Everyone deserves to be able to start their morning with a fresh cup of coffee, so we set out to find the best devices to help you make barista level pour-over coffee at home. The Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker was our choice for those who need to brew a cup — or two — for everyone in their household.
What we loved about it
First, we wouldn’t blame you one bit if you bought a Chemex for its elegant beauty alone. Invented by chemist Peter Schlumbohm in 1941, the classic pour-over coffee pot, with its leather and wood collar, was inspired by both the Erlenmeyer flask and Bauhaus-era design, and is part of MoMA’s permanent collection.
But here’s the thing: It also produces wonderfully light, delicious, flavorful coffee. An all-in-one model that serves as carafe, dripper and pitcher, it can brew up to eight cups at a time, making it a fantastic alternative for a couple or small group.
Like all the drippers we tested, it takes some trial and error with your pour technique and the ratio of water to grounds to find your ideal brew. But even when we just eyeballed the amount of water we poured, we turned out cup after cup of coffee that rivals what we get at our favorite gourmet java shop. Even better, it allows pour-over coffee newbies to take some of the pouring precision out of the equation with the help of a button-size marker that shows you when the carafe is half-full; and you know it’s full when the coffee hits the bottom of the collar.
What we didn’t like about it
Obviously, it takes longer to brew eight cups (we clocked ours at just over four minutes), so even though the Chemex turned out one of the hottest coffee temperatures in our testing, if two people are sharing the glass carafe (which loses heat rather quickly), your final cups will be noticeably cooler than your first. To combat this, we pre-heated the container with hot water (dump it out just before you start the brewing process), which helped keep the coffee hotter longer. You can also keep the carafe warm on a glass or gas stove top set on low heat.
One drawback to the Chemex: It requires special Chemex paper filters that aren’t exactly the cheapest. They also aren’t always in stock on Amazon (again, you may want to buy more than one box at a time if you’re a frequent user). The filters, which are heavier than most brands, need to be folded according to instructions to create a cone-shaped funnel. The upside to the fuss is that the extra thickness does an excellent job of straining out any particulates that might sneak through other paper filters.
Cleaning is also trickier with the Chemex because of its hourglass design, but we found a bottle brush was able to scrub the hard to reach spots. And while we hand-washed our carafe (removing the wood collar first), the glass is also dishwasher safe.
How it compares to other pour-over coffee makers we recommend
Best pour-over coffee maker overall
Best pour-over coffee maker for beginners
Best pour-over coffee maker for multiple cups
|What we loved||With three drip holes, the Kalita Wave enables more easily and evenly saturated coffee grounds. The maker produced a rich and robust single cup of coffee, was user friendly and easy to clean.||Clearly marked with measuring lines, the OXO Brew's plastic tank holds up to 12 ounces of water and regulates the drip for you. With the OXO Brew, there’s zero need to worry about pouring too much or too little water, getting the swirl just right, allowing enough time for the grounds to bloom and settle, etc.||This aesthetically pleasing coffeemaker also produces wonderfully light, delicious, flavorful coffee. An all-in-one model that serves as carafe, dripper and pitcher, it can brew up to eight cups at a time, making it a fantastic alternative for a couple or small group.|
|What we didn't like||Our one sour point with this dripper is the fact that you have to use special Kalita Wave white paper filters for brewing, which are a bit pricey at about $17 for 50.||The coffee was not as robust as that produced by some of the other models; we found it to be a bit on the weak side. However, by experimenting with adding more grounds at a finer size, we were able to home in on a bolder brew.||Obviously, it takes longer to brew eight cups and keeping all that coffee warm among fewer drinkers can be a challenge. This maker also requires special Chemex paper filters that aren’t exactly the cheapest.|
|Key Specs||Makes between 16 to 26 ounces in 2 ½ minutes||Holds up to 12 ounces of water and self- regulates the drip. Makes coffee in about 2 ½ minutes||Makes eight cups in a little over four minutes|
The bottom line
For those looking for a pour-over maker that’ll make several cups at a time — and one that’ll look extremely good doing so — there’s no better option than the Chemex.