Tech UPTechnologyHow to make good coffee, according to science

How to make good coffee, according to science

Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world both for its flavor and for its ability to wake us up and keep us alert. But are we preparing it correctly? According to science, no. It turns out that we are not getting the most out of it that we could and we are also wasting a good amount of raw material in the preparation. So what should we do to have the perfect espresso?

The answer is to use less coffee beans and grind them more coarsely . So scientists say that you get a cheaper drink to prepare, which is more consistent from one drink to another and just as strong. It would, therefore, do things just the opposite of what we have been doing.

One of the rules for preparing a good cup of espresso has always been to grind a relatively large quantity of coffee beans (plus or minus 20 grams) as finely as possible. It makes sense since the finer the bean is ground, the more surface of the coffee will be exposed to the water, the higher the extraction yield, the greater the amount of ground coffee that dissolves in the liquid and, therefore, will end up in the final concoction.

However, the researchers found that the relationship between fine grinding the beans and making good coffee was not so clear. They realized that a very fine grinding, which is normal in the industry, clogged the coffee bed , where the water should flow, reducing the extraction performance, wasting raw material and causing its flavor to vary from one cup to another, as some grains are being used and others are not.

“Most people in the coffee industry are using fine grind settings and many coffee beans to get a mixture of bitterness and sour acidity that is unpredictable and irreproducible, ” says Christopher Hendon, a computational chemist at the University of Oregon. , co-author of the study recently published in the journal Matter in which a large group of researchers from the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and Switzerland participated. “One way to optimize extraction and achieve reproducibility is to grind coarser and use a little less water, while another is to simply reduce the coffee mass.” In this way all the espresso cups would have the same and delicious flavor.

It seems that all are advantages by using less coffee beans but more coarsely ground because, in addition to obtaining an intense coffee with identical flavor in each cup, we would be saving in raw material since the coarsest grind takes up more space than the fine one.

This saving in raw materials would revert to economic savings for the cafeterias. According to the study, reducing the amount of dry coffee from 20 to 15 grams per cup, taking into account the current price of roasted coffee beans, would save a small coffee shop a few thousand dollars a year and 1.1 billion dollars a year if it were extended to the entire coffee industry in the United States.

Reference: Michael I. Cameron, Dechen Morisco, Daniel Hofstetter, Erol Uman, Justin Wilkinson, Zachary C. Kennedy, Sean A. Fontenot, William T. Lee, Christopher H. Hendon, Jamie M. Foster. Systematically Improving Espresso: Insights from Mathematical Modeling and Experiment. Matter, 2020; DOI: 10.1016 / j.matt.2019.12.019

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