Chemex Sizes Featured

Which Chemex Size is Right For You? Essential Guide To Choosing a Chemex Coffee Maker 

Are you ready to make your morning cup of joe with a Chemex coffeemaker? As the saying goes, “The devil is in the details” and choosing which size of Chemex brewer best suits you can be daunting.

Whether it’s for a small gathering or just for yourself – I’m here to help.

From understanding how the classic design works all the way through to exploring its handblown series – I break down which size is best for whom in this guide on picking out your perfect Chemex coffee maker.

What Inspired The Original Design and What Size Was It?

As I explored more about the original design of Chemex coffee makers, I was astonished to learn that it was invented by German-born Dr. Peter Schlumbohm in 1941. His inspiration for this unique design came from a laboratory beaker, blended with an hourglass shape.

Chemex Classic 6 Cup

He wanted to conveniently brew coffee with pure flavor and without sediments, acidity, or bitterness – something that had never been done before.

The original Chemex patent was filed for just one size – the 6-cup model. This classic glass brewer is still popular today and can make enough coffee for several people at once, or for the entire day of an individual.

But don’t worry if you don’t need that much coffee (or need much more); there are different sizes available now that have been inspired by the original design. As someone who’s experienced their fair share of over-caffeinated mornings, I know all too well how important it is to get the right-sized Chemex.

Now onto those classic sizes…

What are the Classic Chemex sizes?

The sizes of Chemex brewers are classified as “cups”. The larger the cup size, the larger the volume.

Chemex Sizes Featured

This standard Chemex series comes in four sizes:

3-cup Chemex16 oz (473 ml)8 1/4″3″
6-cup Chemex30 oz (887 ml)8 1/2″5 1/8″
8-cup Chemex40 oz (1183 ml)9″5 1/4″
10-cup Chemex50 oz (1479 ml)9 1/4″5 1/8″

3 cup Chemex – 16 oz

The 3-cup Chemex is the smallest size available, making it a great choice for those who are looking to make coffee with just one or two people.

It has a classic hourglass shape with a much smaller diameter than the bigger sizes, meaning that it can fit easily on any countertop without taking up too much space.

Plus, the smaller size means:

  • Easier cleaning, since you don’t need to reach far on the inside.
  • Shorter brewing times so your morning caffeine boost will be ready in no time.

Because this model makes a bit less than other sizes, it offers an opportunity to experiment with different types of grinds and cupping styles – something larger models don’t afford.

So if you want to cut down on coffee waste, or you’re just starting out and want to learn more about home-brewing, this is a great option.

6 Cup Chemex – 30 oz

The 6-cup Chemex is a medium size for those who need more coffee than the 3-cup version.

  • It’s great for a family of three or four, and can provide enough coffee to get everyone going in the morning.
  • The larger size also gives you more flexibility with brew times and ratios of coffee grounds to water.
  • You don’t have to worry about overfilling the carafe.
  • Plus, it’s just right if you have guests over. There’s no better feeling than pouring some steaming hot freshly brewed coffee into their mugs – really hits the spot!

I think this size is right for just about anyone, but interestingly, this is not the most popular model…

8 Cup Chemex – 40 oz

The 8-cup Chemex is the most popular size for a reason. It’s perfectly designed to make a large batch of coffee when you’re entertaining guests or brewing coffee for the whole family, without sacrificing flavor.

  • The 8-cup can brew up to 40 ounces(!!!) of coffee at one time. It’s amazing how much coffee this classic design is capable of producing in one go.
  • Plus, it fits just as nicely on your countertop as its smaller counterparts.

“Wow!” I thought when I saw it for the first time at a friend’s house. That’s a big one. But it works, and it works well.

These are the reasons why this size has become increasingly popular among people who want a simple and efficient way to make an impressive amount of delicious coffee with less effort.

10 Cup Chemex – 50 oz

The 10 cup Chemex might seem like overkill for some coffee drinkers, but for others, it can be a lifesaver. It actually has more sales on Amazon, than the 3-cup.

The classic design is also slightly larger to accommodate the greater capacity which makes it perfect if you’re having a crowd or have multiple people who need their morning fix! And because of its volume, you won’t have to keep refilling your pot every few minutes.

Plus, with its scientifically perfected brewing process, you’ll get 1.5 liters of evenly-extracted, full-flavored coffee each time. Now honestly, how cool is that?!

Glass Handle Series Sizes (Same As Classic)

The Glass Handle Series shares the same sizes as the Classic, but with a beautiful glass handle instead of the wood collar accent.

Chemex Glass Handle 6 Cup

Cleaning them is more convenient, as removing the leather strap and wood collar from a classic Chemex is fiddly. 

But choosing one type over the other is absolutely subjective. I prefer the wood collar model.

Handblown Series Sizes

And hey – don’t forget about the Handblown Series, which offers the same type of brewer but a bit differently. And with two additional sizes (5-cup and 13-cup) available, there’s even more flexibility when deciding which size suits your needs.

Chemex Handblown 5 Cup

As its name implies, these traditional wooden and leather-bound coffee makers are made with hand-blown glass of all shapes and sizes. The craftsmanship that goes into creating each Handblown Chemex makes this line about 2.5x more expensive than the classic models.

