Percolator vs Chemex: Which is the Best Coffee Brewing Method?
published on: 2022-05-12
Making a great cup of coffee is an art form. There are many different ways to brew coffee, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. In this blog post, let’s compare the percolator vs Chemex coffee brewing methods to help you decide which one is right for you!
To help us, let’s focus on these dimensions:
- Coffee preparation time
- Ease of brewing
- Quality of coffee
But before jumping in to the comparison, let’s first take a look at what each brewing method is and how it works.
Percolator brewing was once a popular method for making coffee. It involves boiling water in a pot with a chamber at the bottom where the grounds are placed. As the water boils, it percolates up through the grounds and into the pot. This brewing method is simple and quick, but it can sometimes result in a bitter cup of coffee.
The operating principle for a percolator is as follows:
- A percolator is a type of coffee pot that forces hot water up through a chamber full of ground coffee beans.
- The hot water and grounds are then combined and allowed to steep for a few minutes before being filtered back down into the pot.
- This brewing method is simple and quick, making it a great choice for busy mornings. However, some people find that percolated coffee can be too bitter or strong. The reason is that, you can accidentally leave the water to percolate for too long and thus over extract the coffee grounds.
One benefit of using a percolator is that it’s a great way to make coffee for a large group of people. If you’re having friends over or need to make coffee for a crowd, a percolator can brew a large pot of coffee quickly and easily.
Another advantage is that percolators are relatively inexpensive, making them a great option for budget-minded coffee drinkers.
They don’t need a lot of active brewing time either, which is great for mornings.
The Chemex brewing method is more complex than the percolator, but it produces what many consider a higher quality cup of coffee. The Chemex is an hourglass-shaped glass vessel with a filter attached to its neck.
It uses a simple pour-over method to brew coffee, meaning hot water is poured over ground coffee beans which are then filtered through paper filters into the carafe below.
To brew coffee with a Chemex, you first pre-wet the filter paper to remove any papery taste. After that the next steps are:
- Place the Chemex on a scale and add your ground coffee.
- Boil water and let it cool for about 30 seconds before pouring it over the grounds.
- Slowly pour the hot water in a circular motion, being careful not to pour too quickly or too slowly.
- Allow the coffee to brew for about four minutes before removing the filter paper.
Chemex brewing results in a clean cup of coffee with little to no sediment.
The Chemex brewing method is more time-consuming than the percolator, but many coffee lovers feel that it’s worth the extra effort.
Percolator vs Chemex
Now that we’ve looked at each brewing method separately, let’s compare them side-by-side.
Coffee preparation time
In terms of active preparation time percolator is the clear winner. It only takes a few minutes to brew a pot of coffee, whereas the Chemex can take up to four minutes. With Chemex you’ll need to be more mindful how quickly and how the water is poured, while with a percolator you can more or less set it and forget it.
For clean up percolators can be a bit messy, as the coffee grounds are in direct contact with the water. This also means that you have to be careful about how much coffee you use, as too much will make the resulting brew too strong. The Chemex is much easier to clean, as the coffee grounds are filtered out by the paper filter.
Ease of use
When it comes to ease of use, percolators are again the clear winner. There is very little room for error, and as long as you put in the correct amount of coffee and water, you’ll end up with a decent cup of coffee. That’s unless you’ll leave it on for too long.
The Chemex requires a bit more finesse. The pour-over brewing method means that you have to be careful about the speed and amount of water you’re pouring. If you pour too quickly or too slowly, or if you don’t use the right amount of coffee, your brew will suffer.
Taste or quality of coffee
This is where things get subjective. Some people prefer the taste of coffee brewed in a percolator, while others prefer the taste of coffee brewed in a Chemex.
If you’re someone who likes their coffee on the stronger side, then you might prefer the percolator. The direct contact between the water and coffee grounds results in a bolder cup of coffee. If you prefer your coffee to be lighter and more round, then the Chemex might be more your cup of tea (or rather a coffee).
No matter which brewing method you prefer, there’s no doubt that both the percolator and Chemex can make a great cup of coffee. So at the end of the day, it really comes down to personal preference.
Price of the device shouldn’t decide between percolator or Chemex, but it’s worth mentioning that percolators are generally more affordable.
You can find a decent quality percolator for around $30, whereas a Chemex will set you back at least $50. Of course, there are cheaper and more expensive options for both brewing methods.
The coffee beans are roughly the same price for both brewing methods.
Bottom line: percolator vs Chemex
There you have it, a side-by-side comparison of the percolator and Chemex coffee brewing methods. So Chemex or percolator? Hopefully the table below helps you decide.
Chemex produces a clean tasting cup of coffee with no sediment.
The brewing process is simple and easy to do.
Chemex is easy to keep clean.
You have more control over the brew time with Chemex.
Chemex can be a bit slower than other brewing methods.
You have to be careful not to over-extract the coffee when using Chemex.
Percolator is faster than Chemex, taking only about three minutes to brew a cup of coffee.
Percolator is automatic, so once you’ve added the water and ground coffee, it does all the work for you.
The chamber of a percolator can be difficult to clean after each use.
There is a chance of over-extraction if you let the percolator brew for too long.
So, which brewing method should you choose? Chemex or percolator?
If you’re looking for an easy to use and affordable coffee brewer, then go with the percolator. If you’re willing to spend a bit more and don’t mind being a bit more careful while making coffee, then the Chemex might be better suited for you.
Filed under: chemexpercolatorbrewingcomparison