On the complexity of coffee

Too many people think making coffee is easy (for a significant proportion of that group it simply involves hot water and a teaspoon of coffee flavoured dirt).

Illy is an Italian coffee powerhouse. Giorgi Millio used to work with them. Now he’s a coffee writer. Here’s his description of Illy’s approach to coffee.

“Certainly my views on coffee have been influenced by the company’s scientific environment, created by three generations of chemists; a research and development unit covering agronomy, botany, physics, chemistry, biology, statistics, and computer science; and laboratories dedicated to dedicated to the study of coffee, in areas like sensory perception (not just taste, but aroma as well).”

He’s a coffeesnob. Here’s an interesting fact:

Coffee is intricate and requires education and passion to get right–plus a lot of practice. Espresso is the most complex coffee preparation, containing around 1,500 chemical substances, of which 800 are volatile. There are also more than 100 chemical/physical variables that affect the final preparation—like water composition, the size and distribution of the ground coffee particles, filter dimensions and hole diameter, dynamic water flow temperature and pressure, shape and temperature of the cup, roasting degree, and many, many more …

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