With the Chemex now over 70 years old, it is a well established product, with its own unique nuances. Brewista added their own offering into the hourglass pour over fold, and call it the Brewista Smart Brew™. Obviously it is based on the Chemex. The Chemex is probably the most iconic all in one dripper (i.e. the drip and server are all in one).
When we were lent the Brewista Smart Brew™ recently we felt it was necessary to compare it the icon it seems to have been based on.
Below is a review of this comparison.
The Chemex has the classic hour glass shape with the top removed. We use the 6 cup daily and so we used this one to compare to the Brewista dripper (which was an 8-cup).
The Chemex has a single spout, the collar is wooden with the leather strap holding it on.
Brewista Smart Brew Description
The Brewista is also a classic hourglass shape with the top sliced off. It has a pouring spout and a breathing spout.
The Chemex has received some criticism for the fact that the single spout impedes water flow. So this is why we suspect he breathing spout was added.
Other items the Brewista has worth noting:
- Raised ridges on the spout
- Plastic wrap around removable handle.
A note about Filters
Of all the hot topics in drip brewers filters are probably one of the most debated. Many believe the filter determines the final brew, and we have found some truth to that. With the Chemex filters costing relatively more than most of the others on the market it is worth playing with filters.
We have used the Chemex with Chemex and Hario filters with different results. We have tried the Kalita wave filter in the Chemex too. The result was that the “waves” in the filter did not survive the first pour. The Brewista smart brew claims that it works with any filter, so we tried the Kalita, and the results were similar to the what we had with the Chemex. We did not try the generic Melitta flat bottomed filters, but would anticipate they would work on both Chemex and Brewista.
For this test, we used the standard Chemex filters.
We used one of our regular coffees that almost everyone who knows us like quite a bit Los Naranjos. While it has some fruit complexity it is not over powering like your typical African coffees.
We measured 36 g of the coffee into two containers. Used the Baratza / Mahlkonig Vario grinder set to “10” on makro.
We then use our “default” pour we use for assessing coffees in pour over. This based on the 4/6 method we have posted about.
Start with around 200g water to flush the filter. Add the coffee and then use a bloom of 3 x dose of coffee. So in this case our first pour is 3×36 = 108g – we are as accurate as we can be – so it ended up 102 (Chemex) and 104 g (Brewista).
We then wait 1 minute, before doing the next pour which takes it up to the 40% of total (i.e. 240g). Then wait around 20 seconds and do three pours of 120g each until we reach 600g.
We used a hot water urn. When we pull water from the urn into the Hario kettle it is between 91 and 92 °C. Between the third and fourth pour we had to top up the kettle, and this caused a delay so the fourth pour was almost 50 seconds after the third.
The Brewista was definitely allowing water to pass through grinds faster than the Chemex. We started with the Chemex and finished with the Brewista with each pour, however the Brewista was always finished first. Even with the delay between the third and fourth pour the Brewista was finished at 5:58 and the Chemex took an additional 30 seconds.
We had four different tasters of different backgrounds. Two were coffee people one a wine person, and one a curious passer-by.
Overall, we all agreed that while the Brewista produced a strong mouthfeel, or the coffee appeared to have more body, the Chemex was quite a bit more complex, with the well know orange in the Los Naranjos very apparent and lingering longer.
The products are very close in price. So if you are choosing between the two, you need to decide what you enjoy in coffee body / mouth feel or complexity. If you are the kind of person that looks for a stronger brew than the Brewista smart brew maybe for you, if you are fastidious about everything coffee perhaps the Chemex is the one for you.
And now a video for you: