Brew Method Tasting

My sister-in-law (and San Antonio’s “Social Llama”) Kelly came over today with a bag of coffee from Mildfire Coffee Roasters here in San Antonio. This is an Indian coffee, sun-dried then exposed to Monsoon moisture.


There’s something magical about opening a fresh bag of coffee:

coffee beans

She had offered to bring some to me in exchange for a brew method tasting, using three different brew methods:

  1. Chemex
  2. French Press
  3. Keurig (custom refillable pod)

I was happy to oblige! I got some things together and we started brewing.

lab setup

Some notes on brew methods:


The Chemex is my typical go to brew method when I want to make coffee “the right way”. We ground it on a medium setting. I do own a Keurig but it’s for morning coffee when I just need caffeine and I’m trying to get out the door for work. This coffee put through the Chemex can only be described as “clean”. The coffee sits in the water just long enough for good extraction then drains to the bottom. No muss no fuss.

French Press

The French Press brew method lets the coffee sit in the water for a longer period before the coffee is pushed to the bottom. You get more extraction and more flavor out of the same coffee. We poured the coffee into a pitcher for serving so it wouldn’t sit in the grounds and get over-extracted. We ground the coffee for a French Press, very coarse. This method was definitely the best. Kelly described it as more “muddy” than the Chemex. You could see the oils stayed around in the coffee, making it more cloudy and giving it a richer color.

Keurig Pod

What can I say? We put coffee in a pod, and let the Keurig put water through it. The coffee came out super weak, almost like iced tea. The Keurig just pushes the water through the grounds too quickly, leaving no tie for extraction. I used a medium grind here again, which may have been part of the problem. I might go more fine next time on the grind, but I worry the water won’t go through it and I’ll have a mess on my hands. The short version: Just Say No. However, every experiment needs a control group! :-)

You can see the color differences between the methods here. From left to right: Keurig, Press, Chemex:

color difference

As for the coffee itself, it was a bit earthy and chocolatey, with a bit of a peppery aftertaste. It dried my mouth out a bit, but it was delicous! I recommend picking it up if you’re in San Antonio, but do yourself a favor and use a French Press.