Coffee Extraction and the Ideal Brew


I was a bit shocked the other day when I had a conversation with my fiancee about coffee. This is a discussion I have had with other individuals however I wasn’t expecting it from this source.

The topic of the discussion was in fact brought up when I told her I was planning on composing a piece about coffee preparing and extraction.

“ Can you write an entire piece on that? ” she asked.

“I could write an entire book on it” & rdquo; I responded.

“I believed it was simply pushing a button. Isn’t coffee quality more to do with how expensive your coffee device is?”

The regrettable truth is that the majority of people believe that coffee is just a push of the button. I recall another conversation with a fellow barista who told me he thought making espresso just implied pushing a button, before he began working in the field.

However, I was grateful to my fiancee as I understood how important it was to write this guide on coffee extraction. So check out on to discover what actually goes into coffee making and what other skills are required to make scrumptious coffee, apart from excellent button pressing skills!

What Is Extraction?

The advancement of coffee extraction

Coffee extraction is the process of dissolving tastes from coffee beans into water. It sounds incredibly straightforward in theory, I grant you. Regrettably, if we put raw, green coffee beans, (which are technically berries), into water, not much occurs. In time we have actually found that there are various elements which increase the level of extraction, which implies more coffee properties or Overall Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the final cup .

The very first of these factors is heat. Our ancestors very rapidly recognized that putting raw coffee beans in hot water produced more of a response compared to soaking raw beans in cold water. They discovered that, if they didn’t heat the water, they required to leave the coffee beans soaking for a lot longer in order to get any sort of taste at all in their drink. This highlights the 2nd factor that affects coffee extraction: time. The longer the of time the coffee is in contact with water, the more soluble compounds it extracts.

Nevertheless, this original coffee drink was still extremely unsatisfactory and tasted basically like the bitter plant that it was. Those ancient baristas needed to discover a method to increase the level of extraction from the coffee. Then one genius probably thought: if warm water draws more properties from the bean, then undoubtedly it stands to reason that heating up the beans over fire prior to putting them in hot water might release more of the coffee bean properties?

Eureka! Cooking or roasting the coffee beans prior to boiling them in water was the essential to coffee making as we understand it today. This unlocked an universe of coffee for those innovators. When we roast coffee we soften the internal cell structure of the coffee bean which permits us to extract much more properties and flavors from the coffee bean.

This was the way coffee was likely extracted for many years and years. Eventually, some smart coffee lover had the idea of squashing the roasted beans and making this ground coffee. Grinding coffee is the last main aspect which vastly increases the extraction of TDS from coffee beans. Grinding coffee increases the area of the coffee that is in contact with the water, therefore increasing extraction.

So there you have the 3 main factors that affect coffee extraction:

  1. Heat
  2. Time
  3. Grind size

We can break these elements down much further however for now let’s stick to these 3 headings. All factors in coffee extraction are interlinked. If we change one aspect, it impacts the others and we need to adjust them as well. I’ll discuss this in more detail a bit later on.

What are Over-extraction and Under-extraction?

Primal coffee drinkers became so proficient at drawing out the coffee properties that they started going too far. They recognized that it was possible to have a lot of dissolved solids in the drink, changing it from a scrumptious beverage to something bitter, dreadful and undrinkable. There is in reality a sweet spot for extracting coffee. In the early days of making coffee with raw green beans, the coffee was under extracted. Ultimately, when all of the coffee preparing factors were discovered and added in to the procedure, coffee began to be over drawn out.

Clive coffee highlights how different coffee solids and tastes are drawn out in a particular order when brewing. Fats and acids are drawn out first, then sugars, and finally plant fibers. The goal is to brew the coffee for long enough to get an ideal balance of these compounds in the cup, however not long enough to extract the undesirable, bitter tastes.

For that reason, different levels of extraction lead to different tastes in our coffee.

Under extraction If we don & rsquo; t apply enough of one or more of the extraction factors, we will get a coffee that is under extracted. For example, if the ground coffee isn & rsquo; t in contact with hot water for long enough, the coffee will be under extracted. Under extracted coffee tastes sour, salty and lacks sweetness, as the sugars have actually not yet been extracted to balance the oils and level of acidity.

Over extraction

If coffee is over extracted, however, it will taste bitter, due to too much of the bitter plant fibers being pulled out from the coffee. Counter-intuitively, these plant fibres are the only properties that can be extracted from raw coffee beans without the addition of heat, which is why green coffee beans taste extremely bitter and unpalatable.

The extraction sweet spot

That ideal extraction point that we are intending for will yield a drink that is sweet, with suitable level of acidity and a long finish; the finish being the immediate experience that we experience after taking a sip of the coffee.

