How You Can Make Great Espresso
How You Can Make Great EspressoAs a young student of the cookery arts, there were a handful of commandments-central tenets of proper cooking-that each of my mentors persistently reinforced (read: screamed).One such precept, which has been indelibly seared into my cortex, is that temperature equals flavor.Heat browns meat, caramelizes sugar, and extracts body-providing gelatin from bones. Heat alsocreates aroma, concentrates flavor compounds, and melts unctuous fats. If warmth is so great(which it can be), why on Earth am I promoting the practice of combining ground coffee with room-temperature water and letting it infuse slowly for hours? The perfect solution lies in the fact thatheat is indiscriminate.Its true that caffeine brewed at 210 qualifications will contain more smell compounds,dissolved solids, and flavor than coffee made at 72 degrees. But this is one case exactly where moreisnt necessarily far better. Along with the good stuff, heat also extracts the majority ofbitterness and astringency found in hot-brewed coffee. Exposed to far less heat, cold-brew issignificantly less acerbic than its sweltering sibling. Significantly less bitterness means that thesubtler flavors found in coffee beans are more perceptible. For me, very good cold-brew amountshints of dark chocolates, caramel, ripe black fruits, and vanilla with a pleasant viscosity, mild acidity,and pitch perfect bitterness. If my description sounds florid to you, its probably since youdidnt have cold-brew this morning. In all honesty, it is lush, nuanced, and unbelievablysmooth.Still, cold-brew does have its pundits (myself at one time included). Naysayers complain that cold-brew lacks the body and complexity of flavor of a heat-extracted brew. Through the years Ivetried to extract more complexity and richness from cool-brew coffee, in the hope of achieving thebest of equally worlds. Ive tried several out-there tactics including an initial hot water bloom(theres that heat again); pressurized brewing in a cream whipping canister; near-continuousagitation; and 5-day-extended extractions in the fridge. But none of these techniques improved mycup of cold-brew. What they performed was turn a simple, gratifying process into a chore.Right after reconciling my love of chilly-brew with several years of heat-focused culinaryindoctrination I am now willing to pass along my own commandments on how to make good cold-brew coffee. I assurance not to yell.Here is a tip, be sure you always use filtered water. It can change the taste of the coffee and willgive you a under perfect cup of gourmet coffee.I grind my beans fine. That is a mistake, although most frosty-brew recipes call for medium-coarse orcoarse ground beans. The factors with the biggest impact on coffee extraction are watertemperature, grind size, extraction time, and finally, agitation-in that order. Since I use room-temperature water I can mark temperature off the list of variables and grind size gets mostimportant. Finer particles will release more flavor compounds than larger ones.I combine room-temp water (usually filtered, as my tap water doesnt style great) and freshlyfloor coffee in a large French press. The press makes its a snap to separate the concentratefrom the grinds after brewing.After about 10 minutes, a solid raft of coffee grinds will kind on the surface. I find it important to stirthis raft into the water to maximize contact with the floor coffee.After the initial blend to combine the ingredients, this is the only other time I mix during brewing.Frustration is last on the list of variables affecting extraction, as I discussed earlier. I find it anuisance to stir a batch of cold-brew many times over the course of a day; the good news is Idont have to.Next, I cover the French press with plastic wrap and allow it sit at room temperature for 24 hours(give or consider an hour in either direction). Ive done room-temperature brews as short as12 hours and as long as 72 hours. 20 or so-four hours is consistently the sweet spot.