Kalita vs Chemex: Pour Over Coffee Maker & Their Methods Compared, Who Wins?

Both Chemex and Kalita are two well known and celebrated brands. Chemex is an iconic and beloved brew method and with good reason. Meanwhile, Kalita offers a huge lineup of brewers and products. However, we will be discussing only two of the most popular products from Kalita: the Glass Kalita Wave Pour Over 155 and the Metal Kalita Wave Pour Over 185.

After hours of trials and research, we’ve got the lowdown on everything you need to know about these brewers. Read on to discover more!

The Chemex Coffee Maker

Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker - Classic Series - 8-Cup - Exclusive Packaging
  • All CHEMEX Coffeemakers are measured using 5 oz. as 1 cup
  • All CHEMEX Coffeemakers are made of the highest quality, non-porous Borosilicate glass which will not absorb odors or chemical residues
  • The patented CHEMEX pour-over design allows coffee to be covered and refrigerated for reheating without losing flavor
  • CHEMEX - simple, easy to use with timeless, elegant design
  • Use CHEMEX Bonded Filters FP-1, FC-100, FS-100, FSU-100

The Chemex Coffee Maker is a favorite for many reasons. This particular method is all in one: not only is the Chemex your brewer but it is also a server.

The design of the Chemex is what makes this coffee brewing method so iconic. First designed and patented in the early 1940s, the Chemex is a classic brew method that has stood the test of time!

Made with borosilicate glass, the Chemex coffee maker can withstand both hot and cold temperatures without the worry of shattered glass. This means that you can easily make iced coffee with your Chemex coffee maker. 

Check out our article on the Chemex Coffee Maker and how to use it

The Kalita Wave Pour Over: Two Versions

There are two pour over devices from the Kalita Wave line. We will be referring to one as simply the Glass Kalita 155 and the other as the Metal Kalita 185. The main differences between the two brewers is the composition material.

Sale
Kalita Wave 185 Drippers
  • The Wave Series from Kalita is the premier coffee dripper available on the market
  • The flat-bottom coffee bed geometry, patented "Wave" filter, and three-hole design work together to provide an even extraction that makes brewing a perfect cup accessible and easy
  • Available in three styles: stainless steel, glass, and ceramic
  • Filters not included

The Glass Kalita 155 is made out of borosilicate glass whereas the Metal Kalita 185 is made of stainless steel. Both versions featured the same design and shape with the exception of the ridges that reinforce the stainless steel Metal Kalita 185.

Kalita Wave Dripper 155 series glass [1-2 person] # 05045 (japan import) by Kalita (Carita)
  • Size: holder (flange) / diameter about 105mm, height / about 65mm
  • Weight: about 77g
  • Material Material: Main body / heat-resistant glass, holder / polypropylene
  • Country of origin: Glass / China, holder / Japan
  • Use filter: Wave Filter 155 (# 22195)

Neither model includes a server and requires a separate vessel to brew into.

Comparing the Glass Kalita, the Kalita Wave Pour Over and the Chemex Coffee Maker

Kalita Pour Over Methods vs Chemex Coffee Maker

The Glass Kalita 155 and the Metal Kalita Wave 185 Pour Overs are very similar brewers with the exception of the materials they are made of and a few minor features. In contrast, the Chemex could not be more different than either Kalita Pour Over method.

Materials

  • The Glass Kalita 155 is made out of borosilicate glass and a plastic base and handle.
  • The Metal Kalita 185 is made out of stainless steel with a plastic coated handle.
  • The Chemex Coffee Maker is made of borosilicate glass with a wooden cuff for holding the brewer. This material allows brewers to use hot and cold water.

Size

  • The Glass Kalita 155 is available in one size: two cups.
  • The Metal Kalita 185 is available in two sizes: 1 cup and 2 cups.
  • The Chemex Coffee Maker is available in four sizes: 3 cups, 6 cups, 8 cups and 10 cups. The three cup Chemex require a different filter size than the other Chemex sizes (six, eight and ten cups). The smallest capacity for the Chemex is three cups whereas the largest is ten cups. 

Shape

  • The Glass Kalita 155 and the Metal Kalita 185 Wave Pour Over are both flat bottom brew baskets. They both feature three drainage holes for brewing.
  • The Chemex Coffee Maker is a conical shaped brew basket with a single, unrestricted opening for brewing. It does not feature any ridges but it does feature a recessed spout so as to prevent the filter from creating a seal with the brewer.

Filter

  • The Glass Kalita 155 and the Metal Kalita 185 Wave Pour Over both utilize a special filter made just for the Kalita Pour Over methods. The filter is corrugated and features a ripple design and a flat bottom to match the brewer shape. The corrugated ripple design helps prevent the filter from flattening and creating a seal against the brewer walls.
  • The Chemex Coffee Maker is conical in shape once folded but before folding is a square. The Chemex filter is unique in that it has multiple layers once folded. There are four layers to the filter and once opened, three layers should lie on one side with the final layer separate. This creates the conical shape of the filter.

Grind and Brew Time

  • The Glass Kalita 155 and the Metal Kalita 185 Wave Pour Over require a medium to medium-fine grind and a two to two and a half minute brew time.
  • The Chemex Coffee Maker requires a medium-coarse grind and about a four minute brew time.

Flavor and Texture

  • The Glass Kalita 155 and the Metal Kalita 185 Wave Pour Over produce a medium-bodied brew that brings out the rich, earthier flavors in coffee. Both pour over methods are ideal for medium roast coffees and naturally processed coffee as they play well with the flavors and give a velvety texture to the brew.
  • The Chemex Coffee Maker highlights the floral and fruity flavors in coffee very well. It produces a brew with a silky, tea-like texture that is light bodied. We recommend brewing light roasts with the Chemex Coffee Maker.

FAQs

What makes the Chemex coffee maker good?

The Chemex Coffee Maker is ideal for anyone who enjoys brewing light roast, single origin coffees. This brew method, in particular, brings out the playful flavors of a light roast coffee and allows the drinker to really pick apart the individual flavor notes that the coffee has to offer.

How big is the Chemex Coffee Maker?

Again, this brewer is great for brewing for a crowd as you can brew up to ten cups on the appropriate sized brewer. The Chemex Coffee Maker comes in multiples sizes: three cups, six cups, eight cups and ten cups.

Who should buy a Kalita Pour Over?

Either Kalita Pour Over method is a great fit for folks living or working in a small space. The compact nature of both brew methods makes for a convenient yet functional brewer. The Kalita Wave Pour Over is especially good for this and for travel as it is made of durable stainless steel and can withstand rough handling better than most any other brew method.

How big is a Kalita Pour Over?

These two brew methods are best suited for a single serving or two servings at most. We recommend these brewers for folks who enjoy a rich, well-balanced brew with a velvety smooth body.

Is Kalita a good brand?

Yes! Kalita is a tried and true Japanese coffee brand that has served up great brewers for professionals, commercial businesses and individuals.

Final Thoughts

All three brew methods are well-loved and widely used in the world of coffee. No matter your choice, you can’t go wrong with the quality of coffee that these brewers put out. With that said, some brew methods are better suited for certain occasions than others. If you simply can’t decide, then go for both! 

If you click on the Amazon link or Add to Cart and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Update: 2021-08-28

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Sophie Kidd Carr

Sophie Kidd Carr is a freelance writer and educator with over five years of experience in the coffee industry. Sophie also enjoys traveling to different countries and discovering new adventures.