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The Art of Extraction — Coffee

Do you ever wonder why coffee tastes so good? More importantly, do you ever wonder how? It’s a simple but puzzling question. Superficially coffee grounds kind of resemble dirt—I mean it contains the word “GROUND”. So how does such a mundane looking thing produce such delicious liquid? The answers to these questions all lie within the extraction process.

As Merriam Webster prefers to put it—extraction is “the act or process of getting something out”. In terms of coffee this process means pulling out the delicious flavor, aroma and overall yumminess of coffee. When hot water drips through coffee grounds, the coffees soluble material dissolves and the resulting liquid contains the flavors of the coffee. The intensity of these things depends on several things—ratio of water to coffee, the rate in which the water filters through the coffee, the size of the coffee grounds and the temperature of the water. 

Have you ever taken a sip of that ultra-bitter, random gas station coffee from the middle of Nowheresville? Yeah…that places ratio was off. In brewing the perfect cup of coffee it is the ultimate goal that the rate of extraction lines up with the solubility rate to dissolve at least 18% of the coffee. Too slow and your coffee is sour, too fast and you’ll cringe at its bitterness. In brewing your own coffee be aware of the coarseness of your grounds and the method of extraction both will be detrimental to your overall flavor.

If you haven’t learned by now, brewing coffee is a refined science. To do it well is to contribute a specific amount of effort in the hopes of creating an intentionally delicious cup of coffee. Knowing your coffee is to know your flavor!