Chemex Vs. Bodum (A Quick Guide)

Unlike popular opinion, all pour-over coffee makers don’t make the same quality of coffee. In my experience, the taste of coffee is affected by many factors, including the design of the coffee pot used.

When shopping for a coffee maker, it is not easy to tell them apart from the Bodum to the Chemex, especially at first glimpse. Still, the experience with either coffee maker is different, and one serves me better.

If you are into harsh, strong, and dark coffee, the Chemex is the best deal for you, but If you prefer a light or medium cuppa with natural coffee oils and flavor elements, then the Bodum is the best alternative. Both coffee makers make delicious and fantastic cups of coffee, so choose one that’s perfect for your needs.

In this post, I compare Chemex and Bodum coffee makers to help decide which one is ideal for individual needs and preferences. The article also discusses what the Bodum and the Chemex are and illustrates the pros and cons of each coffee brewer. In addition, the post identifies factors to consider when deciding between either the Chemex or the Bodum.

Chemex Vs. Bodum; Which should I get?

making coffee with a chemex

Over recent years, amateur coffee makers and baristas have adopted pour-over methods of coffee brewing, which is popular for producing flavourful and nuanced cuppas.

This method of coffee brewing gives me absolute control over various elements during the process, and it’s a fun way to experiment with different brew flavors.

I recently bought my first Bodum coffee maker, and I have enjoyed every bit of making my morning coffee. A Chemex coffee maker is quite costly, which begs the question, how does it compare to the Bodum version?

Chemex and Bodum are both popular bestsellers, and their pour-over coffee makers are a great addition to any countertop for any coffee lover. To decide on which to choose between the two, we must get to the basics and compare the differences and similarities between them.

What is a Bodum?

Bodum is popular for classic French presses, and its high-quality brews are incomparable. The brewer constitutes a carafe made of borosilicate hardened glass and a silicone handle using a leather strap.

It’s most popular for its permanent stainless steel filter, which saves me from constantly buying paper filters. In addition, it is fitted with a plastic lid to retain heat when the filter is removed.

Pros

  • It’s affordable
  • It comes in three sizes for convenience
  • It has a high-quality handle and tempered glass
  • I can choose to have a cork handle or a silicone handle

Cons

  • Its design isn’t very elegant
  • I sometimes have to put up with silt in my coffee
  • The brew doesn’t have the health benefits of oil-free brews.

What is a Chemex?

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The Chemex is an elegantly designed coffee maker which has gained a lot of popularity today. This coffee maker is designed with tempered borosilicate glass and has a wooden handle that I can easily remove and put back.

The Chemex coffee makers require Chemex filters to make that delightful cup of coffee with exquisite taste. These filters are thick in size to allow absorption of natural oils from the coffee beans for a clear and smooth cuppa.

The Chemex comes in a variety of sizes, and it allows me to brew multiple cups of coffee when I’m having a social gathering or friends over.

Pros

  • It has a beautiful and classic design.
  • It comes in a variety of sizes to suit individual needs
  • The wooden handle gives off a high-end feel

Cons

  • It is costly compared to the Bodum version
  • It requires unique paper filters
  • It isn’t packaged with a permanent filter

Factors To Consider When Buying A Bodum Vs. Chemex Coffee Maker

pour over with a chemex

After familiarizing myself with both coffee brewers, it’s easy to tell them apart and decipher some of the key factors for you to consider for the next coffee maker.

Cost difference

When shopping for these two coffee makers, it’s clear that the Chemex is double the price of Bodum, and if I shop around for longer, I could probably get a cheaper price for Bodum.

The Bodum is ideal for small budgets. The Chemex has a strongly reminiscent design compared to the Chemex, but it’s more affordable.

Appearance

When it comes to coffee brewing, the aesthetic of the coffee maker tells a lot, and the design is an important factor to consider. Depending on your personal preference, you can choose either a Chemex or Bodum version, which is not easy to tell apart just by looking at them.

Both are carafes with leather straps and handles. At a closer look, however, the Chemex’s handle is wooden, and that of the Bodum is a cork handle, and the Chemex has a very distinctive glass bubble.

Design

The Chemex handle is sophisticated and sleek, and the smooth wooden handle is appealing to the eye. It has a fine texture with a smooth feel, making it a piece of high-quality equipment for coffee brewing. If you prefer a more minimalistic look, you can opt for a handle-free version. 

The Bodum cannot compete with the Chemex in appearance as it is short and squat, and even its handle options are no comparison to the wooden Chemex make.

