Myths about coffee - part 1
Finally I publish an article with one of my favorite themes!
I am therefore happy to introduce you to the Myths about coffee that must be DISPLAYED!!
And I say obligatorily because that's enough now!
We have become experts in any food and drink, at home many of us cook delicious dishes of all kinds. We are able to select excellent raw materials, we pay attention to where to shop, we recognize hints and characteristics in wines and beer... but we still rely on grandma's words when it comes to coffee!
Over the years I have been asked many different questions and I am delighted, because it means that there is an interest in understanding more and there is an open mind!
At the same time they gave me the opportunity to collect the "beliefs" that have been handed down by grandparents, parents, friends or why not, unfortunately also by professionals in the sector ...
Now is the time to dispel them!
However, we assume that no one is wrong, you are simply not an expert in the sector, because you work in a different sector and therefore you do not know some aspects.
For me it was the same! I didn't know coffee at all, yet I was a barista. But at a certain point I was tired of not understanding the "why" of things and so I started studying and participating in courses, comparing myself with those who know more than me and doing lots of tests with many different professionals in the supply chain.
1. The mound in the moka pot
This is one of my favorites, also because when you touch the mocha, Italians all feel offended ... but there is no need! Just keep an open mind and try to understand the why of what I am about to explain.
Water, in any situation or environmental condition, always passes where it finds less resistance. Remember this well!
When we make the mound by definition, being a "mountain" in fact, there will be more ground coffee in the center of the filter and less along the circumference. Here we can already guess the first problem.
Furthermore, when the moka is closed, the ground coffee will not spread evenly throughout the filter holder as if by magic, on the contrary we will have more coffee and also much more pressed in the center, and less coffee and therefore less pressed on the edges.
Where do you think water will prefer to go?
Along the edges! So the extraction will not be uniform.
Another problem: since the coffee is so heavily pressed, especially in the center, the little water that tries to pass in that area will find great hydraulic resistance, slowing down the extraction. And many here will think it's good… actually not.
It is true that the water must stay in contact with the ground coffee for a certain amount of time, if everything ends in 3 seconds we will only get dirty water, but it shouldn't linger too long either. If the extraction is too slow, the water, at very high temperatures, would burn all the ground, bringing excessive bitterness and unpleasant scents to the cup.
So you don't have to press the coffee into the filter, but simply level it!
2. Coffee is bitter
Nothing more wrong! I upset you right?
But be careful not to get me wrong.
Yes, coffee is naturally bitter, because it contains caffeine, which if drunk alone is a bitter substance.
What I wanted to make you understand in a somewhat provocative way is that coffee is not ONLY bitter and in any case it must never be too bitter!
In fact, the drink can have sweetness and acidity, as well as a series of aromatic scents ranging from citrus to flowers, from fruit to chocolate, from spices to nuts and a thousand others!
If your coffee is simply bitter and especially if it is so annoying that you have to put a sachet of sugar or milk in it or drink a glass of water immediately afterwards, it is a symptom of bad coffee!
I try to explain why as briefly as possible, but if you want to learn more,
In Italy, espresso coffee at the bar costs around € 1, even if we have recently seen many increases due to the soaring increase in raw materials. A roaster who wants to earn as much as possible must therefore save on raw material, buying one at low cost, therefore not of quality.
Absence of quality in the coffee sector means defects, which can be mold, rotten beans, with unpleasant scents such as rubber, yuta, ash, tar, or unripe, broken beans and so on.
Fortunately for you and unfortunately for the customer, there is a solution to this: very dark roasting. By roasting the beans a lot (some are actually burned) the coffee takes on that bitter taste that we all know. It is so bitter that it also hides all the other flaws. After all, the customer puts the sugar in the bar and the problem is solved!
This strategy has been used in such a massive way, especially by large producers, who have even been able to convince us that coffee must be so bitter, passing off this negative characteristic as "intensity", giving it a new positive connotation. But it isn't!
You can easily check the degree of roasting too, without the need for any tools! Look at the color of the ground or beans you buy: they should never be dark brown, almost black.
Always prefer a medium toast or even a light one if you use filter extraction methods.
And now we come to today's latest myth, but don't worry there will be many other articles on the subject!
3. There is more caffeine in short coffee than in long coffee
When I was working behind the bar counter, I very often heard this request from customers: “today I just can't wake up, can you make me a nice short coffee, so you give me a shot of caffeine?”.
Or even on the contrary: "make it long today, I've already drunk too many and I don't sleep tonight ...".
It is believed that the more intense, narrow, creamy, black and strong a coffee is, the more caffeine it has. But that's not the case, it's just the opposite!
This is because caffeine is a molecule that dissolves with the passage of water. Consequently: the more water passes and the more caffeine will be brought into the cup, the less water passes through the ground coffee and the less the drink will be caffeinated.
On the same wave we also remember that if you add milk to an espresso, the amount of caffeine does not change. If you take a normal coffee, a cappuccino or a latte macchiato, you will undoubtedly feel a less intense coffee, the amount of caffeine remains the same!
However, the concentration may vary depending on the species chosen: Robusta contains about double the caffeine compared to Arabica.
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