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:

But before jumping in to the comparison, let’s first take a look at what each brewing method is and how it works.


Percolator 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:

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.


Chemex 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:

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 Pros:

Chemex Cons:

Percolator Pros:

Percolator Cons:

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