The basic brewing parameters are all just basic chemistry. If we can master a few of those, then making coffee loses its reputation of being like rocket science and it just becomes making coffee. Coffee brewing is nothing more than the simple extraction of solutes (coffee solids) with a solvent (water) from a matrix (coffee grounds) to produce a solution (coffee beverage). Any parameter that influences the extraction is something we need to know about: energy (temperature), water quality, surface area, contact time, agitation, pressure, brew ratio, filter type, and container type.
By manipulating all of these parameters and balancing their effects relative to each other, we’re able to make an array of different coffee brewers, each producing a slightly different brew.
In the next nine sections, we will explore each of these parameters to understand the underlying chemistry and physics that explain how each parameter functions. We’ll also draw upon the scientific literature to find out how changing each parameter might change the taste of a cup of coffee. In the end, this knowledge won’t help us design the perfect coffee brewer. Rather, it will help us understand how brewing works, so that we can effectively brew yummy coffee with whatever tools we’re given.
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