Last Updated on October 23, 2023 by Pablo Barrantes
In this blog, I have already given you all the tricks and my ideal recipe for the Hario V60 and the Chemex, and if you already have one of the two coffee makers, I am sure those articles will have been of great help to you. However, for those who are undecided between one or the other, this article will help you make an informed decision.
If two manual pour-over drip coffee makers have become iconic, it is the Chemex and the Hario V60. Both are very popular, loved, and respected in the coffee world. And while they are very similar, they have some important differences.
Overview of the Chemex coffee maker
This is a coffee maker that is made of a single piece of glass, with a shape that resembles an hourglass. In the upper part, we place the filters and the coffee, while in the lower part, we see how the already extracted coffee falls.
At the connection of these two parts, we have a wooden handle, held in place by a leather cord to prevent us from burning. Undoubtedly, everything feels very good quality to the touch, and although it is made entirely of glass, it is very resistant.
Different sizes and types of Chemex
We can find the Chemex in sizes of 3, 6, 8, and 10 cups, although the most popular is the 6-cup size. Remember that, depending on the manufacturer, one cup equals between 90 and 100 ml, which is not an exact measurement.
There is another model without the wooden collar, with a handle made of the same glass to hold it, although I find the original more elegant. This design is about 80 years old and still unique; it is beautiful, elegant, and perfectly decorates any kitchen or living room.
Overview of the Hario V60
The conception of the Hario V60 coffee maker took more than 20 years, although, at first glance, its design is very simple. It consists of a filter holder and a container to hold the extracted coffee. This filter holder is available in different materials such as ceramic, metal, glass, and plastic.
Different sizes and types of the Hario V60
Apart from the variety of materials from which the filter holder is constructed, there are also different sizes such as 01, 02, and 03, where the most popular size is 02.
Any Hario V60 will be of high quality. However, I recommend the plastic ones, which maintain the temperature throughout the filtering and do not have to preheat so much before starting. Preheating can become a problem with other materials, especially ceramic.
This filter holder can be placed over a carafe to prepare the coffee and once it is done, serve the cups in this way or directly. If we prepare a small quantity, we can place it on the cup we will use.
Design comparison between the Chemex and the Hario V60
While it has nothing to do with the ability to prepare coffee, which both do very well, for those who enjoy making good coffee, the aesthetic point goes to Chemex.
It is also important to satisfy the other senses besides taste. So it is important how our equipment looks, especially if we display it in a coffee corner of the house or cafe.
And while the Hario V60 also looks very nice and modern, the Chemex is a marvel of design that continues to attract attention even after so many years.
Comparison of ease of use, cleanliness, and portability
When buying filters, both need specific paper filters, so neither has an advantage over the other, as they are a bit difficult to get. That is to say, we will not find them in any supermarket, but in specialized places.
Quantity of coffee that we can prepare
One advantage of Chemex is that we can prepare large quantities of coffee at once, which makes it ideal when we have to share coffee or train more than one cup. In the Hario V60, we can prepare from one to three cups.
Ease of cleaning the coffee maker
When it comes to cleaning, there is no comparison; the Hario V60 is much easier to clean! Discard the filter with the coffee grounds; it is ready to be washed easily with a bit of water.
With the Chemex, it is a little more complicated; first, you have to remove the wooden collar, and because of its shape, it is a little more difficult to reach the bottom and give it a good cleaning.
Portability of the coffee maker
In terms of portability, perhaps these are not the ideal coffee makers to take on a trip, but in this sense, the Hario V60 is also better. Remember that it is made of materials such as plastic or metal, which are very difficult to break.
How resistant the Hario V60 makes it ideal if you want to take it to the office, but you have to remember that to use it, you need other tools such as a scale and a pot with a gooseneck, although this applies to both coffee makers.
Ease of use of the coffee maker
In terms of ease of use, both coffee makers work on the same principle, as they are manual pour-over drip coffee makers. The main difference lies in the types of filters they use.
For example, the Chemex filter is two or three times thicker than the common ones, giving a little resistance to the passage of the coffee. In addition, as the filter holder is made of glass and smooth, the paper will remain adhered to the walls, except in the part of the slit or nozzle, which exists to avoid this.
The slit or channel of the filter holder reaches the bottom of the coffee maker to prevent the filter from being completely sealed and creating a vacuum effect, which is why we place the thickest part of the filter towards the side of the channel or slit.
The Hario V60, on the other hand, not only uses much finer filters, but on the internal part of the filter holder, we find spiral-shaped grooves that allow airflow. With these differences, we can determine that:
- The Chemex is a little easier to use as it has more resistance to the passage of water and, therefore, a little more contact time with the coffee. The Chemex is more forgiving of mistakes; getting a cup of coffee that you can’t drink is very difficult.
- The Hario V60 is much more sensitive, it can be very good at finely controlling variables, but it is also easy to make mistakes. If extraction time is important to you and you’re looking for something fast, the V60 will take less time.
Coffee flavor comparison of the Hario V60 and the Chemex
For this comparison, I used the same coffee with the same grind and pouring technique. Once the coffee was prepared, I let it rest to lower the temperature so I could notice the notes of the flavors and the differences between them.
The flavor of the Chemex coffee
You feel that super light body in the Chemex as if it were a tea. It is a very delicate coffee, very bright and rich as well. As the Chemex filters are the thickest on the market, it has their watermark in the flavor.
The Chemex produces a clean cup with a lot of clarity and pronounced acidity. Because it has such a light body, it is like tea, which brings out our coffee’s floral and more delicate notes.
Note: It should be clarified that this flavor description is for paper filters since other filters, such as cloth or metal filters, can be used in the Chemex, producing a different result.
The coffee flavor of the Hario V60
The Hario V60 is predominantly sweet, with delicious peach notes; it seems like peach juice because it is so sweet and rich. It also has a little more creaminess and a little more body.
With the V60, when we do it right, we get a super sweet, bright, and complex cup; it is ideal for coffees with fruity profiles, as it brings out these characteristics of the coffee.
It is incredible to modify the variables to produce a coffee exactly as we want it, which takes this cup to another level. Still, we must remember that it is very sensitive and does not forgive mistakes.
Which is better, the Chemex or the Hario V60?
Counting the points so far, we would have a tie, which means that you can’t go wrong with any of these coffee makers; we could break the tie, adding a point to the Hario V60 for the price since it is quite a bit cheaper than the Chemex, especially in plastic material.
- I would recommend Chemex for those who want to prepare large quantities of coffee, those who care about the aesthetics of their equipment, and those who are looking for a coffee maker to prepare delicious coffee with consistency.
- I would recommend the Hario V60 for those who want to improve their technique, even though some coffees will not be as rich. It is ideal for those looking for something individual or sharing with another person, those who don’t want to spend so much, and those who want to transport it easily for use away from home.
I am very fond of the Chemex and fall in love with every cup, but honestly, I find myself using the Hario V60 more and more every day.
Fortunately, at home, I have both, and I choose them based on the coffee I want to use. For example, I tend to choose Chemex if I have a delicate, floral coffee or a coffee from Africa. On the other hand, if I have one, for example, from Central America, with a high altitude, very fruity profile, I use the Hario V60. But what I can tell you is that you will not go wrong with either of these two coffee makers.