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Soaking The Flavor From Your Grinds

To get that full, rich flavor from your coffee, there are several well estabilished techniques.

Pre-Infusion

The coffee should be brewed in the optimum temperature range, the grounds must have a certain amount of contact time with the hot water, and so on.

One technique that we have tested and found very effective is pre-infusion. What is done here, is full temperature water is sprayed onto the grounds to wet them thoroughly. However, not enough hot water is injected into the cup to start the water coming out.

Instead the water sits with the grinds, re-hydrating them, and releasing trapped carbon dioxide that would otherwise interfere with proper brewing.

After a time sufficient to pre-hydrate and prepare the grinds for the brew, the hot water starts flowing to brew the coffee.

What we've found in our tests is that this process of pre-infusion allows for more extraction of coffee compounds into the water. To determine how much of a difference it makes, we used a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meter to test how much coffee compounds make it into the cup.

To make a baseline comparison, we tested the system against a leading Single Serve Brewer to compare the difference in coffee compound extraction. The table below shows the results for different cups.

Breakfast Blend Light Roast Coffee

 Pre-Infusion   1181 mg/l   1020 mg/l   804 mg/l 
 Top Brand  974 mg/l  840 mg/l  742 mg/l
 Difference  +21.3%   +21.4%   +8.4% 

 

Dark magic Dark Roast Coffee Extra Bold

 Pre-infusion   1540 mg/l   1312 mg/l   1134 mg/l 
 Top Brand  1433 mg/l  1211 mg/l  1011 mg/l
 Difference  +7.5%  +8.3%  +12.2%

 

San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee French Roast

 Pre-infusion   11455 mg/l   1100 mg/l   956 mg/l 
 Top Brand  1192 mg/l  1023 mg/l  780 mg/l
 Difference  +22.1%  +7.5%  +22.6%

 

As seen from the samples above, the combination of pre-infusing the grinds with 201°F water, and then brewing at this temperature releases a lot of extra flavor into the mug. The difference can be clearly tasted. Apart from the taste alone, the smell of the brewed coffee is more pronounced, as is the darker color of the coffee.

This test can be conducted by anyone using a TDS meter. They are common and easily purchased for reasonable prices, as they are used in testing water. To do an accurate test, please use Reverse Osmosis or Distilled water.