Welcome back to A - Z 2022 and Ultimate Blog Challenge - I was going to talk about coffee quality, but you know what?
Today I'll be answering your coffee questions:
Andrew observed that the coffee stores he frequents tend to make drip coffee rather than espresso, and he assumed it had to do with the fact that there was only one grinder, hence only one bean variety?
Drip coffee might be more convenient to serve larger quantities of guests in a short amount of time: you prepare a large batch that'll yield, say ten cups of coffee. It takes considerably longer to pull espresso shots for ten people using a manual piston machine.
It may also be a question of skill. Pulling consistently great quality espresso shots every time requires training and experience, and if you don't use a manual espresso machine, you will need to invest into a fully automated one, which comes with a price tag, so that may be another reason some coffee shops would rather make drip coffee.
|Photo Credit: Los Muertos Crew|
Karen, Lily and Daniella said they're surprised / relieved to hear that there's less caffeine in espresso than filtered coffee.
Just to be clear, it's mainly a question of concentration, respectively of volume! If you compared an ounce of espresso to an ounce of "regular coffee", the espresso would have more caffeine. However, since you don't only drink a miniature cup of coffee, but maybe an eight ounce mug, you'll end up more caffeinated.
it takes roughly 16g of coffee beans to brew a regular-sized mug of drip coffee. A standard double shot of espresso is usually pulled with 16-22g of coffee, but the end result is only ⅛ the volume (1-ounce shot vs 8-ounce mug).
What's more, caffeine is water-soluble, especially in boiling water, so the longer coffee is exposed to water, the more caffeine will be extracted. Brewed coffee is usually exposed to water anywhere between three and seven minutes, while a good espresso shot is pulled within 25 - 35 seconds.
People also like to confuse the strong taste of coffee with caffeine levels. It's rather the opposite: Espresso is typically made from darker roasted beans, and the longer you roast a bean, the more caffeine escapes, as we discussed in the episode "Dark Roast".
Does that make sense?
|Source: Espresso Expert|
Dominique asked an excellent question: after depulping the coffee beans, what happens to the cherries?
Some farmers will simply discard it, which is too bad because there are actually a bunch of ways to make use for this coffee by-product:
They may use it as fertilizer. Perfect way to return the waste product to the cycle.
Since coffee cherries' antioxidant levels are ten times higher than those of pomegranate, blueberries or green tea, skincare companies like to use them to give their products anti-aging properties.
The most common use, however, is to make cascara tea.
What is it?
It's either made from husk, the shell from a natural processed coffee, or the pulp and the husk. It's high in antioxidants and is said to taste delicious. What's more, it provides an additional revenue source for coffee farmers.
So in the name of research I took it upon me to hunt down a bag of these coffee cherries and brewed them. I followed the instructions in this nice video, However I made two versions: 4 minutes (enough in my opinion) and 7.5 minutes' of steeping.
So what's my verdict?
The video promised Cascara was gonna taste like chocolate covered cherries, which made me all excited. I have to say, upon opening the bag the smell was in fact very cherry like. The tea? It tasted *interesting*. Not bad, actually. Not like coffee, but also not like chocolate covered cherries. Maybe like a "fruit tea".
I don't know if the knowledge of the antioxidant and caffeine levels influenced me, but I felt very awake and alert. I think next time I'll have to try Cascara along with a food pairing. It's hard to get hold of chocolate covered cherries around here, so maybe I'll have to make my own? Alternatively a (chocolate) cherry cake?
My ten year blogversary is coming up, and since it's in June, I usually celebrate with some cherry themed baked goods.
Liz commented "it must be nice to live so close to Italy - do you visit?"
Swiss people get this questions often, especially from Americans, and sadly our answer is mostly not often enough.
I'll explain my personal reasons: I find traveling in Europe more stressful than in the U.S. Freeways are congested, parking is scarce and expensive, the price - quality ratio for accommodation often poor. Add to that the oftentimes unpredictable weather.
Take the long Easter weekend. Around here people are off work from Good Friday through Easter Monday, a perfect time for a getaway to Italy or France, right? Well, not if ten thousands of other people think so as well.
Here's a post about a visit to Paris in 2019 in case you're interested.
So now that I have answered your questions, let me ask you:
- Do you prefer drip or espresso?
- Would you try Cascara?
- How long have you been blogging?
- Ever been to Europe?