Last updated on February 20th, 2024

Is Chemex Worth It? Chemex Coffee Maker Review 2024

When the inventor of the Chemex Dr. Peter Schlumbohm showed off his pour over coffee brewer at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, he later bragged that it would allow “even a moron to make good coffee.” That’s a pretty good Chemex Coffee Maker review already! However, it was also my very first piece of coffee equipment, purchased back in 2012. So is Chemex worth it after all these years? I would say absolutely!

chemex coffee maker review

This device forever changed the world of pour over coffee with its unique extraction and beautiful aesthetics. Its elegant hourglass shape, borosilicate glass material, and polished wood collar look like a work of modern art. Plus, there’s no denying the clean flavor produced by its custom paper filter.

But, even though the Chemex coffeemaker will look beautiful in any kitchen, there are a few downsides you should know. While I would say every coffee lover should have this brewer around, I’ll try to take an objective approach in this Chemex review. Plus, I’ll compare the Chemex to other similar manual drippers.

Let’s dive in!

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Chemex Coffee Maker: What to Consider Before Buying

Before you decide that one of the Chemex coffee makers is right for you (there are multiple sizes), there are some considerations to keep in mind. First and foremost, you should be willing to set aside the time to brew coffee manually on a pour over. Brewing coffee manually takes time and attention, and to pour water correctly you will likely need a gooseneck kettle.

chemex review: How good is the chemex pour over coffee maker

It is also ideal to own a grinder so you can buy whole coffee beans and grind them at home—whole beans stay fresher. Coffee grounds will work, but the resulting flavor might not be worth the effort. So consider these questions before buying a Chemex:

  • Do you have the time/patience to brew coffee manually?
  • For how many people do you regularly make coffee?
  • Do you own other coffee equipment (kettle, grinder, scale) that will make brewing on the Chemex easier?
  • Do you prefer the bold flavor and heavy mouthfeel of the French Press or the cleaner flavor of filtered coffee?

Since I’m a specialty coffee geek, I think the delicious coffee you can make with a Chemex is worth the effort and price. But let’s do a more thorough Chemex review, including its pros and cons, so you can compare it to other pour over drippers.

Chemex Coffee Maker Review: Is a Chemex Worth It?

If you are choosing between a Chemex and a standard drip coffee machine, I would say already that the Chemex is worth it. However, if you want to compare it with other popular manual pour over coffee makers, it’s worth weighing the pros and cons.

Classic Series 8-Cup
Chemex Glass Coffee Maker Pros & Cons


  • Stylish and elegant one-piece glass design that looks beautiful in the kitchen
  • Flexible recipes (including iced coffee options)
  • Clean flavor (no oils) that allows coffee to shine
  • The largest size brews 10 cups
  • Safe in the dishwasher


  • Expensive compared to other drippers
  • Can’t brew small amounts
  • Must use Chemex filters
  • Annoying to clean by hand
  • Glass can break when traveling

Chemex Coffee Maker vs Other Glass Coffee Makers

If you like the look and feel of a glass pour over coffee maker, you should know of some alternatives like the Coffee Gator Pour Over Coffee Brewer or the Bodum Pour Over Set.

I reviewed those and compared them with the Chemex in this general overview of the best manual drip coffee makers.

Why Should I Get A Chemex?

Even if you are not a passionate coffee lover, you might want the Chemex in your kitchen purely for aesthetic reasons. After all, even New York City’s Museum of Modern Art has it on display.

But in terms of coffee brewing, the Chemex method is all about clarity—the double-bonded paper filter removes the oils and sediment to let the delicate coffee flavors shine. Compared to a French Press, you will be able to brew delicate/light-roasted coffees with the Chemex.

Another huge plus of Chemex coffee makers is that they come in many sizes: 3, 6, 8, and 10-cup options. The largest brewer can make up to 50 ounces of coffee at a time.

See Also: What Is The Best Water Temperature For Pour Over Coffee?

Comparing Chemex To A Normal Drip Coffee Maker

coffee maker Chemex vs drip machine

There is no doubt that a drip coffee maker is convenient, especially for those that have early mornings. So if speed is a crucial factor for you, you might not want a Chemex to replace your coffee maker—maybe save Chemex brewing for the weekends.

But in terms of flavor, Chemex produces a superior cup of coffee, as do most manual pour over drippers. When you pour water gently over the coffee bed, preferably with the speed control of a gooseneck kettle, you can get an even extraction.

