The Wonderful World of Weird Coffee Science


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The Hard Bloom

In this episode of “Weird Coffee Science”, we dive into the fascinating world of coffee brewing, specifically focusing on how the temperature of coffee beans impacts the brewing process and the final taste of espresso. The video presents a series of intriguing experiments that explore the relationship between brew temperature, flow rate, and grind profile. From heating beans to 60 degrees Celsius to chilling them in the freezer, the experiments reveal surprising insights into how temperature affects extraction and taste. The video also references the 2015 World Barista Championships and offers a practical experiment for viewers to try at home. However, it concludes with a question about the commercial viability of these findings, inviting viewers to share their thoughts and feedback.

Key learning points from the James Hoffman: The Hard Bloom

  • Coffee Brew Temperature and Flow Rate: Cooler brews flow slower. This observation led to an exploration of how ground coffee temperature might affect espresso flow rate.
  • Experiment with Hot Beans: Coffee beans heated to about 60 degrees Celsius resulted in espresso shots running significantly faster than with beans at room temperature. This suggests that hotter beans grind differently.
  • Experiment with Hot Grounds: When just the grounds (not the beans) were heated to the same temperature, the shot brewed at a normal speed.
  • Experiment with Cold Beans: Shots pulled slower with cold beans. When beans were ground at room temperature and then chilled, the shot also ran slower, but not as much. This suggests that a very cold puck does influence brew temperature, but very cold beans influence the grind profile even more.
  • World Barista Championships 2015: A finalist heated his beans before grinding and claimed to get an extra percentage point of extraction.
  • Experiment with Hotter Coffee Beans: Using hotter coffee beans to grind finer resulted in shots that were more extracted and had a noticeably different texture – richer, softer, and rounder.
  • Home Experiment: Try this at home with a microwave and a grinder that can grind through a single dose. However, don’t brew straight away – the ground coffee needs to cool down to 30-35 degrees Celsius for it to taste good.
  • Commercialization: Uncertainty exists around how this could be commercialized due to the cooling phase required. Feedback and thoughts on this topic are welcomed.
Weird Coffee Science: The Hard Bloom

Scientific Wonders in Your Coffee Cup

The world has witnessed some extraordinary coffee-centric experiments, like the analysis of coffee stain patterns and the invention of batteries fueled by coffee. While these may not directly influence the flavor of coffee or health perks of your cup of joe, they certainly underscore the remarkable breadth of scientific innovation and curiosity sparked by coffee.

Have you ever marveled at the beauty of a coffee stain on your tablecloth and wondered if there’s more to it than meets the eye? Well, some scientists did too, and their curiosity led to some mind-boggling discoveries. Coffee science, my friends, is a weird and wonderful world that stretches far beyond the taste in your cup. 

One of the most intriguing experiments involved exploring the intricate patterns of coffee stains. It turns out, coffee rings aren’t random at all; they follow a specific pattern called ‘the coffee ring effect.’ Yes, there’s even a name for it! 

The phenomenon occurs when a liquid evaporates, and the particles are deposited in a distinct ring pattern. This knowledge is now used in industries ranging from printing to pharmaceuticals. Who knew coffee stains could be so enlightening? 

Then there’s the invention of coffee-powered batteries. Yes, you heard that right! Scientists have managed to harness the energy contained in coffee waste to make sustainable batteries. Coffee, it appears, not only energizes people, but potentially our devices too. 

While these scientific leaps may not change the way your morning brew tastes, they certainly add an extra layer of wonder to each sip. They underscore the immense potential of coffee, not just as a beloved beverage, but as a catalyst for scientific curiosity and innovation. 

So next time you gaze into your coffee cup, remember, there’s a whole universe of weird and wonderful coffee science out there! And who knows, your next sip could spark the next big idea in this ever-evolving field.

Imagine sipping your morning brew, its familiar aroma wafting around you, the taste comforting yet stimulating. But what if I told you there’s a whole lot more to that cup of joe than meets the eye? Coffee, that humble bean, is a treasure trove of intriguing science and odd facts. 

From beans that have journeyed through the digestive system of a cat-like creature, to the complex chemistry that goes into every cup, the science of coffee is as deliciously rich and diverse as the beverage itself. 

“The powers of a man’s mind are directly proportioned to the quantity of coffee he drinks.” – Sir James Mackintosh

Coffee can improve cognitive function and physical performance.

Coffee can reduce the risk of liver cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

Coffee contains over 1,000 aroma compounds.