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The effects of temperature on grinding

From the December 2016 issue.

A team of researchers has examined the effects of different variables, such as temperature, on the particle size distribution of coffee after grinding.

Coffee tamper

One of the most elusive factors in any aspect of coffee making is consistency. In fact, it is arguable that at the heart of just about every new technology and method for making coffee better is the quest for consistent results.

In order to achieve consistency in coffee making, however, one must first have a complete understanding of all of the variables at play in a particular process – such as grinding – and how changes in those variables affect the result.

It was this desire to achieve some clarity about a stage in the coffee-making process that is largely shrouded in uncertainty – and not a little folklore – that a team of 11 coffee professionals and career scientists set out to examine the effect of bean origin and temperature on grinding coffee.

Leading the team was Australian scientist, Dr Christopher Hendon, a coffee enthusiast who works in the Department of Chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US.

Also on the team was one of Australia’s best-known baristas – 2012 World Brewers Cup Champion, partner at Australian specialty coffee roaster, Sensory Lab, and creator of the Barista Hustle website – Matt Perger.

Hendon and his team carried out a series of experiments to determine how bean origin, processing method, roast level and temperature can affect the results of grinding.

According to Hendon, the idea for the experiments came about as a result of an argument about the topic in that most democratic of scientific forums – Twitter.

“Both sides had very little data to support their postulations,” Hendon tells Global Coffee Report, leading the coffee-obsessed scientist to embark on his quest to find some definitive answers.

As a result, a team of volunteers from both the science and coffee worlds were assembled to get to the bottom of the matter.

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