Brewing

Roast and ground coffee is brewed by a wide variety of methods. In most cases, hot water is caused to percolate though a shallow bed of ground coffee supported by a porous surface that retains grounds. Steam-bubble-induced flow may be used to repeatedly apply hot water or hot partly brewed coffee to a bed of relatively coarse grounds, or near-boiling water may be poured on a bed of finer grounds.

Near-boiling water is forced through beds of very fine grounds by a pump when espresso coffee is brewed in modern machines. Steam may be passed through the brew or mixtures of brewed coffee and milk to prepare foamed beverages such as cappucino or latté. Very finely ground, darkly roasted coffee, low water:coffee ratios, and demitasse cups are used when espresso is brewed in Italy. Higher water:coffee ratios and larger-sized cups are often used for espresso made in the United States.

Ground coffee is also cooked in or mixed with boiling water and separated from the resulting brew by décantation, filtration, or sedimentation. Coarse grounds may be used, as sometimes done in Scandinavia, where the practice is decreasing. Superfine grounds are used when Turkish coffee is brewed. Compared with percolation, brewing by mixing grounds with boiling water releases much more caffestol, which elevates serum cholesterol (15).

Roasted coffee contains colloidal material that does not pass through intact cell walls. Very fine and superfine coffees contain many ruptured cells and consequently release colloidal matter during brewing, producing brewed coffee with a mouth-feel different from that produced by more coarsely ground coffee.

Gourmet coffee bars that sell brewed coffee prepared by both standard and espresso methods from custom-roasted, high-quality beans have increased in number in the United

States from 500 in 1991 to roughly 12,000 to 15,000 in 1998.

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