Everyone deserves to start the morning with a fresh cup of coffee, so we set out to find the best devices to help you make barista-level pourable coffee at home. The Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker was our pick for those who need to brew a cup — or two — for everyone in their household.
Best pour over coffee maker for a group
For times when you have to brew several cups at the same time, you can’t go wrong with the glass Chemex decanter coffee maker. It delivers a light, flavorful and balanced brew every time. An all-in-one model, no separate carafe is needed.
• Related: Read more about our full tests of pour-over coffee makers
What we thought of it
First off, we wouldn’t blame you if you bought a Chemex for its elegant beauty alone. Invented by chemist Peter Schlumbohm in 1941, the classic coffee pot with a leather and wooden collar is inspired by both the Erlenmeyer flask and the Bauhaus era, and is part of the MoMA’s permanent collection.
But here’s the thing: It also produces wonderfully light, delicious, flavorful coffee. An all-in-one model that doubles as a carafe, dripper and pitcher, it can brew up to eight cups at a time, making it a fantastic alternative for a couple or small group.
Like all the drippers we’ve tested, it takes some trial and error with your pouring technique and the ratio of water to coffee grounds to find your ideal brew. But even when we just looked at the amount of water we poured, we found we have cup after cup of coffee that rivals what we get at our favorite gourmet Java shop. In fact, it allows novice coffee aficionados to take some of the pouring precision out of the equation with the help of a button-sized marker that tells you when the carafe is half full; and you know it’s full when the coffee hits the bottom of the collar.
What we didn’t like about it
Obviously, it takes longer to brew eight cups (we clocked ours at just over four minutes), so while the Chemex proved to be one of the hottest coffee temperatures in our testing, if two people share the glass carafe (which loses heat rather than quickly), your last cups will be noticeably cooler than your first. To counter this, we preheated the container with hot water (discard it just before you start the brewing process), which keeps the coffee hotter for longer. You can also keep the carafe warm on a glass or gas stove over low heat.
A disadvantage of the Chemex: it requires special Chemex paper filters that are not exactly the cheapest. They’re also not always in stock on Amazon (again, you may want to buy more than one box at a time if you’re a frequent user). The filters, which are heavier than most brands, should be folded according to the instructions to create a cone-shaped funnel. The upside to the fuss is that the extra thickness does a great job of filtering out any particles that might sneak through other paper filters.
Cleaning is also trickier with the Chemex due to its hourglass design, but we found that a bottle brush could scrub the hard-to-reach areas. And while we wash our carafe by hand (remove the wooden collar first), the glass is also dishwasher safe.
How it compares to other coffee makers we recommend
Best pour over coffee maker overall
Best pour over coffee maker for beginners
Best multi-cup pour-over coffee maker
|What we loved||With three drip holes, the Kalita Wave allows easier and more even saturated coffee grounds. The maker produced a rich and robust single cup of coffee, was easy to use and easy to clean.||The OXO Brew’s plastic tank is clearly marked with measuring lines and can hold up to 12 ounces of water and manage the dripping for you. With the OXO Brew, you don’t have to worry about pouring too much or too little water, getting the swirl just right, giving enough time for the grounds to bloom and settle, etc.||This aesthetically pleasing coffee maker also produces wonderfully light, delicious, flavorful coffee. An all-in-one model that doubles as a carafe, dripper and pitcher, it can brew up to eight cups at a time, making it a fantastic alternative for a couple or small group.|
|What we didn’t like||Our only sour point with this dripper is the fact that you have to use special Kalita Wave white paper filters for brewing, which are a bit pricey at about $17 for 50.||The coffee was not as robust as some other models; we found it a bit on the weak side. However, by experimenting with adding more grounds of a finer size, we were able to get a bolder brew.||Obviously it takes longer to brew eight cups and keeping all that coffee warm with fewer drinkers can be a challenge. This maker also needs special Chemex paper filters which are not exactly the cheapest.|
|Key specs:||Makes between 16 and 26 ounces in 2 ½ minutes||Holds up to 12 ounces of water and self-regulates the drip. Brew coffee in about 2 ½ minutes||Makes eight cups in just over four minutes|
it comes down to
For those looking for a decanter that can make several cups at once — and one that looks exceptionally good — there’s no better option than the Chemex.