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Chemex vs. French Press? Which is better? These two machines are excellent and will always make sure you enjoy a perfect cup of coffee every day. One thing you will love about them is that both rely on simplicity to get the job done. Besides, they are reasonably priced.
But despite having many similarities, each maker produces a unique cup of coffee. So, remember to factor that when shopping. Now, to help you decide which coffee machine is right for you, this post will take you through some differences. But before that let’s go through some basics about them.
The French Press, first patented in 1929 is also commonly known as a press pot, cafetière à piston, cafeteria, coffee plunger, or coffee press. Basically, a French press is filterless and consists of a plunger with an attached filter screen (metal mesh), a carafe (stainless steel container) and a lid. You place coffee in the carafe, then pour in hot water and allow the coffee ground to steep for at least three minutes. Finally, you press the plunger gently down, and the finished coffee can be enjoyed with any accompaniment you prefer.
French Press is available in different sizes, and you can even find press pots made for travel and comping. If you follow the right brewing procedure, you can rest assured your French Press will produce a fully-bodied, oil coffee which is heavy and robust.
Advantages of a French Press
Below are some of the reasons why a French Press is a better option:
- No filters needed: You don’t need any filter to make a delicious cup of coffee using a French Press.
- Environmentally friendly: The fact you don’t need any filter, and especially paper filters (there is no paper waste) make a press pot quite environmentally friendly.
- Easier to clean: Cleaning the inside of a French Press is easy. This is because most of them are wide making it easy to fit your hand and clean.
- Versatile: With a French press in the house, you can comfortably brew other coffees such as cold brew and twice brewed coffee.
- Affordable: Compared to other coffee makers in the market, a French press is affordable.
Disadvantages of A French Press
- Not a clean cup: If you are looking to prepare a clean cup of coffee, a French press is not the right machine. Its steel mesh does allow fine articles and oils into your cup. While this contributes to a great cup of coffee, such coffee can hurt, especially if sensitive to acids.
- Difficult to deal with spent coffee grounds: Compared to Chemex, you will find it more tedious to clean out all of the coffee grounds. This is because they are not neatly contained in a paper filter.
Chemex was invented by Peter Schlumbohm, and it was put in the market on the market in 1942. This was a time when most people in the United States made coffee with a percolator. It uses an infusion method of brewing which is similar to a drip coffee, but it is a pour-over system.
The Chemex uses a filter which is a bit thicker than other pour-overs, and this results in a slower but richer cup of coffee.
To make your cup of coffee, pour hot water over the grounds, and let it bloom. Pour the rest over the grounds in a slow and steady stream. There you have it.
The Chemex produces a sediment-free pot of coffee that is much stronger and full-flavored than the automatic drip method.
Advantages of A Chemex
Now let’s have a look at some of the reasons that make a Chemex an ideal option:
- A clean cup of coffee: Now if you don’t like a cup full of oil and fine particles, then go for a Chemex. It uses propitiatory filters to make sure no oil, acids, or sediment get to your cup of coffee.
- Less bitter and nearly no acids: Often lack any bitter components, and will also have hardly any acid.
- Easy to clean: It is also easy to clean a Chemex and especially if brewing batch after batch. This is because all you need to do is pull out the paper filter, and put a new one in.
Disadvantages of a Chemex
- Filters are needs: You cannot prepare a cup of coffee with a Chemex without filters.
- Difficult to clean the inside: Unlike a Fresh Press which is wider, a Chemex is narrow, making it challenging to clean, especially for people with larger hands.
- A bit expensive: Another disadvantage of a Chemex is that it is more costly compared to a French Press. For example, you need to get a gooseneck kettle.
- Challenging to use properly: Perfecting the pouring technique can be an uphill task.
Chemex vs. French Press
Below are a few differences between the two coffee makers:
- Brew time
Brewing coffee with a French press takes about five minutes without counting the grind time and the time it takes the water to heat up. Plus, you have the added bonus of being able to walk away while the coffee is extracting.
You need at least 4 minutes to brew coffee using a Chemex. You also have the added steps of rinsing the filter and being present the entire time to slowing pour the water.
Winner: When it comes to time, a French Press is a clear winner because of its set extraction time and the ability to leave it once the water is added.
Once you buy a French press that all and you can continue to brew coffee without additional cost. On the other hand, if you settle for Chemex, you must be ready to buy paper filters which must be Chemex brand.
Winner: Although both are affordable, a French Press does not require additional filters, making it affordable to maintain.
- Clean up
When using a Chemex, you must be ready to deal with disposing of a filter, but beyond that, it is a simple matter of rinsing the pot. The French Press will leave you with grounds stuck to the mesh filter, and the entire piston mechanism needs to be detached and cleaned.
Winner: Chemex because you need extra time to remove the grounds from a French press.
- Additional Equipment
Whether using a French Press or Chemex, you will require additional equipment. For example, you require a medium/coarse ground bean to brew coffee using both machines. This means you must get a good grinder. You may also need a scale and a gooseneck bottle when using a Chemex. A gooseneck bottle is perfect for allowing you to achieve the proper pouring technique.
Winner: French Press is the clear winner as it requires few additional accessories to produce coffee.
With a French press in the house, you can prepare different type of drinks besides coffee. For example, you can make cold brew and brew loose tea. A Chemex is only designed to brew coffee.
Winner: French Press. It is more flexible.
If you are after the rich, full-bodied flavor, a French Press does not disappoint. Its metal mesh allows more oils and sediments in your cup hence making sure you enjoy a more delicious brew. However, you must be careful not to drink the last sip as it can spoil your experience. The last sip is more likely to be full of the sediments left in the coffee.
A Chemex, on the other hand, produces a cleaner and brighter coffee with no residual sediment. This is because of the paper filters it uses, which comes at the cost of removing oils that provide part of the rich flavor and some health benefits.
Winner: It all depends on your preference. Do you love cleaner and brighter coffee, or do you prefer one that is rich and full-bodied?
Both the Chemex and French Press are portable. Besides, there are stand-alone systems and don’t need electricity, making them a perfect choice for travelers.
The difference is that Chemex is a more fragile piece of equipment. This is because it is entirely made of glass. Compared to French Press which many manufacturers use stainless steel, ceramic, and plastic to design them, it is safer to carry a pot press than a Chemex.
Winner: The French Press is your best bet.
- Ease of use
It is easy to use a French Press. The steps are very easy, making it even simpler for newbies to make a perfect cup of coffee. Using a Chemex requires attention to details, plus it does require you to follow a few more additional steps to make a perfect cup of coffee. For example, you must get and use paper filters specific to the brand. Not mentioning you must rinse them before you begin to remove any dust or paper taste.
Additionally, Chemex requires a bit of finesse to make your java coffee. If using French Press, you just add hot water to coffee and let your pot sit for about 4 minutes.
Winner: A French press is the clear winner; it is much simpler to use. Even newbies can use it well.
Both the French Press and Chemex are great coffee makers. They don’t disappoint when used in the right manner. However, it is good to note each has its pros and cons. This article has taken you through some of the key benefits of each plus its disadvantages and significant difference. It is now your turn to make a decision.