Perfect coffee with AeroPress and Chemex

I use both an Aeropress and a Chemex for a perfect coffee experience every day.

The AeroPress makes a cup of coffee (or espresso) very quickly. I grind a single scoop of beans on a fine setting, boil just enough water for a single cup, and the whole process takes only two or three minutes (because it’s not a lot of water to boil). The press itself takes only thirty seconds or so.

I start my day with the AeroPress, because it’s fast. The Chemex takes longer — typically closer to 15-20 minutes. I boil an entire pot of water, and then the brew takes around 10 minutes. But with the Chemex, I get 6 cups of coffee, or three mugs.

I use a burr grinder for both, but the Chemex requires a rougher grind similar to a drip machine.

If I need more coffee in the day, the AeroPress makes that easy.

The AeroPress is also very flexible. It’s designed to make espresso, and you can make a double or even triple espresso just as easily as a single. But I usually fill it with water to top off the cup, so it’s really an Americano.

By making the AeroPress first, I get coffee quicker than I could with a drip machine and I drink it while I read the news on my phone and make the Chemex. All in all, I created a nice little morning routine.

If I want another cup during the day, the AeroPress is fast and easy, and clean. Seriously, that thing has no maintenance; simply rinse the rubber stopper you pop the grinds out of and you’re done. It takes 3 seconds to clean.

Taste-wise, the two are quite different but both wonderful. I prefer Ethiopian or otherwise floral, light roasted beans. A light roast really lets the flavor come out of the coffee. The AeroPress tends to make a richer cup than the Chemex, and I usually get more of the fruity flavors from the Chemex than the AeroPress. I love both.

Water-wise, the gooseneck is pivotal so that you can measure the speed in which you pour the water. The slower the better. I also made the mistake with my first few tries of the water being too cold, which doesn’t allow the flavor to come out as much. Now I boil the water and let it cool for a minute, ensuring close to the ~195-205 degree temperature.

I haven’t made coffee with a traditional drip pot since I started using these devices in the new year. They are wonderful. Coffee just isn’t the same with a different method.

The AeroPress is very affordable at $30, and you can also travel or camp with it quite easily. The Chemex is still less than most drip machines, between $50-80 depending upon which you get. I see no reason at all you would need a drip machine with these two.

The one place you’ll spend money is on the grinder. Mine is a pretty standard Cuisinart Burr Grinder, and around $150 when I bought it (now only $85). Totally worth it.

The gooseneck pot can be cheap; I think mine was around $25.

All combined, I get coffee as good as any coffee house, in my home, every day. I spend about $15 per 12 ounce bag for the beans (from a few wonderful Birmingham roasters), and one lasts me about a week.

I can’t imagine going back to drip, and the combo system with the Aeropress and Chemex works perfectly for me.

4 thoughts on “Perfect coffee with AeroPress and Chemex

  1. Those are nice grinders but tough to clean, and they need it periodically or else they jam up. I got one from an Amazon deal for only ~$30, but it died after a few years. Aeropress produces great coffee — perfect for an Americano — but it’s a bit wrestly to use. I guess I’m suaded by user experience a lot. I like the old 1980 Krups espresso makers, some of the better drips, and the classic Italian Mokas. Our daily standard is a stainless steel French press thermos. There have been some slick new designs for that old technology on Kickstarter and elsewhere that eliminate the grounds getting in, but I’ve never found that to be a big problem unless the mesh is old. I like the Turkish coffee method too — mix superfine grounds with a lot of sugar and boil three times. Will have to give the Chemex a try.

  2. I use both methods as well. I like the \”craft\” method of the Chemex, as there are so many subtle variations you can make. I also like fooling with the scale, grind, timer etc., which are the antithesis of using the very simple AeroPress. You\’re right- the two do taste different, and both can be truly excellent. As far as grinders, I can\’t speak highly enough of the Greville SmartGrinder for either method. Once you figure out the grind and dosage you like/need, this grinder will take care of it consistently. The way the grounds make a little hill on the magnetic plastic tray makes it super-easy to get the coffee into the aeropress\’s funnel. The route of the grounds is straight down, so it doesn\’t ever clog, as the Cuisinart and others are prone to do. There is also little if any mess (!) Finally, the Bonavita kettle with temperature control makes the temp dept. a no-brainer as well.
    Thanks for your blog!

  3. I have the same grinder. What setting # do you use for grinding beans to be used in the Chemex? I have been using 8 or 9 and wondering if it\’s correct.


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