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How coffee works

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 2:44 am
by fiend
I've been thinking for a while of creating a table with all the common coffee variables, and what changing them means. If I can get something that works, I'll use it as part of the marketing material for selling Aeropresses online in NZ. (Does that mean that I'm breaking the forums rules by posting it here :? ) But regardless of that, it would be useful to have a one-pager that laid it all out for the simple folk, so that we can spend less time repeating ourselves.

Let me know what you think. It is aimed at non-technical coffee people, avoiding some of the technical terms, and I will probably dumb it down some more. Are there things I've missed? (tamping is too espresso-specific) Am I incorrect in my generalisations?

Also, this is a draft, so I will be changing the layout to make better use of space once the copy is sorted.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 5:03 am
by zix
If you are going to dumb it down, do it carefully, because it is very good now. Possibly, all those flavour compounds and non-soluble compounds a.s.o. make it look a bit nerdy.
Maybe you could complete the "pressure" part with the different extraction methods and put them roughly where they belong on that scale. Perhaps people don't think of moka as being on the highish pressure side, as opposed to drip, for example.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 5:21 am
by dliefbroer
I'm not too sure about the extraction time scale. Short extractions are tasteless and long extractions extract undesirable compounds. I think it needs an optimal in the middle.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 7:12 am
by Olings
I agree with dliefbroer, and would add that reading the table like it looks now some people would probably read it as though press pot would be bitter with undesirable compounds as it is at the end of the extraction scale.

Most people wouldn't make that connection but as the table is meant for even the most non-technical out there, there are bound to be misunderstandings.

Apart from this I think it's really good indeed! Easily read and basic, but with enough information to make things a bit clearer for a lot of people.

Would a scale regarding coffee-freshness be too much info?


PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 8:18 am
by fiend
I was meaning to put freshness on, but forgot. That will be in draft 2.

I was also trying to make the variables method-independent, but your comments are making me think that I need to integrate them somehow. The problem is that most methods of brewing can take a bit of variability (eg. an overdosed coarse-ground espresso), and I want something that provides a general rule of thumb that is as method independent as possible.


PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 8:48 am
by dliefbroer
For every method there's an optimum range for all the aspects. You could put that in as a "disclaimer". Or make a short list for every method.

It's a great overview, but it's difficult to make a very general as well as useable for marketing purposes (sell an Aeropress). I think you should make this into some freely available information, with some cheatsheets. When they see what a nice guy you are for offering this information, they'll buy anything you throw at 'em :)

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:11 am
by BazBean
commenting on the simplicity I think the idea is fantastic. The major benefit IMHO is that it introduces the newbie to the issues of complexicity of making very good coffee and the variables you can control to produce it, rather then the usual conception of it being"ground up burnt dark stuff you slam hot water on" ..... I think as a one page addition to a Aeropress its a cracking idea especially as it will stimulate thought.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:12 am
by Bertie_Doe
fiend wrote
I'll use it as part of the marketing material for selling Aeropresses online in NZ.

The AP's are quite low priced and with shipping costs, you won't get rich selling selling em in NZ. However, it's a great chart and I agree, it's a good idea to add freshness in Draft 2.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:09 pm
by phil2spill
It's a great idea; haven't seen anything similar to that, other than perhaps Ken Davids' roast characteristics guide, which is only one aspect. Certainly would be useful for newcomers to the subject, rather than having to find everything out piecemeal, it gives an overview which is an ideal starting point.

A couple of minor comments: For the temperature scale, you could safely say low temp = sour ? Maybe give the optimal range in °C ? (Although maybe you're intentionally avoiding specifics.) Something that sounded slightly odd to me is where under the grind range where you refer to methods that 'act' slowly etc. Could you say methods that 'brew' slowly/quickly? I realise that's not strictly true for espresso but it's a bit more descriptive.

Anyway, if that was on your website, I guess it could become a resource that gets recognition and links from elsewhere, boosting your profile and google rank . . . at least until someone like 'Randy G' claims to have invented it ;) G'luck

(Is NZ in Europe?) :wink:

Thanks for the suggestions

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 10:27 am
by fiend
(Is NZ in Europe?)

No, but there are probably better reasons for including it than some other countries that have come up for consideration recently ;-)

The AP's are quite low priced and with shipping costs, you won't get rich selling selling em in NZ.

You are so right there. Actually it's part of a wider retail operation, so this isn't the only thing we sell. It's something I've had a small part in for quite a while, and now that I'm back in NZ I'm trying to introduce some coffee products.

We have a holiday weekend coming up, so it will be late next week before I have another draft. Thanks for all your suggestions.