What happens when coffee is brewed
What Happens When You Brew Coffee
In making coffee, your aim is to extract flavorful solids (including coffee oils and sucrose and other sugars) from the ground beans without pulling bitter, astringent tannins along with them. How long you brew the coffee determines how much solid material you extract and how the coffee tastes. The longer the brewing time, the greater the amount of solids extracted. If you brew the coffee long enough to extract more than 30 percent of its solids, you will get bitter compounds along with the flavorful ones. (These will also develop by letting coffee sit for a long time after brewing it.)
Ordinarily, drip coffee tastes less bitter than percolator coffee because the water in a drip coffeemaker goes through the coffee only once, while the water in the percolator pot is circulated through the coffee several times. To make strong but not bitter coffee, increase the amount of coffee-not the brewing time.
How Other Kinds of Processing Affect Coffee
Drying. Soluble coffees (freeze-dried, instant) are made by dehydrating concentrated brewed coffee. These coffees are often lower in caffeine than regular ground coffees because caffeine, which dissolves in water, is lost when the coffee is dehydrated.
Decaffeinating. Decaffeinated coffee is made with beans from which the caffeine has been extracted, either with an organic solvent (methylene chloride) or with water. How the coffee is decaffeinated has no effect on its taste, but many people prefer water-processed decaffeinated coffee because it is not a chemically treated food. (Methylene chloride is an animal carcinogen, but the amounts that remain in coffees decaffeinated with methylene chloride are so small that the FDA does not consider them hazardous. The carcinogenic organic solvent trichloroethylene [TCE], a chemical that causes liver cancer in laboratory animals, is no longer used to decaffeinate coffee.)
Making a perfect espresso:
Making a perfect cup of espresso is truly an art. The Italians refer to the technique as the "Four M's"; La Machina (the Machine), La Miscella (the coffee), Il Macinadosatore (the grinder-doser) and La Mano (the Hand). Don't expect perfection on your first try. With patience, you will succeed! Here is what to look for:
- The water. Use clean fresh cold water with minimal mineral content, otherwise known as soft water. If you know that the water in your area is hard, use a water filtration system.
- The coffee. Well, we are partial to our own espresso. It is a blend of over eight origins, done in the medium roasted Northern Italian style.
- The grind. This will take some trial and error. You want a find grind that will adhere to your skin if you touch it. However, if the grind is too fine, you will over extract the coffee. This causes a bitter espresso with no crema.
- What is the crema? The crema is the foamy head of the espresso, typically one third to one half of an inch thick.
- The espresso machine. Be sure that your espresso machine is clean. A dirty espresso machine can ruin the cup. It should also be warm. Often the second shot will be superior to the first one that you pull.
- How much coffee to use. Use 7 grams of coffee for each shot of espresso.
Believe it or not, a lot can go wrong in brewing your cup of coffee. Here are some steps to consider:
- The water. Use clean fresh cold water with minimal mineral content. If you know that the water in your area has mineral problems, use a filtration system.
- The grind. The grind should be fine, but not powdery. It should feel sandy to the touch.
- The coffee maker. Be sure that your coffee maker is clean. A dirty coffee maker can ruin the cup.
- How much coffee to use. While this is an individual choice, use one heaping tablespoon for each cup of coffee.
- What kind of coffee maker? We suggest the French-press method because it brings out the character of the coffee and provides the best extrication. When using a French press, keep the grind coarse.
- How long can you keep hot coffee before drinking it? Generally speaking, coffee looses its character after half an hour. It should be thrown out after an hour unless you store it in a thermos. Never re-heat or boil your coffee, this makes it bitter.