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I am an absolutely qualified authority on matters of coffee because I am Italian and, specifically, from Naples.
Many things go into the "perfect cup of coffee", so to say.
Here, we say it must have the three "C": Cumm Cazz Coce (=Jesus this is hot).
So, that's the very first thing: if it doesn't burn your lips, you're doing it wrong.
After that, coffee quality is obviously essential, and here come the first pitfalls: normally, you will go for industrial coffee because it's cheaper, but some of us DO buy custom coffee, meaning bags of coffee that cost A LOT more but also have completely different organoleptic properties. These bags are only sold by specialised dealers.
Because of the difficulty of packaging them properly (these are not industries...), however, it is uncommon to see someone being shipped them from outside where he/she lives.
It does happen if you find a good one, but they're rare.
Surprisingly, water is important in more ways than one: water's molecular composition is important, but so is the temperature at which it boils (I don't have to remind you that different altitudes have different boiling points, right?) because if it's too low the coffee is ruined and if it's too high you end up having it rise too early.
Another really important factor is what brewer you use: normally, you would use what we call a "Moka", but some of us do use the ancient neapolitan brewer (which is far more difficult to handle, but the results can taste markedly different).
So - a subjective subject has an objective standard. I've heard the same sheit about who makes the best Pizza.
But, let's look at this objectively - i.e., not about taste but about the wet-chemistry methodology used to produce coffee.
You have the beans: Surface area will control the rate of various extractions, hence the grind is important to control the following:
With few exceptions, hotter water extracts more quickly and in larger quantities than colder water. This is potentially both positive and negative, depending upon what you wish to extract from the medium. Conventional coffee wisdom is that boiling water is preferred - and except in pressurized espresso makers, that waters' at 100 C. Most minerals must be in an ionic form if one wishes to extract them with water. There's an effect (common ion effect) that could potentially inhibit the extraction of certain minerals if the extraction medium is already high in said mineral. Organically bound minerals, on the other hand, typically are non-ionic and not particularly soluble (e.g., iron in your blood, copper in lobster blood). There's also the possibility of chelation, further complicating the issue (and the effect of temperature), as it may increase the solubility of poorly soluble minerals (eg, most forms of Calcium). The (nauseating)
These are basically extracted into the system because they're mobilized by the hot-water (not dissolved in it to any significant degree!). If you look up what is called a soxhlet extraction, you'll see the relationship (Wikipedia [^]has a neat animated image). Again, super-heated water will affect this rate. In the typical drip coffee maker, this is a one-pass event so the variation (based upon water temp and grind) will be much more pronounced.
Bare in mind that none of the above even mentioned the degree of roasting (which would be a coffee specific modification to the processes). The roasting, however, causes a breakdown of many of the components (for the paranoid amongst us, like almost all thermal decomposition, it's free-radical chemistry). The partially oxidized oils may take on some partially ionic character, making them easier to extract (except they may bind more firmly to the substrate) - but they may also polymerize and become less soluble and more difficult to 'soften' with hot water for the extraction.
Keurig systems rely partially on elevated pressure to speed the atrocity they call brewing. They even try to apply this to tea!
If the forgoing was annoying enough, imagine that different filter porosity will effect contact time and amount of oils removed. Some (dumb) filter brands brag how much of the oil they'll absorb! Then, too, my favorite coffee maker type is vacuum drip - I have serious control over how long I brew without every boiling the coffee directly.
Putting all this emphasis on magnesium (vs. essentially distilled water, recommended by many coffee production methods/people/pundits/etc.) is ludicrous. Put a tiny pinch of epson salts into your coffee maker and see if it's better beyond the placebo effect.
"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." - Albert Einstein
"As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error." - Weisert
"If you are searching for perfection in others, then you seek disappointment. If you are seek perfection in yourself, then you will find failure." - Balboos HaGadol Mar 2010
laziness, ignorance, convenience, or because there's no other choice
But isn't that how every human makes every decision, ever?
I mean, I know I like to crow about how much research I did over my latest widget purchase, but I can guarantee you I didn't research absolutely every last granule of data available on widgets before I made my decision. Which means my decision was based largely out of ignorance and convenience.
Chris certainly started a good discussion!
A friend with Italian parents remarked that Starbucks has branches in almost every country in the world except Italy, where coffee was first introduced in Europe. They didn't want to open a café in a country where proper coffee is made.
It's only very recently that Starbucks has dared to open a café in Milan
Typical EuroSnobbery: the baton of cultural leadership has long ago been passed to the Western Side of the Atlantic. I've been across much of Europe and, particularly when speaking of food and drink, it's time you just get over yourselves.*
Hershey is as bad as Dairy Milk, just in a different way. Mainland Europe seems to have a much better handle on chocolate. I'm not a fan of dark chocolate, but dairy milk is just too sweet. It needs to be chocolatey, creamy and just a bit sweet.
Not sure about cultural leadership, America is such a different place to Europe. There are definitely american influences in europe, but not everything gains traction this side of the pond. Everything is so much bigger there, you have more room. Bigger houses, bigger cars etc. I remember one of the American open-top bus companies trying to start in Bath. They ignored all the local operators and tried to use the same huge open top buses they were using in the US and London. The first one got stuck within a week!
My point is this, some things that work perfectly fine in America won't work here, or at least won't quite fit. Europe, having gotten much "smaller" the last couple of decades, is definitely developing a shared culture, but even there environment, cultural heritage and other influences dictate that there must be differences between each.
We'll continue to pick and choose what we like, but I don't think Europe's culture will ever be "lead" by any influence outside of Europe.
Wow. No idea where that came from. Must be time for a cup of tea! (closest picture I could find, sorry)
Er, I can't think of a funny signature right now.
How about a good fart to break the silence?
Well I would say you are in the minority then. Pretty much everyone else I know who announce their Apple-love have no idea about whether the hardware is good, whether it's good value for money, whether they need it, etc.
I do believe that's the first time those words have been used in that order!
"the debugger doesn't tell me anything because this code compiles just fine" - random QA comment
"Facebook is where you tell lies to your friends. Twitter is where you tell the truth to strangers." - chriselst
"I don't drink any more... then again, I don't drink any less." - Mike Mullikins uncle
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