If you are new at coffee brewing and equipment, the Bodum pour-over is an ideal fit. It has a flat-bottomed stainless-steel filter which doesn’t care much about exact measurements and coffee grounds to water ratio.

Quality of brew

There isn’t much difference between the coffee I brew with the Bodum and the Chemex coffee maker. However, both brews have very different mouth feels, with the Chemex producing clear, smooth coffee and the Bodum a rich, more aromatic cuppa with a heavier mouth-feel.

The Chemex has thick paper filters which retain the natural oils and sediments from coffee grounds, while the permanent metal filter of the Bodum allows coffee sediments and oils through.

Size

We use ounces or cups to measure the size and holding capacity of Chemex and Bodum coffee makers. In my experience, Chemex has a wider range of options in size than Bodum, which has only three sizes. Chemex has 3, 5,6,8,10, and 13 cup size variations, while Bodum only has 4,8, and 12 cup options.

Glass thickness

Both the Chemex and Bodum coffee makers are made of borosilicate glass, giving them a beautiful, sturdy look.

The glass’s thickness is critical in determining the durability of the brewer and the quality of coffee made. Thicker glass has a better holding temperature, meaning that coffee will be hotter longer in the Bodum than the Chemex, whose glass is slightly thinner. The hand-blown glass version of a coffee maker is more durable and more costly than the thin cast glass versions.

The glass-making Chemex does not absorb odors and tastes, and it has an aesthetic look. It’s easy to maintain, and its combination with the leather tie and wooden collar gives the brewer a very sophisticated look.

Filter

The coffee filter is vital in the brewing process to hold the ground coffee and the bitter, unpleasant taste from coffee soils and sediments. The Bodum has a permanent filter made of stainless steel mesh, which is an eco-friendly option. The filter is also quite easy to use and saves you the trouble of constantly stepping out to replace paper filters.

However, as much as it saves money to buy filter papers, it also cuts brewing time as the water passes through the filter quickly. There is less contact time between the ground coffee and the hot water, resulting in a weak, unpleasant cuppa with sediments.

Alternatively, the Chemex uses a Chemex filter which is thick and specially designed to perform better than regular paper filters. As such, the brewing process of Chemex is rather slow, which allows extraction of coffee oils and sediment for a tasteful, smooth, and delicious cup of coffee.

Filter time

From experience, the Chemex takes a rather long time to brew compared to Bodum, which is approximately 5 minutes.

This, however, means that the resulting brew from the Chemex is strong and robust because the long-brewing time permits the hot water to soak in the flavors from the coffee grounds.

I prefer the Chemex for a dark, deep, and strong cup of coffee than a Bodum, which, though it takes lesser brew time (approximately 3 minutes), the result is a light-bodied, medium cuppa.

Coffee strength

The filter time for either coffee maker accounts as an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on how you like your coffee and your caffeine needs.

Regular paper filters are used in place of the permanent ones to lengthen the brew time and allow the grounds to soak in well for a strong cup. However, the permanent mesh filter allows natural coffee oils and flavors to drip through, which are mostly soaked up by paper filters.

Ease of use

When I am in a hurry, I prefer the Bodum to the Chemex coffee filters due to the ease of use of the former.

Chemex filters have to be rinsed before brewing coffee, and they have to be folded and put in a certain way, while for the Bodum pour-over, I just insert the mesh filter into the carafe’s mouth.

The Chemex has a narrow neck, making the coffee brewing process slow, and I have to wait for a while for it to drip into the cup, while the Bodum’s wide neck allows for a faster drip-rate.

It’s also much easier to pour coffee out from a Chemex than a Bodum, as the latter could get messy. Taste

Similarities Between Chemex and Bodum

After using and comparing these two coffee makers, a few undeniable similarities make them suitable options for all coffee enthusiasts in search of the perfect brewer. In essence, both coffee makers have a similar pour-over design, and they are both made of sturdy borosilicate glass.

Other similarities are;

  • They can both be washed safely in a dishwasher
  • They are both ideal for brewing large quantities of coffee for big multitudes.

What Will Work Best For Me?

Both coffee makers have similar designs, and they are both made of quality glass with variations in size. I prefer Bodum for fast brewing as it doesn’t require any additional filters, but the final brew is rather weak.  

It’s finally time to decide what to buy, the Chemex or the Bodum coffee maker? Based on the above, I recommend that you buy a brewer in line with your needs and preferences, as we all have different caffeine needs. If you want a compact brewer and are on a tight budget, I recommend the Bodum, otherwise get the Chemex for a more elegant, high-end feel.