Regardless, the unique design and craftsmanship of this series make each piece completely one of a kind, adding artistic value to your kitchen countertop. It really pays off when observed through eyes of admiration from friends who visit your home… trust me, I speak from experience. 

The Handblown Chemex series comes in the following sizes:

3-cup Handblown Chemex16 oz (473 ml)8 1/4″3″
5-cup Handblown Chemex25 oz (739 ml)8 1/2″4 5/8″
8-cup Handblown Chemex40 oz (1183 ml)9 5/8″6″
13-cup Handblown Chemex65 oz (1922 ml)11″5 3/4″

As you can see, there are 2 sizes that the Classic does not have, which might make them appealing to you if none of the original sizes work for you.

5 Cup size – 25 oz

The 5-cup size Chemex offers a great balance between the smaller 3 and 8 cup sizes, yet still gives you plenty of space to make your favorite brew. For those who find themselves in need of that extra bit of coffee while not wanting to take up too much room on their kitchen countertops or bar carts, this is definitely the way to go. 

13 Cup size – 65 oz

Ah, the big daddy of them all. This is for those who want to get “Go Large” on their coffee – or maybe just serve a crowd when it’s safe to do so again. After all, this Chemex can make up to almost 2 liters of delicious java in one go.

It will take some skill and patience to use this bad boy properly, but with a little practice, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of an epic cup o’ Joe in large batches.

Not gonna lie though – I’m still intimidated by this one! I’ve never seen it in real life, not sure if I will.

Which Chemex Size is Best for Whom?

At this point, it’s likely that you may be asking yourself “Which size Chemex should I buy?”

That really depends on your preferences and the type of coffee experience you’re looking to have.

For instance:

  • If you just need one cup of coffee at a time then the 3-cup Chemex would work well for you.
  • If you prefer smaller batches or want to make multiple mugs in quick succession, the 6-cup version should suffice.
  • The 8-cup model is probably the most popular because its capacity allows users to make an entire pot of coffee with it.
  • On the other hand, if you like larger batches of coffee and plan to entertain guests often, then the 10-cup Chemex might be your best bet.
  • Now as for the 13 cup, 65 oz size (almost 2 liters), I’m not sure who the target market is. That is a LOT of Chemex coffee at one time, I can only imagine busy cafés using it.

Take these into consideration, and you’ll find the right size for your needs.


Here are answers to typical questions about the sizes this pour over brewer.

Yes, you can make less coffee with a Chemex than its maximum capacity. Just mind the proper coffee-to-water ratio of 1:15, and you can make less coffee even with the larger models.

So, for example, if you want to make 3 cups with a 6 Cup Chemex, simply use half as much coffee and water.

The original Chemex is the 6-cup model, but the most popular sales-wise on Amazon is the 8-cup model in 2024.

If you put the recommended amount of coffee in each size, the brewing duration should be about the same. This is because the larger/smaller size is compensated for by the larger filter area.

No, the Chemex filter only comes in a single size. 

Any of the 3 cup Chemex models can be used as a single-serving coffee maker.

How Does A Chemex Coffee Maker Work?

Knowing how to choose the correct brew size for what you need is essential in getting the most out of your morning cup of Joe. So how does this magic happen? Well, let me explain… 

The way a Chemex makes pour over coffee is quite simple. 

  1. A filter is folded into a cone and sits atop the glass carafe, and you place ground coffee into the Chemex filter before pouring hot water over it.
  2. As the liquid passes through the grinds, it extracts flavor compounds from them while minimizing sediment and oils, resulting in an exceptionally clean cup of coffee.
How To Use Chemex Recipe

This process is more fiddly and takes longer than an automatic drip machine, but produces a far more aromatic and flavorful cup overall. The design of Chemex combines scientific precision and stylish aesthetics that make every cup beautiful — talk about winning all around!

Which size will you choose?

By understanding how the various styles of these iconic coffee makers work and what sizes are available, you can make an informed decision on which one is the best size for your needs.

Which one is right for you? Please let me know in the comments.

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  1. I’ve just read your article, and I’m inspired to try out a Chemex for my morning routine. I’m leaning towards the 3-cup since it’s usually just me sipping the coffee. Could anyone share how switching to a Chemex changed their coffee experience compared to a regular drip machine?

  2. I’m a bit confused about the “cups” measurement used for the Chemex sizes – are they basing it on a standard coffee cup volume? We all know that can vary quite a bit. Tom, or anyone who’s familiar, could you clarify?

    1. Yeah, cups are not a great description of volume. But I put a table of the exact volumetric measures for each chemex size, please have a look at that in the article.

  3. As someone who’s pretty deep into the coffee game, I really appreciated Tom’s detailed breakdown of the Chemex sizes. That original design’s nod to lab glassware speaks volumes about its focus on coffee purity. And while I do agree that the 6-cup is a classic, I’ve found the 10-cup to be a weekend brunch favorite when hosting friends. The key is to maintain a consistent grind and water temperature across batches.

  4. That’s an insightful article, Tom. If I may add to the conversation about sizes, the quality of the coffee and even the cup itself can affect the optimal Chemex size. I’ve been using the 8-cup Chemex for years since it allows me to dial in my preferred strength with a larger margin for error, which might be helpful for beginners to consider too.

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