Aerated coffee

February 5th, 2010

I’ve another post coming on why I blog, but this reason deserved a post in its own right.  A few days ago Shaun dropped me an e-mail about the Vinturi.  He’d played with it a little bit and thought it was interesting, and thought it might be something that would interest me. I admit I was curious – so I grabbed one from the UK website.  (Clicking through may help explain the image above!)

As I write this I confess I know very little about the science of aerating wine – feel free to point me in any link-based directions!  I didn’t know if it was specific to wine/alcoholic beverages with very volatile fractions, or whether it would affect coffee too.  I’m rather lucky in having Anette who is very good at tasting things – so I gave her several different brews split into pairs of cups, one aerated and one not.  Each time she said one cup tasted noticeably better, and it was the aerated one. As I was the one conducting the tests I’m rather biased, so feel free to discount this – but I thought the aerated cup was sweeter and had better clarity.

One obvious explanation would be that the aeration cooled the coffee, so comparatively it was the easier cup to taste – I should probably check how much temperature is lost (though I did preheat the Vinturi before doing it).  I am sure a slightly cooler brew would have an advantage, and a noticeable one at that, over the same hotter brew of the same coffee.  Simply pouring into a cooler cup could well create an advantage.  However the use of aeration in wine – which, again, I don’t understand yet – does intrigue me.

Yesterday we dropped some espresso through it, and it was interesting.  We then brewed an americano, skimmed it (for this is what crema skimming was truly made for) and then aerated it.  It was the best american I think I’ve ever had. 1 Perhaps I simply wanted it to be.

I am well aware you could pull the “Emperors New Clothes” card on this one – but I still think it warrants a little attention.  If people can come up with some experiments that will isolate the aeration then I’d be willing to try them and perhaps open the doors at work to people who want to take part in a little experiment too.

I will keep playing with it, and report back after a bit of reading on the science (if any) behind it all…

  1. But I haven’t had that many, and I never really liked them to begin with!  ↩︎

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