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The Zest Blog - by Mandy Delvecchio

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Distilling the facts: The Extraction.

Last week the Z team got together for a little work-shopping. One of the things we concentrated on was our sensory development. Being in the coffee industry it is important to know how to deduce flavour and more importantly, how to tell a good coffee from a bad coffee. While all Zest coffee is good, obviously, and the flavour is second to none, we learnt through a series of tastings, that there is one key element to translating that flavour in your cup and that is getting the extraction right.

A coffee roaster has an incredibly refined palette. They have to. Roasting coffee is 50% art, 50% science, but it is 100% flavour.

The end game to the whole process however is not the roaster. The end game is you.

From growing, to harvesting, processing, storage and roasting – it is the flavour that ends up in your cup, and eventually your mouth that will make a coffee moment (with all of that development behind it) successful or not.

It doesn’t matter how much art or science goes into the process down the line, if that coffee is not brewed correctly – the way the roaster has designed it to be brewed – you will not get the optimal flavour that you should.

This all comes down to extraction.

So, during our work-shopping, with the team, we went though a number of our Espressist blends and tasted them brewed at a number of different extraction times. We did mystery tastings (without knowing the extraction times) and discussed the flavour we experienced in each cup.

It sounds confusing, and it was a little, to begin with. But when you tasted each coffee at the optimum extraction time, it was almost like magic – there it is!

Coffee brewed at the extraction intended by the roaster, produces the cup the roaster tasted when he developed the coffee. The roaster’s flavour vision/intention (ART) coupled with the barista’s brew method (SCIENCE) creates the coffee flavour translated in the coffee’s profile.

So what does this mean to the consumer?

It means, trust us. We have put the hard work in to decipher and fine-tune flavour profiles so you can choose a coffee that pleases your palette.

And, it means practice. At the end of the line, you (or your barista) need to be a little ‘science’ when brewing or you might miss that flavour!

It all comes down to extraction.

But don’t fret, it’s not that difficult to get right, you first just need to understand the parameters.

I can attempt to break this down to you, but The Perfect Daily Grind has done it for me. This article should uncover some of the mysteries of extraction and inspire you to brew better. Because, the more you know, the deeper the experience – and, at Zest, we believe deeply in the whole experience!

Read:  Extraction and the ‘Strong Coffee’ Myth

And here are another couple of nice articles on extraction from Barista Hustle.

Read: The Most Important Thing About Brewing Coffee

          DIY Extraction Tasting

Are there any other questions you have about extraction, or maybe you are looking to improve your all round barista skills? Shoot us a line – we will endeavor to get you extracting at Z percent!

In the meantime. Read. Brew. Taste. Repeat.