Showdown: Chemex vs. Hario V60 Pour-overs!

Chemex vs. Hario – Finally, the classic Chemex goes up against the famous Hario V60 dripper. Which brewer is better?

Welcome to the wonderful and endless world of pour-over coffee. Pour-over coffee is super easy and fun to make at home, and it’s a great alternative to your trusty old drip machine.
 
A pour-over is a method of coffee brewing in which hot water pours over grinds and into your cup. It’s often used as a way to make single servings of coffee at home. It’s also common to find pour-overs in cafes and restaurants. Pour-over coffee refers to any type of coffee brewed using this method.
 
The pour-over method has been around for centuries. Its popularity exploded in recent years thanks to the rise of specialty roasters. Many cafes encourage customers to explore the world of specialty brews using pour-overs.
 
In this article we will cover the differences between a Chemex vs. Hario – specifically a Chemex pour-over and a Hario V60 dripper. Your task is to decide which is best for you!

What is a Chemex Pour-Over?

The Chemex coffee maker is a pour-over style coffee maker. Dr. Peter Schlimbohm invented first Chemex in 1941. A 8 cup Chemex pour-over is the only coffee brewer on permanent display at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Renown designer Ralph Caplan said the Chemex was “a synthesis of logic and madness”.

Copy of the original Chemex Pour-Over Patent page
Many coffee enthusiasts love Chemex coffee makers. Chemex brewers come in a variety of sizes, and can brew either single cups of coffee or larger batches. They have a simple design and ability to produce a clean, well-balanced cup of coffee.
 
All Chemex pour-overs are an hourglass-shaped glass flask with a conical funnel-like neck. Chemex brewers use a cone filter which holds the ground coffee. To use the Chemex, pour hot water over ground coffee. The coffee then drips through the filter into the chamber.
Chemex pour-over brewers with wooden collars in different sizes
If you’re looking for an alternative to your drip coffee maker, a Chemex could be the perfect option for you. These compact pour-overs can brew as little as one perfect cup at a time and are quick and easy to use. You’ll always have fresh, delicious coffee whenever you want it. The biggest benefit is the filter holder and coffee chamber are one piece. This makes them easier to use than traditional drip coffee makers. Add your grounds and hot water and let the Chemex work its coffee magic.

What is a Hario V60 Dripper?

The Hario Company started in 1921 in Toyko, Japan. In the beginning, they only made laboratory glassware. In the 1940s they expanded their business to include coffee brewing equipment. Alongside their coffee equipment, they also make heatproof glass and plastic products. Interesting, this now includes vehicle headlight glass and microwave cookware. Hario is a well-known and trusted brand among coffee connoisseurs.

The Hario V60 dripper is simple and effective and is one of the most popular methods for making pour-over coffee. It’s often used for home brewing and in commercial settings. A V60 dripper uses a cone-shaped basket and filter that sits on top of your cup or mug. The name “V60” refers to the angle of the pour-over basket. Its simple design fits over most cups, but you can also get a convenient pour-over stand if desired.
 
The Hario V60’s cone top has small angled ridges inside of it that have a slight spiral to them. These ridges help the hot water poured into the cone flow towards the centre. This extends the length of time the water is in contact with the coffee grounds. The longer the coffee is in contact with the water, the more flavor comes from your beans. When you’re done brewing, lift off the filter, toss it in the trash, and enjoy!

How to Use a Pour Over

There is no right or wrong way to brew your coffee as long as you end up with a brew you like. This is true even with a Chemex vs. Hario! That stated, there are better and worse ways to use any brewer. Here’s how we like to brew with our pour-over. As with any brewer, the way that tastes good is the right one for you!. We recommend using this guide as a starting point. Feel free to adjust your methods to make the best brew for you.

  1. Set your filter in the brewer, and rinse it by pouring hot water through it. Discard the water.
  2. Measure out your coffee. We like to use 1 tbsp. per 4 oz. serving, but this is only the suggested amount. Test with a bit more or less coffee to see what tastes best to you. This amount will likely change for you depending on the coffee chosen, the blend, and degree of roast.
  3. Add medium-coarse ground coffee to the filter, which is back on the pour-over. For more info on coffee grind size, check out our Definitive Guide to Coffee Grinders.
  4. Pour fresh boiled water in a circular motion over the grounds.
  5. Let the grounds bloom for 10-30 seconds, allowing all the gasses to escape.
  6. Pour remaining water in a circular motion over the ground coffee.
  7. Once the coffee has dripped out, discard the filter and grounds.
  8. Enjoy!

Chemex Pour-Over vs. Hario V60 Dripper

We’re finally getting to the showdown – Chemex vs. Hario. So, what is the difference here? Both of these have a filter and you pour hot water over ground coffee, right?
 
You’re correct… but there’s also more at play than you’d think at first glance. Here’s a few ways this is more than it appears.

Filters

Both Chemex and Hario brewers make and use their own paper filters specifically for these brewers. Paper filters give your coffee a much smoother taste with less acidity. Many coffee drinkers prefer to use a paper filter. At Cupper’s Coffee & Tea we also have reusable cloth filters that will have a similar effect.
 
