What is coffee’s biggest enemy?
Do you know what coffee really hates? It hates oxygen. Oxygen kills ground coffee. So coffee has a protectionism mechanism against oxygen, its whole bean status. While coffee remains in the roasted whole bean format, oxygen has a difficult time getting inside of it. Its not because the bean isn’t porous – it is – it’s because the whole bean is releasing other gases during its shelf life (which is measured in weeks, not months).
What coffee really loves!
Do you know what coffee really loves? It loves carbon dioxide. Carbon Dioxide (Co2) does several things in roasted coffee. It is constantly degassing from the bean, not allowing oxygen to get in. It is also an antioxidant inside the bean, making the inside an unfriendly environment for oxygen. Studies have shown that coffee ground for espresso will lose 80% of its stored Co2 within the first two minutes. Third, Co2 is a major element in getting flavors and aromas from the bean to your mouth and to your nose. Co2 also helps transport and deliver the aromatics of coffee. And last but not least Co2 develops bloom and crema.
Why you need a good coffee grinder?
I learned very early in my coffee education that not only being able to grind fresh, but to grind fresh with a quality grinder is so important. It is critically important to grind fresh just before brewing, and to use that ground coffee within minutes, or seconds. The smaller and more fine the grind, the faster you need to use it. For espresso, that means within 60 seconds you should have it packed and locked into the espresso machine. Cheap grinders have not traditionally done the job you’re demanding here. Although the good news is that over the last couple of years quality grinders have gotten better, and cheaper.
Why the coffee pod?
This is where the espresso coffee pod comes into its own. Processing a quality espresso coffee pod involves grinding the whole roasted bean to the correct fineness then almost simultaneously vacuuming the ground coffee into the paper pod and encasing it in a helium filled aluminium packet. This retains the flavor and crema without oxygen deteriorating the quality. You can actually smell this. Ever notice all those amazing aromas when you fresh grind coffee or open a coffee pod?. That’s Co2 releasing from the coffee, carrying the aromatics and flavors with it into the atmosphere. And those are the flavors you want in your cup!
I have attempted to give you pointers on how to make a quality, consistent espresso coffee at home grinding your whole roasted coffee bean or by simply using a coffee pod. The greatest improvement for both these options is – water. Water especially can drastically improve your coffee quality depending on where you live and what your tap water quality is like. So when you make your next home coffee remember these tips and enjoy!