Coffee has become one of the unofficial religions in the United States, where more than 80 percent of the adult population drinks the flavorful beverage. But as the drink grew in popularity, so did the quest for the perfect brew.
Among coffee connoisseurs, the grind is one of the key elements of the brewing process. According to new findings, there’s one simple secret to brewing a more flavorful cup: chill the coffee beans before grinding.
Christopher Hendon, a Ph.D. student at the University of Bath at the time of the study, co-authored a new study featured in the journal Nature. He and his colleagues analyzed the effects of grinding coffee beans at different temperatures, starting from room temperature to -196 degrees Celsius.
Results showed that chilling roasted coffee beans yields the best flavors because the grinding process results in smaller particles. In turn, smoother and more uniform particles from the grind translate into more flavor from the same amount of coffee during the brewing process.
In other words, the brewer can get a strong and flavorful cup of coffee with fewer grains and much faster. “If you have small grinds you can push flavour extraction upwards. We found that chilling the beans tightens up this process and can give higher extractions with less variance in the flavor,” Hendon said.
On one hand, the decreased particle size will speed up extraction due to the larger surface area, while on the other hand, the increased smoothness and uniformity minimizes the amount of wasted bean.
Achieving a consistent grind also has something to do with keeping the beans at a constant temperature. Cooler temperatures allow brewers to use more of the coffee by maximizing the beans’ surface area.
Hendon believes the findings could have an important effect in the coffee industry as people are constantly looking to produce better quality beverages.
“We anticipate these results will influence the production of coffee industrially, as well as contribute to how we store and use coffee daily,” the researchers noted in the study.
Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, co-owner of the coffee shop Colonna & Smalls, and a contestant in the World Barista Championships, said that the study will not only affect the coffee industry but also influence further research and development of new grinding technology.
Image Source: Brown’s Coffee