The extraction method

So, for all contemporary types of coffee brewing, heat, time and grind size are all aspects that need to be considered when preparing a cup of coffee. In some cases one aspect can’t be adjusted for a specific reason for a specific making method. For that reason, the other aspects have to be adjusted to harmonize with the set factor. Let & rsquo; s evaluate every one individually. Grind At a standard level, the finer the coffee is ground the more coffee is extracted. This is because of the increased surface area that is in contact with the water.

With every coffee making method, the grind size is picked based upon a variety of elements.

These all need to be thought about when thinking about the grind for a brew.

With drip coffee, the grind can’t be too fine otherwise the water would take too long to go through the filter.

With French press, the filter screen is much bigger than a paper coffee filter in standard French pots. This indicates that the grind typically needs to be coarser for French press than for filter coffee.

On the other hand, espresso has the extra element of pressure during brewing, which accelerates the preparation time. The grind for that reason requires to be much finer for espresso due to the included force of the pressure requiring the water through a smaller sized space in between the coffee premises, at a quicker speed.

Lastly, cold brew coffee is ground coarse to help the water drip quicker through the coffee grinds. Due to the a lot longer extraction time, fine ground coffee likewise tends to be over drawn out when cold making.

Grind size can be changed minutely for all making approaches in order to find that best extraction. Nevertheless, all coffee making techniques have a standard grind size to follow. The grind size that allows for best extraction for each method has been painstakingly discovered over the period of decades.

Grind sizes for standard brewing approaches are as follows:

  1. Cold brew - Coarse
  2. French press - Coarse
  3. Drip - Medium grind size
  4. AeroPress - Fine
  5. Espresso - Extra fine
  6. Turkish coffee - Powder

Contact Time

As with finer grind, longer extraction time equals greater extraction. A number of preparing approaches have a particular extraction time.

For example, Drip coffee machines have a basic configured time to brew coffee. This implies that the grind size and heat have to fit with the set extraction time in a drip coffee maker. In drip coffee this translates to a medium grind size and water that is almost at boiling point.

The ideal time for basic espresso extraction is between 20 and 30 seconds. The grind size and the temperature are for that reason minutely adjusted in espresso preparation so that an espresso is pulled within this time frame.

Cold brew doesn’t make use of heat in the making process at all. For this reason, cold brew needs a a lot longer period for extraction compared to hot coffee preparation. The longest time for the majority of hot preparing methods is around 5 minutes. Cold brew takes between 12 and 24 hr to draw out effectively, which is a significant variation.

Brewing Temperature

Temperature level (heat) is the last element that increases the rate of extraction. The hotter the water, the quicker and greater the extraction. For that reason, if there is already a higher level of extraction from a particular preparation technique due to other previously mentioned variables, the water temperature level doesn’t need to be as hot.

Espresso coffee has a great grind and a quick extraction time due to the addition of pressure. Therefore the water temperature needs to be a little cooler than for other brewing methods in order not to over extract it.

Drip coffee water needs to be hotter to motivate more of a reaction with the coffee, due to the absence of pressure.

Pour over coffee and French press coffee need to be hotter once again. This nevertheless is mainly due to the direct exposure of the water to the air. The open air nature of these preparing methods makes the water to cool quickly, which is combated by making with water at a higher temperature.


Although I didn’t include roasting as a factor that affects extraction, it is quite something that requires to be gone over here; so much so that it gets its own section. A coffee extraction procedure will always need to be changed for the kind of coffee roast you are using.

Just like the extraction procedure, coffee beans can be roasted in a different ways in order to encourage higher or less extraction. The primary aspect that we are discussing when it pertains to roast, is time.

The longer the coffee bean is roasted, the more soluble solids are released from the bean and are for that reason extracted much easier during coffee brewing.

This is the reason that dark roasted coffee is normally thought to be stronger than light roasted coffee. This belief was developed by individuals who utilize the same brewing dish, despite roasting time. Coffee that is roasted for longer is extracted quicker, therefore it stands to reason that dark roasted coffee requires less of each brewing factor in order to extract optimally. This indicates less time, coarser grind and cooler temperatures. If brewing elements are adjusted to compensate for a darker roast, dark roasted coffee can be prepared to be the same as or weaker than a lightly roasted coffee, and vice versa.

So, ideally, I’ve convinced you that brewing a good cup of coffee involves more than great quality equipment and slick thumbs for button pushing. With any luck, you have actually likewise learned a bit more about coffee preparation which will allow you to make your home brew that bit more tasty!

Additional advice on and coffee brewing: