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.