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THE WATER SCIENCE OF A PERFECT POUR OVER

The first time I saw a barista preparing a pour over, I wondered how much of it was science and how much was theatre. I later understood the principles, but a new article on the award-nominated website Coffee Adastra has gone into a new level of detail that I haven’t seen before.

At first glance, it’s a bit of a daunting read, but as long as you understand the basic principles of how coffee extraction works, it’s actually very understandable and well-illustrated.

Illustration of the agitation map and finding the sweet spot – couresy the Coffee Adastra website

The author is a postdoc researcher for Astrophysics at Université de Montréal, which explains how someone can produce such a level of detail. Unlike a lot of scientific articles I read however, the author makes their findings understandable for the rest of us.

You can achieve this by pouring just a bit lower than the point where you can hear a splattering sound as the stream enters the slurry. In other words, you do not want to hear that splattering sound, but you want to be pouring just below the point where you would hear it.

Quote taken from Coffee Adastra website article “the physics of kettle streams”

One of my favourite scientists is the late Dr Richard Feynman, who although he was a Nobel Prize winner, could explain the complicated subjects so that mortals could understand them.

I don’t want to re-write what the author already does an excellent job of explaining. If you like pour over coffee, and you want to understand how to get a more consistent result, and how the dynamics of the preparation affect the outcome, then I recommend you head over to their site here and read the full article.

What do you think?

Written by Nick Baskett

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