There are many different ways to brew coffee. The Chemex coffee maker is one of the most popular methods, beloved by coffee enthusiasts for its simple design and ability to brew a delicious cup of coffee.
But what exactly is the Chemex coffee maker, how does it work, and which one should you choose?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Chemex handblown vs classic coffee makers to help you decide which one is right for you.
I’ve been brewing coffee at home for years, and I’ve tried many different methods. The Chemex is one of my personal favorites, so I’m excited to share my insights with you today.
Let’s get into it!
- What is the Chemex Coffee Maker?
- The Classic Chemex Coffee Maker
- The Pros and Cons of the Classic Chemex
- The Chemex Handblown Coffee Maker
- The Pros and Cons of the Handblown Chemex
- What's Common Between the Two Chemex Coffee Makers?
- Chemex Handblown vs Classic: What Are the Differences?
- Final Verdict: Which Chemex to Buy?
What is the Chemex Coffee Maker?
The Chemex coffee maker is a pour-over style coffee maker, which means you brew your coffee by pouring hot water over the grounds, then letting it drip through a filter into the carafe below.
The Chemex coffee maker was invented in 1941 by German chemist Dr. Peter Schlumbohm. It’s made of non-porous borosilicate glass, which doesn’t absorb coffee oils the way that other materials like ceramic can.
This means your coffee will have a cleaner cup without any unwanted flavors from the coffee maker itself.
This pour-over has a simple, elegant design that has made it a popular choice for coffee connoisseurs worldwide.
Many coffee lovers prefer this coffee maker because it’s easy to use and produces a delicious cup of coffee. It’s also very forgiving, so even if you’re new to brewing coffee at home, you’ll be able to get great results with the Chemex.
While the handblown and classic Chemex coffee makers follow the same basic brewing principles, there are some critical differences between them. I’ll go into more detail about those differences later in this article.
But first, let’s take a closer look at the classic Chemex coffee maker.
The Classic Chemex Coffee Maker
The classic Chemex coffee maker is made of non-porous borosilicate glass, with a wood collar and leather tie. It has a simple, elegant design that has made it a popular choice for coffee connoisseurs around the world.
The classic Chemex coffee maker is available in four different sizes:
- 3 cups
- 6 cups
- 8 cups
- 10 cups
The coffee maker is hourglass-shaped, with a wide bottom and a narrow top. There’s a spout on one side of the coffee maker, where you’ll pour the hot water over the coffee grounds.
The coffee maker comes with a special bonded filter, which you’ll need to place inside the coffee maker before the brewing process. The paper filter catches the coffee grounds and prevents them from ending up in your cup.
The manual pour-over coffee maker is easy to use. Simply add ground coffee to the filter and pour hot water over the grounds. The coffee will drip through the filter and into the carafe below.
The Pros and Cons of the Classic Chemex
After using my six-cup coffee maker classic Chemex for many years, I can confidently say that it’s an excellent choice for coffee drinkers who want to brew delicious coffee at home.
Classic Chemex Pros
- Easy to use: The classic Chemex is easy to use, even for coffee beginners.
- Produces a delicious cup of coffee: The coffee maker makes a delicious cup of coffee with a clean flavor and no bitterness. If used with patented Chemex filters, coffee brewed in the Chemex coffee maker is guaranteed free of any coffee oils or residues.
- It is non-porous: The coffee maker is made of non-porous borosilicate glass, which doesn’t collect smell or residue like other coffee makers.
- It’s attractive: The classic Chemex coffee maker has a simple, elegant design that looks great on the kitchen counter.
- It’s available in different sizes: The coffee maker is available in four different sizes (3 cups, 6 cups, 8 cups, and 10 cups), so you can choose the perfect size for your needs.
- Dishwasher safe: The glass part of the coffee maker is dishwasher safe, so you can easily clean it.
Classic Chemex Cons
- The coffee maker doesn’t come with paper filters: You’ll need to purchase paper filters separately.
- Handwashing can be tricky: The hourglass shape of the coffee maker can make accessing the bottom of the carafe difficult when handwashing.
- It’s made of a thinner glass: While I love how the coffee maker looks, I worry about it breaking.
- Doesn’t retain heat: I often find that the coffee in the carafe isn’t as hot as I would like it to be. This is due to the coffee maker’s thin glass carafe, which doesn’t retain heat.
