Chemex Vs. Bodum

If you love strong black coffee but do not like the black liquid that comes with conventional coffee makers, a pour-over coffee maker is your best choice. They are easy to use and will make a cup of coffee in no time. These coffee makers have a wide mouth, narrow neck, and a wide bottom. They work by steaming your coffee at the bottom. You just need to pour some hot water on ground coffee, and you are good to go.

There are different pour of coffee makers in the market. However, the final showdown comes to Bodum vs. Chemex. Both of them are advanced, professional coffee makers but are also affordable and simple. Both are different but have subtle similarities. Let us compare both to determine the best option for your coffee.

Taste of the Coffee

If you are looking for the strongest type of coffee, you will find each of them a good fir. Each of them makes stronger coffee than most premium makers in the market. However, according to most customer reviews, Chemex makes a more potent brew than Bodum. This is most likely due to the filter type used (we have discussed this in the section below). For people who would like to have a really strong brew, go for Chemex. However, the differences between the tastes of coffee are, at most, subtle. Therefore, in our opinion, we believe that this is a tie as each of them has good quality coffee.

Filters

Bodum comes with a permanent mesh filter that is created to serve the entire lifetime of your appliance. All you are required to do is to clean the filter when you are done brewing some coffee, and it will be ready for the next batch. Its filter has very tiny holes to increases the efficiency of the filtration process. However, it may cause some problems if you like using finely ground coffee as it might slip through the holes to the bottom.

On the other hand, Chemex does not have a permanent filter. You have to keep changing the filters after using your appliance. You buy its filters in batches of 100 pieces. Their filters are quite different from the conventional filters in terms of shape and thickness. They are thicker, which plays a role in the unique taste that is known of the Chemex coffee makers. While Bodum is more expensive than Chemex, the latter catches up with it, as you have to keep buying new filters for your brewing.

How Long Does it Take to Create a Cup of Coffee

If you are working with a Bodum, it takes approximately three minutes to get your coffee cup. You can have a shorter brewing time if you are looking for a medium cup. Most strong brew lovers have a potent coffee in about two and a half minutes. The mesh filter is designed to allow subtle coffee flavors to drip into the coffee below. It does this in a shorter period than a conventional filter.

 On the other hand, it takes Chemex about five minutes to get you a strong brew. The longer brew time is partly due to the thick filters used. Besides, the longer brew time allows flavors and oils to soak through and drip into your coffee. This is the reason why coffee prepared by Chemex has a stronger flavor than one made with Bodum. Most people add filters over the mesh wire in Bodum to allow these subtle flavors to soak through and enrich their coffee cup. However, manufacturers have never recommended it to their customers as they claim that paper absorbs much of the flavor.   

The Build

The Bodum is made of mouth-blown borosilicate glass while the neck is covered with a silicone sleeve that comes in a wide choice of colors. It comes with a lid so that you can cover the pot when brewing your coffee. The borosilicate glass is dishwasher safe, which makes it easy for you to clean up after use.

On the other hand, Chemex has a choice of two glass materials, the classic and handblown versions. The handblown version is the thicker glass, while the classic one is thinner. Obviously, the thicker glass is stronger, and therefore, more expensive. It also has a sleeve at the neck like the Bodum. The sleeve is made of a wooden collar that you can remove when cleaning. Just ensure that you dry it after cleaning before returning it. If you do not want to use the wooden collar, you can purchase one that comes with a glass handle.

 The collar is held in place using a rawhide string that looks really good. There are eight color choices that include Saffron Yellow, Kelly Green, original leather, royal blue, Jet Black, Crimson Red, Gum Ball Orange, and Concrete Gray.

Both the appliances look similar except that Bodum has a more rounded shape and a smaller bottom, while Chemex has a more geometrical triangular shape and a broader base. On the other hand, the Bodum has a wider neck than the Chemex and comes with a coffee scoop. Overall, when it comes to style, Chemex carries the day.

Price Differences

When comparing these two types of coffee makers, you may find Bodum a little expensive than the classic Chemex coffee maker. However, the handblown glass Chemex is nearly twice the cost of both the appliances. When you buy Bodum at around $21 to $25, there are no extra costs for running the appliance. This is because it has a lifetime filter that you will not have to change.

 However, for Chemex, you will need to buy a pack of 100 filters that goes for about $10 to $15. Therefore, when making a choice, determine if the extra benefit of using Chemex exceeds the extra cost of buying and using the appliance.  

How Does the Capacity Compare?

You have different capacity options for each of the two appliances. For the Bodum, you can choose between 17oz., 32oz., and 51oz. For measurements, 4 oz. is equal to one cup. Therefore, a 32 oz. appliance should give you eight cups of some excellent coffee.

On the other hand, Chemex comes with 12 OZ, 24oz, 32 oz. and 40 oz options, with the 32oz capacity being the most popular with users. Therefore, both versions are almost of the same size in terms of capacity with a difference of just a single cup. It is recommended that you pick a coffee maker that has a higher capacity than your normal usage so that you can make an extra cup or two at once if you have guests at home.

What are the Similarities between the Two?

Now that we have talked about the differences between the two, let us talk about the similarities. They have a lot in common, which makes them direct competitors in the coffee making industry. Here are some of these similarities.

(i) Pour Over Method

There are subtle differences on how to prepare coffee with each of the two appliances. However, the general process is just the same. You need to boil some water and then pour it on top of coffee grounds. Then the coffee drips down to the bottom of the jar.  

