The Chemex and the Aeropress are both great coffee makers. They are both well-designed, simple and effective and with a little practice, you can get a great cup of coffee from each.
They are very different coffee makers though, designed with different results in mind. Which one is best is a matter of opinion, but here are some things you might want to consider when deciding which would be best for you.
The Chemex is designed to make scientifically correct coffee, it is essentially a piece of laboratory equipment designed to achieve the best cup of drip coffee with the minimum fuss and a heavy cone filter.
The Aeropress is a different animal, it is more complex in design and aims to achieve espresso-style coffee by brewing the beans with stream pressure. In this sense they are aiming for different things, Chemex coffee is pure and mild, whereas the Aeropress makes small servings of stronger coffee.
You may want to see the specs and details of the Aeropress here.
Now, the advantage that both the Chemex and the Aeropress share is that they offer a cheap and portable alternative to the coffee machines, the Chemex giving the auto-drip machines a run for their money and the Aeropress is marketed as an espresso substitute. This means that if you like drip coffee or espresso but you don’t have the money or space to buy a machine for work, then they are great options to have available.
Both the Chemex and the Aeropress are easy to clean, small and affordable so they make a great back-up for your usual brew. Which one is best then, depends on the coffee machine you’re looking to imitate.
If you want a clean cup then by far and away the Chemex wins. According to this review by DCH the cone on a Chemex doesn’t allow for mud or sludge to enter your cup at all. We agree.
You can make good coffee with either the Chemex or the Aeropress, but the coffee the Aeropress produces is a winner in terms of versatility. If you’re a fan of an Americano, Cappuccino or Latte, then you can make all those with the Aeropress also, provided you have the means of heating milk. These drinks are all espresso based and the Aeropress is an espresso style coffee.
Ease Of Use
The Aeropress is a slightly more complicated coffee maker and as such it takes a few more steps in the instructions to get the result you’re looking for. It’s just as well then that it comes with great instructions and plenty of filters to make your practice period at least a little bit less infuriating and expensive. The Chemex is a much more simple machine, the most complicated part is probably folding the filter correctly and that’s two folds – unless you skip that part and buy the prefolded ones. The instructions are 4 steps long and it’s very simple stuff.
Value For Money
The Aeropress is the cheapest to buy and the cheapest for replacement filters. The price difference is not a lot of money to get the kind of coffee you prefer but the price of the Chemex filters is considerably more expensive. While you can get the Aeropress ones in packs of 350 for $3.99, the Chemex ones (because they are much heavier and there’s a lot more paper involved) are around $8.50 for 100. This doesn’t make the Chemex expensive, you could probably use it for a year and easily make your money back in what you’ve saved on take out coffee. If you’re going to be leaving it out in work and allow other people to use it however, it’s certainly something worth considering.