Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Caffeine, How I Love Thee!

Caffeine, how I love thee! Let me count the ways!

Most of the flavor that you get from coffee comes from volatile oils that the beans contain. The problem with volatile oils is that they're volatile; in other words, they dissolve / evaporate / degrade when they come into contact with heat / air.

This, btw, is why coffee made in a percolator smells so good (all the volatile oils are evaporating into the ether) and tastes so flat ("all the oils go bye bye!")

Since Christmas, I've been making my coffee in a french press, a personal travel press from Starbucks. (Yes, a gift from my dear wife.) I'm using the same brand and grind of coffee that I always use.

But I've noticed a flavor in the press coffee that I don't find in drip coffee; apparently it's one of those volatile oils. Because of the differing amounts of heat and air involved, this particular oil evaporates in drip coffee but not in press coffee. (I've also found that particular taste in cold brewed coffee, such as coffee from a Toddy Coffee maker.)

The flavor in question is a very rich, molasses or liquorice-y taste; dark and subtle, not overpowering. It gives the coffee a complex kind of sweetness that drip coffee with sugar doesn't have. DARN good.

And unless you use a press or cold brew your coffee, you have no idea what I'm talking about.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Neyhart said...

I work at Starbucks. And I hate coffee. :)

11:33 PM  
Anonymous JR Horn said...

Yes French Press now wakens my day! I must say that I agree with you whole heartedly. I wish I knew of this wonderful contraption during college. After moving up north I was introduced to a new world of coffee. The french press! Now after countless trips to startbucks and another local coffee shop, drinking from the french press I know turn my nose up to Walmart and Gas Station coffee. Yes I believe that I have become a coffee snob! Starbucks just discontinued their "Casi Cealo" (not sure on the spelling) that was amazing! But my favorite coffee to french press from Starbucks is the Etheopia Sidamo. Better yet have the press and also eat a piece of their lemon cake and come back and tell me if you stood up and put your hand over your heart after having the two together.

JR

10:01 AM  

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