Is Chemex Better Than French Press?

by Peter Taylor | Last Updated: 25 February 2021

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Is Chemex Better Than French Press?

What’s a perfect cup of coffee for you? How you make your cup of coffee is vital to get your desired taste. So, which is better between Chemex and the French press?

Chemex is better than French press if you want clean coffee with delicate flavors. It also features a pleasing aesthetic. French press coffee maker is better to brew a quick rich cup of coffee. It’s also portable, and prices start lower.

The rest of the article will highlight the key features of French press and Chemex coffee to help you pick one that’s best for you.

What Is Chemex?

If you ever thought that the Chemex coffee maker looks like laboratory equipment, you’re not wrong. In 1941, a chemistry doctor, Peter J. Schlumbohm, Ph.D., created this rustic coffee maker.

Chemex has since taken center stage in coffee making and is the inspiration behind the modern pour-over coffee making. A typical Chemex coffee maker features a simple glass carafe, a filter, and a polished wood collar.

To make coffee with a Chemex coffee maker is pretty simple. You need only pour hot water over the ground coffee beans slowly and watch the rich coffee filter through to the glass carafe below. This simple procedure does require some patience from you to get the best flavor.

What Is French Press?

The French press coffee-making method came up in the 1920s. It has the advantage over the Chemex of being less stressful and less time-consuming. You don’t have to stand for minutes pouring hot water over the coffee grounds with the French press. You can get on with other morning chores and return for your morning coffee dose when it’s ready.

You would get countless suggestions on making French press coffee, but they all feature the same necessary steps. Start by soaking your coffee grounds in hot water for roughly 30 seconds. The next step is to put in more hot water and sit for three to four more minutes. The final step is to push the plunger to release your rich coffee brew.

Chemex vs. French Press: Which Is Better?

If you’ve ever had coffee from a Chemex and French press, you might have observed some significant differences. While Chemex provides a clean brew, the French press is full-bodied and contains sediments.

There’s no absolute best because both coffee-making methods provide great coffee with different features. The best for you will depend on what a perfect cup of coffee is to you. However, let’s look at the comparison of the features of both coffee types.

Chemex Is Better for Clean Coffee

Chemex features a special bonded paper that makes it unique. This paper is excellent at reducing the entry of bitter components. For this reason, Chemex coffee usually has a refreshing clean flavor.

The French press has a screen, too, but it’s not tiny enough to stop some small coffee grounds from slipping through. The result is annoying sandy sediment at the bottom of your coffee cup. If this sediment bothers you, then you might appreciate knowing that Chemex’s thick filter paper would catch all grit to give you a clean cup of coffee.

Cafestol, an unfiltered coffee component, can make its way into coffee if you don’t use filter paper as in the French press. Unfortunately, cafestol might increase cholesterol in the body. The filters in Chemex remove this compound but not French press. You might need to use other paper filters in your French press coffee maker to eliminate cafestol.

French Press Is Better at Saving Time

Both coffee-making methods typically take less than eight minutes from bean to brew. You need to set up a filter and devote extra time to the blooming proceeds if you’re using a Chemex. These additional steps add more time to the brewing process, which is just four minutes.

Is Chemex Better Than French Press? 1

A French press doesn’t need all those extra steps, and if you’re in a hurry, you can skip preheating your brewer and cup to save more time. You might appreciate this time-saving feature of the French press if you’re typically in a hurry in the mornings.

Chemex Is Better for Flavor

If you want to experience the delicate flavors hidden within your coffee, then you might want to try Chemex. The French press filters aren’t sensitive enough to remove the bulk of your coffee’s flavor to expose the hidden delicate tastes.

However, the sensitive Chemex filter can remove much of the typical coffee body to reveal delicate flavors. You might appreciate enjoying the hints of jasmine, blackberry, or citrus in your Chemex coffee, especially if you’re using African floral coffee.

French Press Is Better for Richness

Once again, it comes down to the filters in both processes. Chemex thick filters are excellent at eliminating impurities or grit, but they also remove the coffee oils. These oils impact much of coffee’s unique taste. So, while Chemex offers a clean cup of coffee, it lacks in some of the coffee’s extraordinary richness.

French press preserves your coffee’s oils and taste. The rich brew you get might feature some grit at the bottom, which adds to the flavor.

Chemex Is Better for Aesthetics

The nearly scientific wood and glass design of a Chemex coffee maker stuns and adds an exotic look to your kitchen. It might also catch guests’ eye and would likely be the subject of much discussion. That is why it is better than the French press in terms of aesthetics.

French Press Is Better for Easy Mastery

Mastering coffee making with Chemex might take some time and effort. It’s not the easiest coffee-making method, but the rich product might be worth the effort. You would need to pour in hot water in a spiral motion to soak the coffee grounds at the same temperature evenly. Making coffee with Chemex might also be tedious. You’ll be standing over your Chemex to pour in the water slowly.

The French press is far more comfortable, and you won’t have to monitor your brew consistently. You can pour in hot water in a straight motion and push the plunger once the four minutes are up. Consider decanting once your brew is ready so it doesn’t get bitter. Despite the ease of making French press coffee, clean up might take some time because of the bottom’s sediments.

French Press Is Better for Travel

The non-porous borosilicate glass of a Chemex coffee maker doesn’t have an exterior protective casing. For this reason, the Chemex coffee maker is fragile and not one to be moved around so quickly.

French press coffee maker also features a borosilicate glass carafe, but the exterior casing offers a protective function. The container typically consists of Stainless Steel, but it could also be insulated plastic.

The rugged design and components of a French press coffee maker make it the better option if you’re looking to take your coffee maker with you for travel.

French Press Is Better Than Chemex on a Budget

Chemex coffee makers typically start at about $30, and you’ll still need to factor in extra money for the regular purchase of the thick filter papers. You could get French press coffee makers for as low as $10, and there are no additional costs.

The Caveat

The better coffee maker depends on the features you desire in your cup of coffee and your expectations of your coffee maker. You might need to consider elements like price, time consumed, price, portability, design, and flavor in choosing the best coffee maker for you between a Chemex and French press.

Final Thoughts

Chemex coffee maker is excellent for making clean coffee with delicate flavors. The unique design is also aesthetically pleasing. French press coffee maker is portable, easy to master, and time-saving. It’s the maker of choice if you’re on a tight budget because prices start as low as $10. French press coffee also preserves coffee’s rich taste by retaining it’s oils.


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