I love coffee every way imaginable. Espresso, French press, filter coffee, you name it, I’ll drink it! One thing I also really enjoy is the coffee ritual. Grinding the beans, prepping the filters or the machine and really tweaking the routine to ensure the perfect brew every time. The aromas, the bubbling of the water and the gentle trickle of the thick, dark coffee as it splashes into the mug. Heaven.
I absolutely love pour over coffee makers. They allow complete control over every step of the brewing process to ensure you get a completely customisable cup of java like no other. I’ve always been a huge fan of my V60, my trusty travel companion, but recently bought a Chemex to put it to the test.
Since I own both of these coffee makers a lot of friends have been asking my opinion, Chemex vs V60, which one should I get?
If you need to brew a lot of coffee; chemex is best as it has size options up to 10 cups. If you need something compact and easy to use on the go then V60 is your pal. I’ve covered the similarities and differences between Chemex and V60 in this article so you can choose the right one for you!
WHAT IS A CHEMEX AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
To begin with let’s look at what actually is a chemex? A device that would look at home in any science lab, the chemex appears more like an hourglass than a piece of kitchen equipment.
It is essentially a heatproof glass vase with a wide, funnel-like top.
It has a heatproof grip around the narrow neck so you can pick it up. This is a wooden piece with a leather strap for aesthetic which gives the device it’s attractive, yet functional appearance. There’s also a glass handle option for the minimalist.
To brew the perfect cup in a chemex, sit your filter paper in the funnel top, add ground coffee and pour hot water over in a circular pattern.
The coffee will slowly drip down into the lower portion of the jug and once it’s brewed you throw away the filter to allow pouring. The rim of the funnel has a spout built in for ease.
A great feature of the chemex is you can place the heat resistant glass jug on the stovetop or over a gas flame (both on a very low setting) to keep your coffee warm. If you have an electric ring cooktop then chemex sells a wire grid to protect from breakages.
Chemex coffee makers come in a variety of sizes to brew different volumes of coffee so you’re bound to find one that suits your needs.
CHEMEX Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker
- Heatproof glass
- Gorgeous design
- Easy to store your coffee
- Easy to reheat your coffee
WHAT IS A V60 AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
A V60 coffee maker is a funnel shaped piece that fits over a jug or coffee cup. It’s designed with ridges and a 60 degree slope (hence the name) to allow optimal water flow and coffee expansion.
The V60 is not attached to a jug so can be used over a jug or just a single mug. It’s often made of a transparent glass or pyrex material but can also be made out of ceramic, plastic, copper, stainless steel and other metals.
The V60 uses specially designed conical filters and works in a pour-over fashion similar to the chemex. You add the ground coffee and gently pour water over. Once the coffee is brewed you remove the whole funnel, discard the filter and enjoy your fresh cup of joe.
The benefit of the removal funnel is that you can brew the java straight into your cup or travel mug so no heat is lost to the jug. The V60 varies in price depending on material chosen so can be a good budget option, especially if you choose the plastic ones. On the other extreme you can buy lots of add ons such as a drip stand or jug designed to fit the V60 if you are a coffee gadget enthusiast.
Hario Ceramic Coffee Dripper
- Durable ceramic body
- Spiral ribs for maximum coffee extraction and optimal flow
- Simple and effective design from Japan
- Small and portable
The Filter Cone: A Handier Non-Branded V60
Before Hario brought the V60 to the world, there was something very similar which fit the exact same purpose. It’s called the Filter Cone.
A Filter Cone works exactly like a V60. You can sit it on either a mug or a jug, pop a filter paper in it, dump in coffee, and pour over hot water.
What is the difference between a filter cone and V60?
A filter cone and V60 are shaped slightly differently to accept differently shaped filter papers. A filter cone will accept the standard, common, filter papers; the same filter papers you would use in a drip machine. Whereas a V60 is shaped for proprietary filter papers.
So it is easier to find filter papers for a filter cone than a V60. Filter papers for drip machines and filter cones are available in most supermarkets. Whereas you will often need to order filter papers for a V60 online; they are less common in shops.
OXO BREW Single Serve Dripper Auto-Drip Pour-Over Coffee Maker with Water Tank
- Auto-drip tank, just fill it and leave it. Effortless pour-over coffee.