The Chemex Handblown Coffee Maker
I’ve been using the Chemex handblown version for a few months now, and I have to say that I’m impressed.
The coffee maker is made in small batches by professional glassblowers. It’s made of Croatian borosilicate glass, which is thicker and more durable than the classic Chemex glass.
The pour-over coffee maker also has the same wooden collar and leather tie as the classic version.
The Chemex handblown series is available in four different sizes:
- 3 cups
- 5 cups
- 8 cups
- 13 cups
While the design of the coffee maker is similar to the classic version, the thicker glass carafe sets the handblown coffee maker apart. This means that the coffee stays hot for longer, and there’s less chance of the coffee maker breaking.
The Pros and Cons of the Handblown Chemex
As someone who loves coffee, I was excited to try the Chemex handblown coffee maker.
Handblown Chemex Pros
- The coffee stays hot for longer: I’ve found that the coffee stays hot for longer when brewed in the handblown coffee maker. This is due to the thick glass.
- There’s less of a chance of the coffee maker breaking: The thicker glass carafe is less likely to break than the classic Chemex version.
- It doesn’t collect smell or residue: The coffee maker is made of non-porous borosilicate glass, which doesn’t collect smell or chemical residue.
- Produces a full-bodied coffee: If you use patented CHEMEX® bonded filters, the coffee maker has the perfect cup of coffee, with a clean flavor and no bitterness.
- It’s available in four different sizes: You can choose the perfect size for your needs.
Handblown Chemex Cons
- You’ll need to purchase paper filters separately: The coffee maker doesn’t come with paper filters.
- Can be tricky to clean: Just like its predecessor, the handblown coffee maker can be tricky to clean the bottom of the carafe.
- It’s more expensive: The handblown coffee maker is more expensive than the classic Chemex coffee maker.
- Differences in size and design: Since the handblown coffee maker is handcrafted, there may be slight variations in size and design from one coffee maker to another.
What’s Common Between the Two Chemex Coffee Makers?
A few things are common between the two pour-over coffee makers. Both coffee makers:
- Come with a wooden collar and leather tie.
- Are available in four different sizes.
- Are made of borosilicate glass.
- Use pour-over coffee brewing methods.
- Produce a clean, full-bodied cup of coffee.
- Use the same patented filters.
- Need paper filters (sold separately).
- Have the same hourglass shape.
- Are made in the USA.
Chemex Handblown vs Classic: What Are the Differences?
To summarize, the table below lists the key differences between the Chemex handblown and classic coffee makers:
|Differences||Chemex Handblown||Chemex Classic|
|Price||More expensive||Less expensive|
|Heat Retention||Better||Not as good|
|Chance of Breaking||Less||More|
|Sizes Available||3, 5, 8, and 13-cup sizes||3, 6, 8, and 10-cup sizes|
|Design||Handcrafted, so each one has slight differences in size and design||Mass-produced hence a uniform size and design|
Final Verdict: Which Chemex to Buy?
Having coffee brewed in a Chemex coffee maker is truly an experience. If you’re new to the coffee world, I recommend starting with the classic Chemex coffee maker. It’s less expensive and easier to use.
Once you get a feel for brewing coffee in a Chemex coffee maker, you can upgrade to the handblown version. It’s a beautiful coffee maker that will make a great addition to your kitchen.
If you’re considering other Pour-Over methods like the Hario V60, I recommend reading my Chemex vs Hario V60 comparison article. And If you’re considering making a richer and more concentrated brew, check out my Chemex vs Aeropress comparison guide.
Happy coffee brewing.
What Size Chemex to Get?
I recommend getting the 8-cup Chemex coffee maker. It’s the perfect size for most coffee drinkers. But you may want to get the 13-cup coffee maker if you drink a lot of coffee. And if you don’t drink coffee often, the 3-cup or 5-cup would be a better choice.
How Do I Choose a Chemex?
When choosing a Chemex coffee maker, you should keep a few things in mind. First, think about the size of the coffee maker you need. You’ll need a bigger one if you drink a lot of coffee.
Second, think about the type of coffee maker you want. There are four types of Chemex coffee makers: the classic series, the glass handle series, the handblown series, and the Chemex electronic coffee maker. Choose the one that best fits your needs.