the science of extraction

We often wonder why the coffee that we make dosent taste like the coffee we drink at our favorite specialty coffee shop, well the answer is in the variables that we have to consider. It is not enough just to have a excellent French press, the best V60 (hario) model or the last Aeropress that is on the market, we have to take many other things into account when we do our coffee, here is a small summary for thing we have to consider for making great coffee.

The first thing that we need are the tools with which we are going to work, whether it is a French press, hario, Aeropress or siphon, we need the respective filters, coffee, perfect milling, water, time and temperature.

The most important thing to begin is to understand the association of the over and under extraction of coffee with the contact area of water and time. But the first question we have to ask is, which are the diferents between over and under extraction of coffee?

Well let’s start with explaining what we are seeking, and this is to extract the soluble yield of the coffee to give the indicated taste to our drink. When we talk about under extract coffee we are talking that the contact of water with the coffee is not long enough and this result in a weak, simple and bodyless coffee and when we talk about over extraction is the opposite, the contact of the coffee and the water is higher and the coffee flows remain strong, bitter and astringent. What we realy want to achieve is a good balance and to archive this balance we need to consider: time grinding, contact area and water.

Time: the longer the coffee is in contact with the water, the more soluble yields are extracted and depending on this contact time different soluble acids are extracted: salt, sugar, acid, grease, phenol etc. Each of these dissolve depending on the contact area with the water (of course depending on the coffee) we could say that the first thing we draw are fruity and aromatic flavors, the next would caramel and chocolat taste and finally the woody flavors or tabacco, what we really nead is a balance between all these flavors.

To control the time we have to know that or milling is suitable for the type of preparation we are going to use, for exemple a finer grinding need less extraction time and thicker grinding needs longer. Grinding does not change what we extract, the time is the one wich is changing or extraction. If you want more extraction you need a finer grind an more time and if you want less extraction you need a thicker grind and less time.

Also the water we use is important, we must take into account that 98% of what we get from a cup of coffee is water and as we all know the water contains various mineras, some are sweet some are savory. Also the water in all parts of the world is different, as simple as the water move in a another ground it dissolves and incorporat other minerals and is therefore different. So we can use the same coffee, the same time and all the same, but just a different tipe of water changes the flavor of our coffee.

And last but not least is the temperature we should use. Proper temperature varies between 92 and 94 degrees C, this is not law since the height of the city in which we live can change the boiling point this depends on the atmospheric pressure.

Given all these variables, there are no excuses for not being able to prepare a good coffee. There is no better feeling than to make some one smile because you serve him a good coffee.

Enjoy !!! 🙂

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