Here we have two heavyweight pour overs.
I would go as far as to say these are the two most popular pour overs on the market right now.
Chemex is a classic pour over that has been around since 1941, and the Hario V60 just came onto the scene in 2004. In terms of pour overs, the two are vastly different. But it is essentially the same brew method.
So as my curious mind often does… it asked me a question! It asked me, “Danny, which one of these two super popular pour overs is actually better!? I need to know!”
And since inquiring minds want to know, I figured I would give my inquisitive mind a break and figure the thing out!
There are different things to think about of course, like speed, ease of use and cleanup, how nice they look (although this one is less important), and most importantly which one tastes better!
So here’s a quick breakdown of the differences between Chemex and Hario V60, and most importantly… which one’s better!
“LLLLLLLET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!”
Who Are The Challengers?
I have compared other coffee makers on this blog and sometimes they are quite different.
But these two are more similar in the fact that they’re both pour over coffee makers.
Chemex has been around for quite a while, it has a design that has become a true coffee classic. Hario is a newer pour over, from the 2000s.
The Hario is smaller than Chemex and has a much different design. Chemex is a large glass pour over, while the V60 is a smaller ceramic piece that rests on either your coffee mug or over the sleek-looking glass server.
The Chemex has a large opening in its hourglass shape for the coffee to drip, while the ceramic V60 has a 2cm opening. Both of them are pretty fast.
The V60 is shaped at a 60° angle (see what they did there?… shaped like a V… 60° angle… V60), and it has these spiral ribs in the dripper.
These ribs or ridges are an innovative addition to pour over coffee making, they provide for smoother extraction of coffee because they allow more air to flow which in turn helps the coffee grounds receive more air so they can brew more fully.
On Hario’s website it talks about these features and it’s an interesting read!
The filter that they use is also different. Chemex uses a large filter that’s also pretty thick, and their website claims that the filters are 20 – 30% thicker or heavier than other competing brands’.
Hario uses a more standard cone-shaped filter.
These are our two pour overs on center stage today.
Yes I’ve just mentioned differences between the two.
But what we’re really wanting to look at is the difference in taste!
I’ve said it before, I’ve said it a thousand times before… always brew what tastes best! Coffee beans, brewing method, the roast type, and any other factor you can think of.
Brew what tastes best please. Not just what’s most convenient.
Now for the taste difference.
Chemex preserves more of the body and the smokiness of the coffee. The V60 emphasizes more of the acidity and has more of a clear bright taste.
The differences can be subtle though. Chemex is more robust and V60 is more tangy.
Basically Hario V60 has more of a light flavor and Chemex has more of a dark flavor.
This Is A Tough One
When I do the taste test – and yes I actually brewed them side-by-side and did a taste test! – it’s a tough call.
It’s like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in the Thrilla in Manilla… two champions who give each other a good run for their money.
Sorry I’m a boxing fan I can’t help but make a boxing analogy!
So Who’s The Winner?
There are quite a few differences between Chemex and V60.
But when it comes to the taste… Chemex is the winner.
Yes it’s a close one here, and yes I definitely realize that if there are any coffee aficionados reading this that some of you might disagree!
But rather than just blindly take it from a few hipsters who have really nice websites and say that the V60 is the best pour over in the entire universe, I tried it for myself and conclude that Chemex yields a finer cup of coffee.
It gives more of the flavor profile than the V60.
When it comes to coffee what we’re looking for is balance. A well-balanced coffee or brew method that brings out more flavors is always the best.
The V60 brings out the more acidic notes of coffee. And I believe it’s a slimmer flavor profile. I also feel that there’s less body in the V60. The best kinds of coffee for this would be light roasts, and especially ones with toasted grain or citrusy notes.
Chemex, on the other hand, brings out more of the all-around profile of the coffee. It makes it less acidic and bitter on your palate.
The difference in taste between the two is at least in part due to the different filter thickness.
Chemex filters out more of the oils and acids. It can emphasize a broader range of flavors. Although, it will not emphasize toasted grain and citrusy notes as well as Hario.
But it can do well with many medium or dark roast coffees.
I see Chemex as the winner because while they’re both amazing pour overs, Chemex is more versatile in terms of the flavors it can produce or bring out.
It has more of that richness and smoothness that I personally enjoy.
Post Fight Comments (Conclusion)
It’s certainly a tough call to make because these are two high caliber pour overs.
But it’s how I see it and I would recommend (at least for taste) Chemex slightly over Hario V60.
I also want to encourage you to test things out before you come to a conclusion! I have heard that V60 is the best pour over and makes the best coffee at least a few times. But I really haven’t heard concrete reasons why! So I figured why not just test them out myself?
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I hope this article was helpful to you in answering the question of which of these mighty pour overs can deliver better! If you have any questions, comments or another opinion to share, please feel free to write me in the comments section below and I’ll be happy to hear from you. Coffee cheers!