee grounds. Extraction includes what is called the bloom. This introduces hot water (no hotter than 205 degrees Fahrenheit) onto your coffee grounds that will saturate and expand the coffee grounds which release carbon dioxide.
Once you see this foaming occur, this is called the bloom and you can immediately smell that first whiff of fresh coffee brewing. You must wait until the coffee stops foaming and starts to settle back down in the pour-over brewing vessel. After this, you are ready to add more hot water to continue and complete your brewed coffee.
Brew times will differ for various reasons when the coffee is being filtered through select pout over coffee makers or has a thicker filter. It can also take longer due to a finer grind that takes longer to filter likewise. The rule of thumb is that course grinds take less time to brew over finer ground coffee. If you choose to have a pour-over coffee maker that has raised ribs, this will increase the brewing time additionally.
Ease of cleaning
If you need to compare which is easier to clean the difference between Chemex Vs V60 is a clear choice. The V60 is always easier since you don’t have to reach inside the Chemex carafe to scrub out any leftover coffee that may have dried inside. You’ll certainly need a long bottleneck brush to clean this faster, but a generous soaking with a tablespoon of baking soda works just fine.
No matter what material your pour-over coffee maker is made from, it needs to be handled carefully. All glass will crack or break if it’s mishandled. The same applies to ceramic, plastic, and even certain metals like stainless steel or copper. You also must be extra careful with glass when it’s still hot and empty. Running cold water into a hot carafe will immediately crack it due to the thermal shock. Always allow your coffee maker to cool before cleaning it.
It won’t be a big surprise to see that name brands including Hario and Chemex will come with a set price. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a good deal sold online from Amazon or perhaps from your local Target or Walmart. Unless you start looking at import pour-over coffee makers from Germany or France, you can figure that most of the general models will be priced according to any budget.
What kind of filters are used?
You don’t have to stick with the filters that are recommended for your pour-over coffee maker. This allows you to experiment and source cheaper coffee filters that might come from discount stores or clearance sales. Because bleached white paper filters tend to taste less pulpy than brown unbleached filters, many new home coffee brewers make the mistake of buying unbleached (brown paper) at first because it looks more eco-friendly.
Brown paper filters simply need a second or third rinse before adding coffee grounds into your brewing vessel. This helps to heat up your vessel before the initial coffee extraction starts, making it easier to make your coffee bloom.
Can one use a Chemix with V60 papers?
It’s possible to use V60 filters on your Chemex vessel except for an unexpected problem. Since V60 filters are thinner than the thicker Chemex filters, the initial wet-out will create a seal that keeps the water inside the carafe. It will take a bit longer for water to drain before you can add your coffee grounds. It will be better to lift up one side and pour out the hot water as soon as possible to retain the vessel heat better.
Why is Chemex so popular?
The shape of Chemex is primarily the main reason why it became so popular over the years. It’s also been around since the early 50s, so it’s had enough time to become part of a respected and iconic fanbase. It is further appealing to look at and will remind people that coffee-making is a bit of a scientific experience too. Those who want to have a coffee maker that brings up discussion will always choose a Chemex.
The Final Verdict
Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of how coffee is brewed using these two pour-over coffee makers. Try one or the other or try using both to see which one feels better or tastes better according to your expectations. You can’t go wrong trying both but it’s simply not fair to compare Chemex Vs V60 for all of the other reviews the internet spits out.
We feel it’s only fair that you have confidence in being the best homebrewer based on the info you’ve learned here.
Giacomo is an Italian living in Shanghai since 2016. After working as a barista in Italy, he started to be more interested in the different types of coffee, beans, and the ways to prepare this ancient beverage. He founded Authority Coffee and he is currently on a mission to find the best coffee in China.