Chemex vs French Press: Which One Is Better?

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on April 24th, 2023

Chemex vs. French Press? Which is better? These two machines are excellent and will ensure you enjoy a perfect cup of coffee daily. 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.

Chemex Vs French Press
french press coffee

French Press

The French Press, first patented in 1929, is also commonly known as a press pot, cafetière à piston, cafeteria, coffee plunger, or coffee press. 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, pour 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: You don’t need any filter, especially paper filters (there is no paper waste), making 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 them 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: A French press is affordable compared to other coffee makers in the market.

Disadvantages of A French Press

  • Not a clean cup: A French press is not the right machine if you are looking to prepare a clean cup of coffee. 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 cleaning out all of the coffee grounds more tedious. This is because they are not neatly contained in a paper filter.



Peter Schlumbohm invented Chemex, and it was put in the market on the market in 1942. This was 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 that is a bit thicker than other pour-overs, resulting in a slower but richer cup of coffee. 

To make your cup of coffee, pour hot water over the grounds, and let it bloom. Then, 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 more 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, go for a Chemex. It uses propitiatory filters to ensure no oil, acids, or sediment gets 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, 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 needed: 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 than 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

chemex and 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 bonus of being able to walk away while the coffee is extracted.

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 pour the water slowly.

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.

  • Cost

Once you buy a French press, that’s 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, using both machines, you require a medium/coarse ground bean to brew coffee. This means you must get a good grinder. When using a Chemex, you may also need a scale and a gooseneck bottle. A gooseneck bottle is perfect for allowing you to achieve the proper pouring technique.

Winner: French Press is the clear winner as it requires a few additional accessories to produce coffee.

  • Versatility

You can prepare different drinks besides coffee with a French press in the house. For example, you can make cold brew and brew loose tea. However, a Chemex is only designed to brew coffee.

Winner: French Press. It is more flexible.

  • Taste

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, 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.

On the other hand, Chemex produces a cleaner and brighter coffee with no residual sediment. This is because the paper filters come 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?

  • Portability

Both the Chemex and French Press are portable. Besides, stand-alone systems 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. Therefore, compared to French Press which many manufacturers use stainless steel, ceramic, and plastic to design, 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 detail, 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 a French Press, add hot water to the coffee and let your pot sit for about 4 minutes.

Winner: A French press is a 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.


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.