The coffee aroma is an essential component of the coffee drinking experience. When it’s freshly brewed, you are almost forced to enjoy its aroma filling the atmosphere before its taste from the cup. Even in a professional coffee cupping, the aroma is the first thing to be evaluated along with the dry fragrance.
What coffee is bad at is preserving its quality in any phase, like roasted beans for a couple of weeks, grounds for a few days(some say a few hours), or brewed coffee, depending on how its brewed but unfavorable flavor grows to a noticeable level in half an hour or even less. The aroma seems to be the most delicate elements of coffee. It starts decaying rapidly as soon as the brewing starts, and it only lasts for a few minutes. When you brew the coffee you could feel the room is filled with the aroma, but it won’t last that long. When someone serves a freshly brewed coffee, you could smell the aroma in the steamvapor coming from the cup, but it soon perishes as it cools. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could preserve the aroma and bring it out when you actually drink the coffee? There is some trick you could try with a pour over cone dripper.
The first thing you do it to set coffee grounds in the dripper. Give a little more coffee than usual. If you usually do 1:15 water/coffee ratio, try 1:12 ratio. The grind level can be the same as usual. A recommended grind level medium or medium-fine grind.
Heat up the water to reach 160F, which is much lower than normally used temperature(around 200F). When it’s brewed with normally heated near boiling hot water activates aroma essence to vaporize into the air. On the other hand, this 160 F water can still extract aroma essence from the grounds but keeps it inactive inside the cup. So the temperature is the crucial in this method.
Pour the minimal amount of the water to saturate all the grounds. What you notice in this stage is that the grounds do not expand as fresh coffee usually does in a regular brewing. The reason is its low temperature. It doesn’t get absorbed in each ground coffee particles. Rest of the brewing is the same as usual. After waiting to bloom the grounds for 30 secs or so, you could start pouring on the ground and draw a consentric circle outwards from the center, from outside to the center. Finish the whole process in 3 to 3.5 minutes. Remember to follow some basics: do not pour directly onto the paper, and do not wait till all the liquid drops into the cup.
Activate the coffee aroma
If you drink this resulted cup, it clearly lacks aroma and flavor, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Pour the amount of coffee you drink into a cup or pot and warm it up. By giving it heat, the aroma essence contained in the coffee gets activated and the fresh aroma finally comes out. This method has been around and known as Yasunaga brewing method.
Many people brew coffee in the morning and drink it through out the day. In that case, this brewing can be helpful. This is what you could do. Brew at home in the morning and drink it. Bring it with you to work in your tumbler. Pour it into a cup at work and microwave it. If you don’t care too much about the aroma, forget it. But having a fresh aroma in the afternoon is luxury.
Image by Dennis Tang