Best Chemex Coffee Makers

Updated July 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

11 Models Considered
68 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
154 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best Chemex coffee makers

Last Updated July 2020

The simplest way to make coffee is to pour hot water over grinds and enjoy. No electricity is needed, but precision counts. One of the most popular and timeless coffee makers, the Chemex coffee maker, allows you to do just that. 

A product of elegant design and German engineering, the Chemex coffee maker offers a straightforward process for brewing delicious, tasty coffee. It was created nearly 80 years ago, and the design is the same as it’s always been. The coffee maker, which also happens to be the carafe, has an hourglass shape and is made from high-quality, heat-resistant borosilicate glass. The standard model comes with a wood collar and leather tie to provide an insulated handle for pouring as well as an elegant look.

Chemex coffee makers take specific Chemex filters. Grinds are placed in the filter, and hot water is poured over the filter as coffee brews in the lower portion of the glass. Our guide will explain the process required to brew coffee in a Chemex coffee maker as well as the sizes and features available. Cheers!

Chemex also offers accessories to pair with your coffee maker, including brushes, cleaners, colorful leather ties, and even a handblown glass water kettle.

Key considerations

How to use

Brewing coffee in a Chemex coffee maker requires some care and consideration. In exchange, you are rewarded with a delectable and bold-flavored beverage. Use medium coarse coffee grinds in your Chemex filter. Make sure the filter is folded properly and fits snugly at the top of the coffee maker. Add the grinds, and boil the corresponding amount of water. Pour a little bit of hot water over them to let them bloom; this takes about 30 seconds. Pour the rest of the water, keeping the grinds drenched while not pouring so much that you reach the brim. Wait until all the water has gone through the grinds to discard the filter. Then, enjoy your cup.

Chemex coffee makers come with instructions, and they are also available online. However, it’s best to have an understanding of the process before you buy one so you know how much effort will be required.

Capacity

The classic Chemex series comes in 3-, 6-, 8-, and 10-cup varieties. Consider how many people will be drinking and how much they will be drinking. The brewing process requires a bit of patience and measuring, and you don’t want to waste coffee filters. If you make too much, bear in mind that the coffee can stay fresh when sealed. Note that Chemex considers one cup of coffee to equal 5 ounces of liquid.

Size

Chemex coffee makers stand under 1 foot tall, and the widest is less than 6 inches in diameter. The smallest option is 3 inches in diameter and just over 8 inches tall. This makes Chemex coffee makers easy to store, wield, and transport.

Filters

Chemex coffee makers are best used with Chemex coffee filters. These cost around $20 per set of 100, which is more than the traditional paper filters used in most coffee makers. You may be able to use a regular filter, but your coffee will not taste as good. Chemex coffee filters have a certain thickness that works to remove excess oils, impurities, and residue from the grounds. 

DID YOU KNOW?

While it may seem like any hot water will do, the optimal brewing temperature for coffee in a Chemex coffee maker is 200°F.

Features

Glass handle series

You can opt to purchase versions of the original glass-handled Chemex coffee maker. This pot comes in 3-, 6-, 8-, and 10-cup varieties. The glass handle is made of the same material as the coffee maker itself and is resistant to heat. Some people find it easier to pour from, but others may not embrace the aesthetic of the glass handle. 

Handblown series

The most elegant and carefully crafted series is the handblown Chemex coffee maker series. These come in 3-, 5-, 8-, and 13-cup sizes. The handblown 13-cup Chemex coffee maker is one of the largest coffee makers Chemex produces.

Ottomatic

Chemex offers a single automatic coffee maker with its own unique twist. Dubbed the “Ottomatic,” it functions like a traditional automatic coffee maker, utilizing a water reservoir while also employing the Chemex filters and carafe. The machine heats the water to the ideal temperature, pours it at a consistent rate, and keeps your beverage warm on the included hot plate. You could buy just the machine and use your own separately purchased Chemex carafe, or you could buy a bundle that includes a carafe and a machine.  