The Chemex filters are thicker than the filters for a Hario V60 pour over. This means they filter out more coffee grounds for a cleaner, fresher cup. With a Hario brewer, you get a thicker mouth-feel in your coffee.

Cone Design

The design of the actual cone that the filter sits in/on also changes for these brewers. The Hario V60 has grooves on the sides of the cone. This gives some room for airflow as you add water to your pour-over. Hario designed these grooves to maximize control of your extraction time. Use a gooseneck kettle for the ultimate precision pour when brewing your coffee.
 
The Chemex brewing cone is smooth so the paper filter sits flush against the side during brewing. This allows for a slower steep and longer extraction time.

Sizes of Brewer

The Hario V60 dripper comes in only one size. It is special designed to make 1 or 2 servings of perfect coffee. You get more variety in size with the Chemex, which comes in 3, 6, 8, and 10 cup formats. Additionally, some have wooden collars and others have glass handles.

Other Pour Over Options

The Chemex and Hario pour-overs are FAR from the only pour-over style of brewers available. It’s important to find a pour-over that is going to work well for you and also fit in your budget.
 
One of our most popular pour overs is from Bodum. Bodum is very well known for their French Presses, but we put their pour-overs to the test and they work very well. Each Bodum pour-over has a reusable metal filter, so they are a waste free option for coffee brewing.

You might also want to try the Clever Dripper. The Clever Dripper is not quite a pour over, but has all the appeal of one. But don’t take our word for it, check out our full article and review on the Clever Dripper.

Which Pour-Over Should You Buy?

Base the decision on which brewer to buy to match your coffee preferences and needs. Brewing coffee should be fun and easy. You don’t have to work hard to get a good cup of coffee. If you put good coffee into your brewer, good coffee will come out of your brewer. The most important thing to remember is that your coffee will taste best made the way you like it!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who invented the Chemex?

Dr. Peter Schlimbohm invented the Chemex in 1941. The original patent has remained the same since. He made the perfect brewer and stuck to it.

Who sells Chemex filters?

You can buy Chemex filters online in Canada from Cupper’s Coffee & Tea.

Are Chemex filters compostable?

Chemex filters are 100% compostable, and are a great addition to your compost with the used ground coffee.

Are Chemex filters bleached?

Cupper’s Coffee & Tea carried both bleached and unbleached Chemex filters.

Are Chemex dishwasher safe?

Yes, but with a caveat. If you have the wooden collared Chemex, remove the collar before washing it in the dishwasher.

Are Chemex coffee makers good?

We stand by our Chemex brewers. In fact, it’s the specific brewer our master roaster uses when he’s testing new coffees and roasts!

Is Chemex a pour-over?

Chemex Brewers of all sizes are all pour-over coffee brewers.

Is Chemex the best pour over?

Chemex is a very popular pour-over. Besides working well, they also have a lot of visual appeal.

Can Chemex go on a gas stove?

Usually with pour over brewers, you heat up your water in a kettle separate from the brewer. It is not recommended to heat your Chemex on a stove-top. Instead, if you have coffee sitting, we recommend using a thermal carafe to keep it fresh and hot. (Burners also scorch coffee if it’s sitting too long… think stale old coffee.)

Can Chemex go in the microwave?

A Chemex is not microwave safe. Please don’t use them in a microwave.

Can Chemex make espresso?

Unfortunately a Chemex is not capable of brewing an espresso. Check out our article on brewing espresso at home for more information. (FYI – Our espresso blends make fantastic coffee when made as a pour-over!)

Where can I buy Hario V60 filters?

We sell Hario V60 filters at Cupper’s Coffee & Tea. We have bleached paper, unbleached paper, and reusable cloth filters for a Hario V60.

Is the plastic in a Hario V60 safe?

The plastic used in the Hario V60 pour-over is designed to stand up to high heat. It is BPA free and completely safe to use. A benefit of using a plastic pour over is it takes less heat to pre-warm the filter than glass or ceramic filters.

Is a Hario V60 dishwasher safe?

The Hario V60 brewers are dishwasher safe.

What grind do I use for a Hario V60?

We recommend using a medium-fine grind for pour-overs. For more information on grind type check out our Definitive Guide to Coffee Grinders.

Are Hario V60 filters compostable?

Hario paper filters are 100% compostable. For a reusable option try our Pinyon reusable cloth filters.

Is pour over coffee better?

Taste is the most subjective sense of all. If you enjoy pour over-coffee more than other methods, then it is the best option for you.

Is pour over coffee stronger?

If you want to brew a very strong cup of coffee we recommend adding more ground coffee to your pour-over filter. Check out our article on Brewing The Best Cup Of Coffee for more info on coffee proportions.

Does pour-over coffee have more caffeine?

An average cup of coffee will have about 95 mg of caffeine. For a coffee with more caffeine, you can try an espresso or try brewing your coffee stronger.

How long should a pour-over take?

Pour-overs often take around 4-5 minutes to pour and brew. Note there is no right or wrong amount of time for a pour-over to take as long as you enjoy the coffee you’ve brewed!