This is how food scientists make a perfect cup of coffee


MDrinking a perfect cup of coffee is easy enough if you know what you are doing. The taste and mouthfeel of each cup is affected by the beans, the roast and even the water quality. And if anyone knows what they’re doing, it’s a food scientist. “There’s definitely a rabbit hole of coffee science to explore,” says food researcher and chef Makenzie Bryson Jackson, MS.

According to Jackson and Kaleena Teoh, co-founders of Coffee Project NY, an award-winning coffee brand, roastery and gym, there are a handful of simple tips that allow you to make barista-level coffee in your own comfort. kitchen. Here’s what to expect the next time you brew a pot.

How to make a perfect cup of coffee at home

1. Choose the right beans

If you do not choose high quality beans, your coffee will not taste good. It’s that simple. “Bean selection is the most important part of a good cup of coffee. Hands down,” Jackson says. And there are two main types you should know: “There is Robusta, which has low acidity and high bitterness, and Arabica beans, which are less bitter and often more flavorful,” she says. “It’s also important to know how old the beans are, where they were grown, and how they were handled and stored.”

To find the best quality beans, Teoh recommends shopping from local roasteries that roast fresh weekly but do not use them just yet. “Let the coffee rest for three to five days after roasting before consuming them,” she says. “During the rest period, your coffee will release carbon dioxide, and brewing after degassing will ensure better extraction.”

2. Consider the roast

The roast also plays a big role in how your coffee ends up tasting. “The frying process starts one of the most magical reactions in food science: Maillard browning,” Jackson says. “This reaction brings out the delicious caramelized complex coffee flavor and aroma, but too much browning will definitely increase the bitterness.”

When you choose a roast, you will see that there is a range from light to dark. The key to this is knowing your preference. “Do you like a lighter toast that highlights the floral, fruity, more delicate notes in the coffee or a darker toast that highlights the chocolate, nutty, sometimes smoky notes in the coffee?” says Teoh. “Or maybe you prefer a medium fried that maintains the balance between floral-like fruit and chocolate-like caramel notes.”

According to Jackson, the lighter the coffee, the more fruity and more sour it will be. And when you choose a darker frying, the beans are more bitter – but the flavors are more complex. “A medium roast is a great place to start with a good balance and a bittersweet finish, but it’s good to try a variety of roasts to find what your unique palate likes best,” she says.

3. Reconsider your storage

Where and how you store your coffee beans can make or break how it is going to taste once you have brewed it. “Your coffee needs to be stored in an airtight container with no light exposure,” Jackson says. And the reason behind it? Both can make your prayers go bad … very quickly. And no one wants to start their morning with an old cup of coffee. Try this airtight container from Airscape ($ 31).

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4. Paint your beans correctly

When grinding your own coffee beans, Jackson says to make sure the paint is uniform. “A burr grinder is typically best for this,” she says. “The blade grinders do not break up the beans evenly, so you will want small particles the size of dust and larger bean pieces.”

In addition to the grinding size being uniform, the size must also be just right, not too fine or not too coarse. “When it is ground too finely, we will tend to extract the coffee too much and get a bitter aftertaste,” says Teoh. “If it is too coarse, we will tend to under-extract the coffee and end up with a cup of too high acidity. A good grinding size for drip coffee is between table salt and sea salt.”

Also, make sure that you do not grind your beans too long before brewing. “This will change the taste of your coffee as you have exposed more surface area of ​​the bean to oxygen,” Jackson says.

5. Check your water quality

While Jackson says water quality is lower on the list of priorities when making a cup of coffee, it’s still something you need to consider if you want to take your brew to the next level. “There are researchers who have researched this – rightly. I could be a nerd out here,” Jackson says. “The hardness of your water will affect the taste of the coffee; a harder water has more minerals, which can increase the bitter perception of the coffee. I use distilled water when brewing coffee.”

6. Decide on a water condition

It is also important to determine your ideal water condition, which depends on how strong you like your coffee. “If you prefer a stronger coffee, go with a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:15,” says Teoh about the ideal coffee-to-water ratio in ounces. “If you prefer a less intense cup, go with a ratio of 1:18 or 1:19.”

7. Pay attention to the water temperature

When brewing, you do not want your water to be too hot or too cold. “If the water is above 205°F, your coffee will tend to over-extract and be bitter and hard. If it’s below 195°“F, it’s going to make it harder to extract, which leaves you with sour flat coffee,” Jackson says. “This is not a hard and fast rule, but general guidelines.”

That is, a water temperature of 200°F is the sweet spot, Teoh adds. If you do not have a thermometer to check the exact temperature as long as the water is boiled, she says you should be good to go.

8. Choose your brewing method

There are many different coffee brewing methods available, such as the French press, which “save time and give you a heavier body cup of coffee,” says Teoh. There is also the drip pour method. “It highlights the acid in the coffee and gives you a cleaner cup. It is easy to use, but requires a little more skill. ” And there’s the more detailed espresso brewing method “which involves pressure pushing water through the compact coffee puck, resulting in a small but intense cup of flavor.”

According to Teoh, there is no best brewing method. It comes down to personal preferences. “I would suggest that you think about your lifestyle: When do you drink coffee? How much time do you have to make coffee? What do you enjoy drinking? ” says Teoh. “There are manual and automatic brewers on the market that can meet your needs for different price ranges.” Choose a brewer that is compatible with your lifestyle.

9. Pay attention to the brewing time

Brewing time, ie how long it takes for the coffee to complete the brewing, is another thing to keep in mind. Teoh says that each unit and brewing method has a suggested brewing time and advises that the brewing time be kept within the recommended range by adjusting the paint size.

Another pro tip: When brewing the perfect cup of coffee, Teoh says you need to make sure the coffee grounds are evenly wet and that the liquid draws down at a slow and constant pace.

10. Customize the recipe to your liking

Your version of the perfect cup of coffee may differ from someone else’s, so you do not know the best recipe for you until you actually taste it, says Teoh. Her advice: Make one brew at a time and taste it. If this is not quite right, adjust the recipe and brew another cup and repeat until you have the perfect cup. Each time you do, Teoh recommends that you change only one factor at a time so that you know exactly what contributed to the change in taste and can replicate it again later. With these tips, you may never order coffee anywhere else again

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