Coffee Roasters Scotland – What makes a good coffee?

Coffee Roasters Scotland finds out what makes a good coffee.

It may appear that the answer is self-evident but stick with me. Assume you exclusively drink speciality-grade coffee. How much does the body of a bean differ from one to the next? I would say not much. The potential to adjust the body by roasting and brewing is significantly higher than the natural diversity in the body across various coffees.

Most perceived discrepancies in the body at the cupping table are, in my opinion, owing to a lack of rigorous weighing of both the ground coffee and the water used in cupping. While some current green buyers and roasters weigh their cupping water, it is not a common technique and was rarely if ever used until around fifteen years ago.

What is the definition of body?

The body of coffee on the tongue is the result of a mix of viscosity and insoluble particles. Although mouthfeel is linked to body, most sources ascribe body to insoluble particles and mouthfeel to the presence of oils. The sense of “butteriness” caused by dispersed oils in coffee is referred to as mouthfeel. Surprisingly, body does not appear to be related to the quantity of particles produced by different coffees when ground.

Body is connected to brew strength as measured by TDS in an indirect way. Because TDS is a measurement of dissolved particles only, whereas body is made up of insoluble, I say indirectly. However, for a particular brew process, increases in TDS are often correlated with increases in body. TDS is a density metric, therefore a denser brew yielded more TDS.

In order to impact the body in coffee, you must first understand how to influence the body.

I can think of four methods to alter the amount of body in brewed coffee:

green coffee selection
  • roasting intensity and progress
  • filtering and brewing procedure
  • brewing proportions
  • Green coffee is an option.

Green coffee is perhaps the least likely to have an effect on the body. I was just speaking with Raymond Kerr, cofounder of Coffee Roasters Scotland, about the human body. Raymond stated that a beans appearance has probably never been a deciding factor in his decision to purchase green coffee. That statement piqued my curiosity and prompted me to write this article.

While coffee origin and processing have an influence on body in the cup, the following factors have a greater impact.

Roasting and the human body

Body is influenced by roast level and development, as well as the ratio of conduction to convection utilised in roasting. Body may be increased through darker roasting, more development, and coffee roasted with more conduction. Few of us would choose to roast darker just to add body, but learning to manipulate body and taste without roasting darker may be a beneficial skill.

Filtration and brewing process

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The brewing process used, particularly filtration, has the most impact on the body. The most body is seen in immersion beers and other unfiltered brews. Less body is produced by percolation procedures in which the coffee bed acts as a filter to catch small particles. The least body is produced by percolation procedures that use filters with low porosity and high capacity to catch particles.

Brewing strength and ratio

All else being equal, increasing the ratio of grounds to water and/or increasing brew strength (density) will increase body.

Last but not least

Returning to the original topic, it appears appropriate to disregard or devalue the body while selecting green coffee. Small modifications in brewing technique, formula, and filtering have the potential to modify the body significantly more than changing the green coffee.

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