The brew time is longer than a machine and you will have to be present the whole time. But the control and flexibility will allow you to brew much more delicious coffee on the Chemex than on any drip coffee maker.

Chemex Coffee Makers Vs. Other Pour-Overs

Chemex coffee makers are one of many pour over brewers on the market. Compared with many of the popular models such as the Hario V60 and Kalita Wave, the Chemex is larger. For example, if you anticipate needing to brew regularly for three or more people, Chemex is superior.

Hario V60 Plastic Coffee Dripper, Size 02, Clear


  • Ceramic, plastic, or copper materials
  • Sleek design
  • Steep 60-degree angle = more flavor
  • Used by many World Brewer’s Cup winners
Kalita Stainless Steel Wave Coffee Dripper, SIZE 155, Silver


  • Ceramic, glass, stainless steel, and copper materials
  • Simple design
  • Three holes for easier draining


Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker - Classic Series


  • Aesthetically beautiful
  • One-piece hourglass design
  • Polished wood collar with leather tie
  • Brew up to 10 cups
  • Thick filter= clean taste

It is also worth noting the uniqueness of the Chemex paper filter, which is thicker than most other drippers. Thick paper removes even more oils/sediment and makes a clean-tasting cup.

The closest design to the Chemex would have to be the Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker, which I reviewed as the budget-friendly way to buy a Chemex.


The Chemex one-piece design is made from non porous borosilicate glass, and it includes a convenient pouring spout to easily pour coffee after brewing. Personally, I love the polished wood collar models because of their aesthetics, but some versions replace the wood collar grip with a glass handle.

picture of chemex drip coffee maker

The key design features include:

  • One-piece hourglass shape glass coffee maker
  • Borosilicate glass that does not absorb odors
  • Polished wood collar with leather tie
  • Pouring spout
  • Dishwasher safe

Chemex Filters

Chemex glass coffee makers thick Bonded Filter - Natural Square - 100 ct - Exclusive Packaging

While the design of the Chemex coffee maker is beautiful, in terms of engineering it is like most other drippers: it allows you to pour water over ground coffee. So the primary magic behind the unique flavors of Chemex coffee is the filter.

The Chemex bonded coffee filter is thick and sturdy compared to other coffee filters on the market. So besides the fine coffee particles that most filters catch, the Chemex filter also absorbs the coffee oils that can mask the most delicate flavors. This light mouthfeel is why Chemex produces one of the cleanest cups of coffee.

The only downside of Chemex filters? Sometimes they make the water flow too slowly (see this fix for slow pour-overs.)

How Do You Clean a Chemex?

The hourglass shape of the Chemex does make cleaning more difficult, but that is easily solved with a bottle brush. Be sure to remove the collar and leather tie before washing. And even though the Chemex is sturdy, handle it with care because it is still a glass coffee maker that can break.

And since the Chemex is dishwasher safe, you can always remove the collar and secure it in your dishwasher whenever it needs a good clean.

What Size Chemex Should I Get?

The Chemex comes in the following sizes, with corresponding ranges of cups/ounces:

ModelBrewing Range (cups)Brewing Range (ounces)
Three Cup Classic1-310-20 oz.
Six Cup Classic3-615-30 oz.
Eight Cup Classic4-820-40 oz.
Ten Cup Classic5-1025-50 oz.
Chemex Glass Coffee Maker Sizes

If you are unsure, play it safe and go with the six or eight-cup models, which are the most popular. While you cannot brew one cup on those, they give you the flexibility to brew for many people when needed.

Other Chemex Coffee Maker Tips

If you are ready to invest in a Chemex, be sure to check out my standard Chemex recipe, which is my go-to method for delicious Chemex coffee.

And to make the most out of your Chemex, you should consider investing in other specialty coffee equipment and practices such as:

See Also: The 5 Best Burr Coffee Grinders For Chemex Brewing

The last tip has to do with cleanliness. Even though the glass does not absorb odors, it will stain if you forget to rinse out your Chemex. After brewing, be sure to pour the remaining hot water into the bottom to prevent staining.

Final Verdict: Is Chemex Worth It?

If a one-piece glass coffee maker is what you want, you are probably weighing the Chemex against the Coffee Gator or Bodum coffee drippers. And while those glass coffee makers are budget-friendly, I believe that the Chemex comes out on top as the superior glass coffee maker. Plus, it is just such a classic in the coffee industry.

The Chemex has a long history, has flexible recipes, and has multiple sizes to fit your needs. And, even if you do not brew on it every day, it will still look beautiful in any kitchen!