(ii) The Style of Coffee Maker

For most of the parts, both coffee makers look the same. It is likely that your friends will not notice the difference between the two. Apart from the subtle design differences discussed above, they nearly look the same. If design is part of the considerations you make when choosing one, be sure to check on the differences between the two.

(iii) Glass Material

Both coffee makers are made of borosilicate glass. The handblown Chemex model is just thicker than the rest but made of the same material. This type of glass should serve you for long without breakage. Just ensure that you lift the appliance carefully with dry hands. Besides, avoid dropping it too hard on the surface as you may break it too.

Do You Need any Accessories to Get Going?

Now that you have decided to go for a pour over coffee maker, you can get started as soon as possible. However, if you would like to improve your coffee-making experience, you may need to have some accessories in place as well. Here are some of the accessories that you may require.

(i) A Bottle Brush

The neck of both appliances is too narrow to cleaned with a sponge. Therefore, to clean your glass appliance perfectly, you need something that will fit the neck.  A bottlebrush allows you to reach all the corners of your glass jar in no time. It is cheap and can be used for an extended period to clean several items in the kitchen.

(ii) A Kettle

You will need to boil your water on the side before pouring it on your ground coffee. To do this, you need a kettle or any other appliance that heats your water. The kettle is the most appropriate appliance for the job. A normal kettle can do that job perfectly.

Preparing a Cup of Coffee with Chemex  

You need to have four minutes to prepare a cup of coffee. Get a pouring kettle, drinking mug, a scale, burr grinder, a stir stick, and a timer. For two mugs of coffee, you need five to seven teaspoons of craft coffee beans.  

To get the best results, grind some fresh beans when preparing your coffee. Therefore, buy whole bean coffee instead of the ground one. Use a burr grinder immediately before you start your brewing. The fresh ground has all the compounds and subtle aromas to make your coffee good. Use the scale to measure about 40g of coffee beans and grind them in your grinder. This takes the guesswork out of your brewing process. A gooseneck kettle is best for the process as it gives you some control over the pouring process and where it hits the ground coffee.

Step 1

Start by heating the water up to 205 degrees to bring the water to boil for at least 30 seconds. Pick your Chemex filter and insert it on the top of the brewer. Line the three-layered side where the sprout will be pouring the water. For the Bodum, you do not need to put a filter. Just pour the ground coffee on its in-built filter (Ensure that the coffee is not finely ground to prevent some of it from seeping through the filter).

Step 2

On your filter, pour some hot water on top of the filter for about five seconds. While ensuring that the filter is in place, get rid of the rinsing water. Rinsing also helps keep the filter inside the dripper and removes the paper taste that may spoil the great taste of your final product.

Step 3

Now pour the ground coffee into the filter. Shake it gently so that the coffee grounds settle in place. You can now start your timer. Then, just pour enough water over the grounds to wet the ground evenly. Let the water sit for 45 seconds. This is a step called the bloom. The hot water will force the coffee to release any trapped gasses. Eventually, this will lead to the expansion of the coffee bed. There is bubbling at its surface, which releases awesome aromas.

Step 4

Once this is done, start pouring the water in spiral motions and not at the edges of the filter. If the water levels rise to the rim of the Chemex, pause for a few moments until the water drains before adding some more water. Pour water until the water reads 2:45. This should be enough for your two cups of coffee.

Step 5

Allow the water to drain through the filtration process. Once you drain the water, remove the filter, and discard the grounds. If that takes longer than the 4.00, it means your grind was too fine. On the other hand, if the final time is shorter than 3.00, your ground is too coarse. You may need to adjust your grind perfectly using these results. You may also use a stir stick to allow faster filtration of the liquid. 

You may use the same on Bodum. From here, you can serve the coffee hot. Swirl your Chemex around a little to allow for even distribution of the fine ground.

It takes some practice to perfect your brewing process. Try with different periods and ground sizes until you get your perfect cup of coffee. Otherwise, the process is easy to follow and is similar on both appliances.

Which One is Good for You?

There is no true winner in this battle; it only boils down to what you need. They only have a few subtle differences. Here are a few thoughts to choosing the right appliance for your brewing.

  • If you are looking for the cheapest option in the market, go for Bodum.  It is relatively less expensive and does not need any additional purchases in the course of using it.
  • If you are looking to enjoy subtle flavors and some strong cup of coffee, go for Chemex. Its thick filters allow oils to seep through to your cup of coffee. This results in better taste and a stronger coffee. Some users put filters on top of the Bodum filter to achieve the same effect. However, it is not officially recommended by the manufacturer (you may try it if you already have Bodum at home).
  • If you are looking for a balanced coffee (that is not too thick and does not burn your tongue), Bodum is your choice coffee brewer. On the other hand, if looking for really strong coffee, Chemex is your best bet.
  • If you are looking for a model that prepares coffee within a short period, you may pick any of them, as the difference in duration is so short.
  • If you are looking for a model that is made of quality glass for enhanced durability, the handblown Chemex appliance is the appliance to pick. (It will still break if you drop it on the floor)
  • If looking for one with the highest capacity, Chemex is your choice. It has an extra cup compared to Bodum.

Conclusion

Both the Chemex and Bodum are quality pour over glass coffee makers in the market. Therefore, any of them will give you some quality coffee that is thick and tasting good. Therefore, if looking for a traditional cup of coffee, these two do it better than the conventional coffee makers. This article provides some of the subtle differences between them and a guideline on how to use each of them.  Pick one that meets your coffee needs. Remember, the perfect dark coffee is what puts these appliances a step over the rest. Grab one and get brewing.

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