- Accepts regular, flat-bottomed, drip machine paper filters
- Measurement marking on the tank for easy measurement and a consistently great brew
- Easy clean up
WHY POUR OVER COFFEE?
Both the Chemex and the V60 are what we call “pour-over” coffee brew methods. The next question is, why opt for pour-over when there are so many other brewing methods?
What I like the most about pour-over coffee is the individuality you can apply to every cup. You can adjust every step of the brewing process to completely suit how you enjoy your coffee best.
A slower pour means a gentler extraction so the full coffee flavor is achieved and none of the bitterness. The other option is to fill the funnel to the brim quickly and let the water slowly seep out before repeating. This will give a less intense brew.
You can also adjust the water temperature and then the coffee grind to water ratio and gradually increment it towards personal perfection.
It’s a good idea to gently pour enough hot water over the coffee to wet the grounds and then let it sit for 30 seconds. This allows the coffee to “bloom” and expand slightly before you brew it.
Pour-over coffee is a form of creative expression and can really awaken your artistic side when it comes to your ideal cup of joe.
A major difference between a Chemex and a V60 is the grind size of coffee used. For Chemex, a medium grind is ideal. This is good if you have bought pre-ground beans. A Chemex is quite adaptable if your grind is a bit off and you’ll still brew a delicious cup either way.
The V60 is a bit more delicate when you select the grind size. The coarser grind gives a more mellow cup of java whereas the finer grind gives a much more intense flavor. If you like to play around with getting the ideal grind size then a V60 will respond enthusiastically.
Another major difference when it comes to the V60 vs the Chemex is the funnel design. The ridges on the cone of the V60 creates a slight gap between the filter paper and the wall of the funnel. This space allows the coffee to gently seep down the edges and into your cup.
The Chemex has smooth walls so all the coffee pools in the bottom and exits through the designated spout. This is how the delicate differences in grind size display their effects.
So what does this mean for my cup of coffee? Well, if you like a consistent, easy to repeat flavor then the Chemex provides a more stable cup of java. If you like an individual, modifiable cup of coffee then a V60 is for you.
The material used in the production of these coffee brew methods is another point of discussion. The Chemex is a clear glass piece, similar in appearance to lab equipment. Its simple design is a statement in any kitchen and it fits into any coffee brew station without a fuss. The handle is a sleek wooden piece with a leather strap or a delicate curved glass handle. They’re instantly recognizable once you gain some familiarity with them and look very sophisticated.
The V60 is very versatile when it comes to design. From the sleek glass look to the bold ceramic design, they can fit in well if you choose one to suit your style. The cheap plastic ones, although perfectly functional, look cheap (surprised?!). These are great to have in your desk drawer at work or to have on the go in a camper or alongside a travel mug but are certainly not an attractive addition to a modern coffee brew station.
The Chemex uses different filter papers compared to the V60 with the Chemex using a thicker paper. This gives a smoother brew which is great if that’s what you prefer. The only issue is the Chemex papers are less common than the V60 and may be more difficult to find
DESIGN VS PRACTICALITY
The final decider between a Chemex and a V60 comes down to aesthetic vs practicality. The Chemex (in my opinion) is a beautifully crafted vessel that really speaks for itself. It feels nice to hold and makes a delicious cup of java to boot. The coffee is reliable and repeatable.
The standard V60 is not so aesthetically inclined. It looks functional and minimal rather than sleek and sophisticated but the cup of joe you can produce makes up for this. It’s extremely controllable and it’s my personal favorite when it comes to pour-over coffee.
It’s very portable and compact so the practicality makes it a great travel partner. The only downside of the V60 compared to the Chemex is that you can only make 1-2 cups of coffee per filter as opposed to the 10 cup option that Chemex has designed.
In the end, it really comes down to personal preference.
The Chemex is ideal if you like consistency. It’s an eye-catching coffee maker that will really add a touch of sophistication to your pour-over brew. It has different size options so good if you need to make a larger batch of coffee.
The V60 is more adaptable, versatile, and controllable. Grind size and pouring method really affect flavor and there are lots of different materials and price options to suit any needs. It’s compact and great for travel or work if it’s just 1-2 cups you require.