“To Extract” means “remove or take out, especially by effort or force.
The extraction of the coffee is at the core of any brewing or coffee-making process. When water passes through the coffee, it extracts some of the compounds and flavours and leaves some behind. It is the surprising complexity of this process that gives us so much of an intrigue as well as frustration when making coffee.
Sharper, acidic, fruity flavours tend to come out first, followed by the deep, heavier ones, and lastly, the woody, bitter notes. A well-extracted cup of coffee has a balance of these. This extraction depends on several factors including water flow rate, water pressure, temperature, coffee grain size and distribution, water quality, and uniformity of extraction, amongst others.
The optimal extraction that often gets cited is 20%, meaning that 20% of the coffee is taken by the water and the rest is chucked into the compost heap. The extraction levels of instant coffee is around 60%, making the instant coffee process the most efficient preparation method, just not necessarily the most desirable one.
Nothing can beat a delicious Moving Beans espresso morning coffee :).
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Water 💧 is the quiet and elusive partner of coffee. You need it to make coffee and it can change the flavour of it depending on the subtle differences in water composition. Recently, there has been a resurrection of research around the water composition and the quality of coffee. 👩🏽🔬 A key notion to take on board is that good tasting water does not necessarily mean good tasting coffee. For example, the bicarbonate content that makes a branded bottled water very smooth water to drink is basically responsible for removing acidity and sweetness in coffee.
There are endless flavour notes to coffee. You can practice observing these through a coffee tasting technique called coffee cupping. In order to achieve the most consistent results, the “cupper” (which could be you) needs to follow very specific but simple procedures:
After picking the ripe coffee cherries collected from the Coffea plant, the coffee beans are extracted by using a specific processing method. As already said in our last blog, there are 3 main processing methods: washed (or wet) process; dry (or natural) process and honey (or semi-dry) process.