Tie

The traditional Chemex tie can be purchased in the original leather option in a wide array of colorful alternatives. The possibilities include kelly green, saffron yellow, royal blue, and crimson red. The tie is thin and subtle, but a little color can go a long way toward livening up coffee time and accenting your space.

DID YOU KNOW?

Chemex filters come in circular and square shapes. Both are the same thickness and offer the same results. The only difference is aesthetics.

Accessories

Coffee: Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason Blend
With a new coffee maker, it’s time to explore all the great coffee wonders around the world. This dark roast is bold, rich, and delicious — a perfect blend to grind up and use in a Chemex coffee maker.

Coffee mugs: Francois et Mimi Ceramic Mugs
Some people think a ceramic mug is the best way to enjoy a flavorful cup of hot coffee. We love these colorful options from Francois et Mimi.

Burr grinder: [asin=B00OXGXW8O]Breville Smart Grinder Pro[/asin]
A burr grinder offers a more consistent grind, which in turn makes tasty, flavorful coffee. We love this high-quality option from Breville.

Travel mug: Thermos Stainless King
Take your tasty coffee on the move with a trusty travel mug. This option from Thermos is easy to use and keeps your drink hot for five hours.

DID YOU KNOW?

A coffee “bloom” occurs when you allow carbon dioxide to escape from the beans by pouring hot water over it. This short process removes any sour taste and improves aroma.

Chemex coffee maker prices

Inexpensive: For under $40, you should be able to find a small Chemex coffee maker, one that makes three cups of java, with or without a glass handle.

Mid-range: Most Chemex coffee makers cost between $40 and $50. For this price, you can get many 6-, 8-, and 10-cup options with or without a handle.

Expensive: For over $50 and even as high as $100, you’ll find Chemex coffee makers in the handblown series. This price range also features bundled products that include filters with the coffee maker. For well over $100, you can purchase the Ottomatic option.

Tips

  • Store your coffee. Don’t worry if you don’t finish the pot. The carafe can be sealed and stored in the refrigerator, and your coffee should stay fresh and tasty for about a day.

  • Use a medium coarse grind. Too fine a grind, and the coffee may brew too slowly. If the grounds are overly coarse, the water will pass through too quickly. Either way, the coffee won’t taste as good as if you use a medium coarse grind with your Chemex pot.

  • Use a burr grinder. Blade grinders can lead to unevenly chopped grinds, which is a bigger problem when using a coarse grind. A burr mill produces the evenly sized grinds that are ideal for a tasty cup of coffee, especially a Chemex.

  • Pre-wet the filter. Pour a bit of hot water over the filter before placing the grinds inside. This helps remove any loose paper particles or fibers.

The handblown series from Chemex is so highly regarded, it has been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

FAQ

Q. How should I clean my Chemex coffee maker?
A. Chemex coffee makers are rather easy to clean, and keeping yours clean allows you to always have a delicious cup when you want it. You can choose to put your coffee maker in the dishwasher, but make sure the leather tie has been removed and that it won’t tip over or be knocked into, as this can damage the glass. 

Rinsing your Chemex carafe with warm water and soap would also suffice. Swirl the soapy water inside the coffee maker, or use a brush to get the hard-to-reach spots. Clean out the coffee maker once a week and whenever you change coffee types.
 

Q. What type of coffee is best used in a Chemex coffee maker?
A. You can use any type of coffee beans and get a great-tasting result. Light, medium, and dark roasts are all welcome, as are flavored coffees. Just make sure the grind is medium coarse. Chemex coffee makers work well for cold brew coffees also, and they can be used with fresh loose leaf tea. However, due to the size of the grind, the Chemex coffee maker doesn’t make quality espresso.

 

Q. How do I keep the coffee warm?
A. Once brewed, the coffee will stay hot for some time. However, you may not get to it right away. You can place your Chemex coffee maker on a glass-top stove or a gas stove on low. If you have an electric coil stove, purchase a wire grid from Chemex that facilitates heating up the coffee maker safely.

You can also get a little creative. A towel or cloth wrapped around the carafe will keep it insulated a bit longer. You could also place your coffee in a warm bath in the sink to keep the temperature up.

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