Home preparation is one of the amazing things about coffee. If you drink coffee at home, you’re probably doing at least a little work, like grinding beans or pouring hot water. And this sets it apart from things like specialty cacao, beer, and wine.
However, there’s a lot more science and technique involved in making coffee than you might expect. Many people struggle to brew good coffee at home.
So if you’re trying to create the same great coffee you drink in a café, I’m going to explain the basic concepts for you. You’ll learn the differences between immersion and infusion; what extraction, solubility, and TDS are; and why brew ratios and extraction percentages are helpful.
We’ll also look at simple ways to make your coffee taste better, like agitation/the coffee bloom and pulse pours.
Extraction & Solubility
Scientifically speaking, brewing coffee is the process of extracting the soluble material in roasted and ground coffee. As this coffee is brewed in hot water, hundreds of unique compounds are extracted from the ground beans – creating brewed coffee.
These compounds are what we’re speaking of when we talk about coffee’s solubility. Extracted coffee typically contains the following water-soluble compounds:
- Caffeine (bitter)
- Acids (sour and/or sweet flavors, like oranges, apples, or grapes)
- Lipids and fats (viscosity)
- Sugars (sweetness, viscosity)
- Carbohydrates (viscosity, bitterness)