By: Suhas Dwarakanath *
Geographical origins of the coffee, growing method, processing method, brewing method all started becoming very important and essential to sell coffees. This is when different brewing methods started becoming very popular for a very simple reason which I would like to explain using an example I use very often. A Biryani that is cooked in a pot, cooked in a bamboo stick, pressure cooker or in a tava all taste completely different due to the cooking method; the same applies to coffee. When the same coffee is brewed in different coffee makers the coffee tends to show different flavour profiles that are inherent in them.
Why these Changes are Happening to Coffee
• Material of the Coffee Maker – glass, plastic, steel, aluminium etc. they conduct heat differently and absorb heat differently;
• Types of Filters – paper filter, cloth filter and metal filter changes the flavours as well due to the absorption capacity of filters, papers holds the highest amount of solubles whereas metal does not absorb;
• Brewing Time – this plays a crucial role as some coffee makers tend to hold water for a longer time hence extracting the flavours more and in some cases also extracting the bad flavours that are present in the coffee
• Pressure and Temperature – Higher pressures and higher temperatures extract higher solubles from coffee leading to higher flavour and in some cases extracting bad qualities as well.
The espresso machines were invented in Italy in 1884 and then became so popular that everyone in Italy started drinking coffees at cafes but soon the population realized that they were spending way too much money on coffees at cafes. This was noticed by Alfonso Bialetti who invented the Moka Pot which makes espresso like coffee at home on a stove top. This coffee maker became so famous that its design has remained unchanged for centuries and is being used all over the world.
When the above-mentioned reasons are combined with different cultures of different countries it leads to the origin of different coffee makers all over the world.
Vietnam has always had Liberace and Robusta varieties of coffees, which are very full-bodied and have a very strong aftertaste. They started brewing their coffee on top of condensed milk with egg white in it to give thickness which used to make the beverage creamy and take the edge of the strong bitter bold taste.
India faced a shortage of coffee
during British Raj. They started mixing coffees with Chicory which made the coffee bitter and thick hence in India there is a tradition of mixing coffee with sugar. Also, the majority of the the population couldn’t afford British or American methods of brewing equipment. Indigenous coffee makers made out of brass are famous Indian coffee filters.
The Italian espresso when it made its way to USA it made quite a buzz but the American pallet did not really take to the intense taste which led to the invention of a drink called Americano. Americano is espresso topped off with hot water to weaken the espresso and mellow it down which still is one of the most consumed coffee variants in USA. This led to the invention of AeroPress coffee maker which makes a coffee not as light as an American filter but not as intense as an espresso.
Type of Drinks
The Cold Brewed Coffee: One of the much later inventions i.e. the cold brewed coffee was invented to simplify the brewing process as well as to reduce the acidity which a major part of the population hated all over the world. This is a process where the coffee is brewed for a long duration of 8 to 24 hours without introducing the coffee to hot water.
Nitro Coffee: Nitro coffee is another innovation that has gained immense traction in the market. The cold brewed coffee is infused with pure nitrogen gas and refrigerated for 2-8 hours before consumption. The nitrogen gas makes the coffee very creamy and the small nitrogen bubbles amplify the flavour notes that are present in the coffee. This also reduces the acidity drastically.
Turkish Coffee/The Cezve: Turkish coffee or the Cezve was invented by the Ottoman soldiers when they were on their crusades and they didn’t have much to brew their coffee in. They used sand and firewood in the desserts where they would camp and make coffee where they boiled the coffee along with water to make a thick and strong extraction and poured it into a cup and waited for the coffee grounds to settle to the bottom of the cup before drinking. Now, this coffee is popular in the Middle East, the Balkans and Turkey. However, it has managed to travel all over the world.
This ever-dynamic industry will keep inventing new methods and new equipment to brew coffee and to bring new flavour dimensions out of the coffee. Now, this world is so globalized, we see more and more inventions that are catering to the world market rather than just a region or country.
* Suhas Dwarakanath is an owner of Vimoksha Beverage Solutions Pvt. Ltd.