How science says to make better espresso

Study offers tips and tricks for a more consistent and affordable beer

New research challenges conventional wisdom that finely ground coffee beans are needed to brew strong espresso.

Well-ground beans are generally best for strong hits as smaller soils are easier to digest as water drains more slowly in these soils, allowing more time for the water to steep the coffee. .

When brewing and running computer simulations of the same process, the researchers found that better land use generally resulted in water uptake of a higher percentage of dried coffee – but only up to a certain point. point. When hot water was filtered through beans from the best setting on a standard machine, a lower percentage of coffee was obtained compared to water filtered through slightly heavier soil, the researchers reported online. January 22 in Matter.

Experiments and simulations have shown that, for the most part, very small particles appear in the spaces between other particles, says Jamie Foster, a mathematician at the University of Portsmouth in England. This means that the water drains unevenly through the ground, compressing some parts while others disappear, wasting coffee and creating an uneven taste.

Christopher Hendon, a chemist at the University of Oregon at Eugene, tasted both bitter notes of overexploited coffee and tangy notes of unripe soil after tasting the smooth espresso. “It was really a strange taste profile,” he says.

However, more serious causes eliminate the blockage problem and create a more consistent flavor. “They got better with [the coffee],” Foster explained. “You can afford to use less coffee.” The researchers partnered with a cafe in Eugene to test this technique. According to one-year sales data starting in September 2018, brewing an espresso with 15 grams of coarse earth instead of 20 grams of fine earth saved over $ 3,600.

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