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Why Science Says Freshly Roasted Coffee Tastes Better

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Why Science Says Freshly Roasted Coffee Tastes Better

Everybody knows things are better fresh.  But why is coffee fresh off the roast any better than coffee that’s been sitting on the shelf for a few months at the gourmet grocery?  Why is it all that important to look at the “Roast Date” on bags of coffee you buy at retail stores?  What––scientifically––does “freshness” even mean in the coffee context? To answer these questions, we need to dive deep into the chemistry of what happens to coffee beans as a result of roasting them at high temperatures.  As soon as you scorch raw coffee beans into the delicious brown...

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The Magic of Latte Art

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The Magic of Latte Art

It's espresso with a big dose of style.  But what’s the point of latte art?  Is it just for aesthetics, or is there something deeper that it adds to the third-wave specialty coffee experience? Fine-tuning milk and coffee to form art on top of espresso really only emerged in the United States during the mid-1980s.  Latte art is the result of a barista pouring steamed milk from a pitcher into a shot of espresso, and creating intricate ribbon patterns in the foam atop lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and other drinks.  But, the words “latte” and “art” are both a bit deceptive.  The...

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Basic Coffee Roasting Mechanics for the Average Joe

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Basic Coffee Roasting Mechanics for the Average Joe

Before coffee ever reaches your cup, its essence is locked away from the world - captive in a “green” coffee bean. The roasting process develops the bean’s flavors and coaxes a coffee to perfection, at temperatures of anywhere from 300 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. As the carbohydrates in the raw beans break down, hundreds of aromatic chemical compounds develop and the flavor profile of the coffee begins to emerge. Acids are broken down, adding texture and flavor to the cup. Fragrant oils and fats bloom to the bean’s surface, escaping through the bean’s weakened cell walls. Coffee is often roasted...

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