The secret of coffee’s aroma
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Brew it, preserve it, enjoy it – the secret of coffee’s aroma

A cup in the morning, at work, after dinner or in a café – over 66 million people regularly drink coffee in Germany.* But just what gives this popular drink its aroma? And what’s the best way to make it last? The aroma experts at Emsa are here to reveal the secret!

What does it taste like? From fruity to nutty or even spicy

Aroma is the most complex element of coffee – that’s not surprising, since a single coffee bean alone contains over 800 water-soluble aromatic substances that provide its multi-faceted flavour. To compare: there are only around 400 aromas in wine. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) divides coffee aromas into three main categories: “light roast” (enzymatic), “medium roast” (sugar browning) and “dark roast” (dry distillation) – a sort of hierarchy that ranges from light to dark notes. Light roasts produce fruity, herbaceous and floral aromas to give the coffee its fruity, acidic taste. Medium roasts, on the other hand, create nutty, caramel-like, chocolatey aromas while the dark notes are spicy, carbonaceous and resinous and give the coffee a slightly sweet yet strong flavour. But how do all these aromas ultimately make it from the bean to the cup?

It takes more than just beans to make a good coffee

The actual aroma of coffee only emerges once the beans are roasted, so if green coffee were to be ground and brewed, the result would taste more like tea than coffee. In industrial roasteries, coffee beans are “turbo-roasted” at 400 to 600 degrees for just 3 to 5 minutes, but it really takes time for all the aromas in coffee to fully unfold. The gentler drum roasting procedure lasts up to 15 minutes, with temperatures ranging between 180 and 250 degrees. In order to keep the aroma and the flavour of the coffee after roasting, it is important to store it in airtight packaging in a dark, dry and cool place – ideally as whole beans which are only ground when it’s time for the coffee to be brewed. The actual flavour of the coffee also depends on how it is prepared, i.e. how finely it is ground, the hardness of the water and the ratio of coffee to water. On top of this, the same coffee prepared in a French Press will taste different when it is brewed in an electronic filter machine.

Using a manual filter or a press for slow-burning filter coffee

Most German people get the most enjoyment from their coffee at home, at work or when visiting friends – and often several cups a day at that. And above the more elaborate varieties of coffee, such as cappuccinos, espressos and lattes, filter coffee is still a firm favourite. Around 70% of Germans currently own a filter coffee machine.* Despite the emergence of versions with milk, cream and foamed milk in recent years, these specialities have failed to replace the reliable filter coffee. Experts say a manual filter is still the best method to use if you want to get all the individual characteristics out of the coffee ground – all the more reason for the filter coffee revival currently taking place. The longer the water comes into contact with the freshly-ground coffee, the more flavour it is able to capture. 7 to 8 grams of ground coffee are recommended for a 125ml cup. Another option is to prepare the coffee in a filter jug, which allows you to prepare several cups of full-flavoured coffee at the same time. 

The keeper of that unique coffee flavour

In order to make the aroma of freshly-brewed filter coffee last a remarkably long time, it’s worth investing in a high-quality vacuum jug. Emsa’s premium vacuum jugs with the new Aroma Diamond liner guarantee long-lasting aromatic pleasure. They are also in line with the very highest standards and come with a 10 year guarantee as a quality promise to prove it. So coffee fans can enjoy their favourite aroma cup after cup.


* Source: Tchibo, Brand Eins and Statista: “Kaffee in Zahlen” No. 4, June 2015

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