Life with Coffee – Part 2
Whole beans vs Ground Coffee – Part 2.
Imagine that every morning you can have the best cup of coffee ever consumed, every morning. These days artisan roasters are spending more and more time perfectly roasting the best selection of beans possible to allow us to have the best coffee possible. What a great start to a day: a perfectly brewed cup of Slow Coffee.
So how do you go about this? The first rule of Slow Coffee is Whole Beans. The second rule of Slow Coffee is Whole Beans. The third rule of Slow Coffee is that if you don’t know what Fight Club is, you are probably not old enough to drink coffee. Jokes aside, in our previous mail we went all zen on why you should grind at home. In this mail, we visit the science labs.
``We are often asked whether buying beans or ground coffee, is best``
For those that don’t know – and there are some out there – ‘green’ coffee has to be roasted before it can be brewed.
The roasting process, in a nutshell, means exposing the green beans to a high heat for a set amount of time, without burning them, yet roasting them evenly.
During roasting, a process called the Maillard Reaction takes place. During this process (simplified), amino acids and sugars combine and begin a profusion of reactions that ultimately create the smell, taste and colour of coffee. The Maillard Reaction is found in almost all forms of cooking.
First Crack and Second Crack
Two distinct processes during roasting is the ‘first crack’ and the ‘second crack’. The first crack comes about because of a build-up of steam. The green bean has moisture levels of around 10-12%.
When roasting, the heat turns the moisture into (expanding) steam, leading to cells rupturing, which in turn leads to the ‘crack’: an audible popping sound. The ‘second crack’ comes about later, and unlike in the first phase, the build-up that causes the second crack is caused by the formation of gasses including Carbon Dioxide.
Regardless of when after ‘first crack’ the beans are removed from roasting, the beans will still ‘leak’, amongst other gasses, Carbon Dioxide. This leaking slows the process of oxidization, and is critical in keeping your beans fresh for longer.
Oxidation is the process of oxygen pulling away electrons from other molecules.
These molecules then become unstable and start reacting with other molecules around them. These volatile molecules, known as free radicals, are the main cause of fruit browning, your vehicle rusting, and, in the coffee world… your coffee becoming stale. (Yes, these are the same free radicals that, when on the loose in your body, causes health havoc.)
So… roasting is the (good) process that creates the wonderful aromas and flavours within the coffee bean, and oxidation is the process that leads to a loss of aromas and flavours. The process to Slow Coffee starts even earlier than the roasting; at the farm when the planting of the trees is conceptualized. At www.crazygoatcoffee.co.za we believe attaining anything worthwhile in life is a bit like that, too.
We create a vision, and then we have to develop and nurse it over time, carefully, before we achieve our goals. Along the way, we have to protect it from going off course, too… More on coffee, and life, next time.
Feel free to share this mail with anyone that you know loves coffee. In fact, we insist that you do!