Which is Better, the Hario v60 or the Chemex?

Pour over coffee bars produce a much better extraction from coffee grounds than a drip pot and arguably even a french press.  They partially use the full immersion method (like press pots do), but because of the clean pour through they don’t leave the sometimes ‘earthy’ essence that a press pot so frequently offers.

Many people, myself included, much prefer the full bodied flavor of a cup of pour over coffee to french presses (even the Bodum Chambord – which we own and use regularly).

And yet, the question must be asked, which is better – the Hario v60 ceramic dripper or the glass Chemex?

We happen to own both, so, having used both of them quite a lot and having developed significant experience with them we have a pretty solid understanding of what makes them differ.
To the untrained eye it would seem like there is only one difference: size.  The glass Chemex makes six cups of coffee (and you can even order ones that serve more if you want).  The Hario, on the other hand, only serves one cup at a time, really.  You set the ceramic dripper on top of your favorite coffee mug, load the filter with freshly ground coffee, and pour hot water over it.

The Hario v60 is certainly simpler, easier to use, and easier to clean up.  Which is a major factor in comparison.

For the absolute newbie to making high quality coffee at home I highly recommend the Hario v60.

I use mine every day, it demands a relatively fine grind setting so that the water has a good opportunity to fully extract all of the nuances and flavor notes from the bean.  It will slowly soak through the grounds, leaving a cup full of very strong (but not the least bit bitter) coffee.

I think I will always love my Hario v60 – it’s great when traveling too considering it isn’t fragile at all, is only one piece, and can just be rinsed off and reused.  Awesome.

The Chemex on the other hand was designed by a chemist, strictly for the purpose of extracting the best cup of coffee known to mankind – it is made of hand blown glass, and has a wooden handle that sits around the neck of the carafe, allowing the entire Chemex to expand ever so slightly with the heat of water pouring through the grounds.

The filters alone for the Chemex are a little complicated to use, they are folded by hand and made wet prior to being placed inside the carafe – where the coffee (which should be ground slightly more course than for the Hario) is placed before dousing hot water over the whole contraption.

The Chemex takes some practice, but is well worth the investment of time and energy.

Conclusion?

Personally, we prefer the Hario v60 because of its simplicity of use and the strong but not bitter coffee that it produces.  But by and large the Chemex can perform a better extraction.

If you are looking for a strong cup of coffee that doesn’t take much mastery to make I highly recommend the Hario v60 ceramic dripper.

On the other hand, if you have the patience to try the Chemex out a few times, it can produce an absolutely breath taking result and will show flavor notes and nuances of a freshly roasted bean that the Hario cannot.

My name is Peter – I blog about coffee at www.vvlgar.com, with my Resident Cat, Cicero, and our collection of fun and sometimes unusual coffee gadgets.