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The Science Behind Making Great Coffee

Australia is a country of coffee lovers, with 3 in 4 Australians enjoying at least 1 cup of coffee a day.

When you visit a Perth coffee shop, we all expect nothing short of a perfect coffee. Sometimes it’s the best cuppa you’ve ever had, and other times it’s an epic fail, leading you to think ‘Why can’t they just get it right?’.

Coffee making is a science in itself, and everything that happens before you take your first sip – from the bean selection, roast, grind, water and brew method can affect the overall taste of your coffee.

As the coffee experts in Perth, we consider all these things and more to produce amazing cups of coffee with every pour.
Let’s break it down.

QUALITY

Before we even get to making magic in your cup, we have to ensure our specialty coffee is of the highest quality. And it all starts with the bean.

Everything from the climate and environment of where coffee beans grow, will impact on taste. Beans mature best at high altitudes to prevent them from overheating or growing too quickly. They grow inside what resemble cherries, and picking the ‘coffee cherries’ at the right time is just as important, much like harvesting fruit.

At Voodoo Coffee in Perth, we source only the best coffee beans from our friends – The Northbridge Coffee Roasters. Together, we have created special light and dark blends that commend Voodoo Gods, each with their own distinctive flavours.

Light blend Agwe: These coffee beans have been sourced from Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea and Brazil

Dark blend Baron Samedi: A blend of coffee beans from Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia and Honduras

Our single origin Gran Bwa has been sourced from the southern slopes of Kilimanjaro and offers a full bodied taste with a smooth buttery finish, including hints of honey, forest berries, almond and chocolate.

FRESHNESS

When it comes to coffee, fresh is best! Buying coffee from regions where the coffee is in season will ensure peak flavour and freshness. Fruit always tastes 10x better when it’s in season, and the same can be said for coffee. Makes sense when you think of it like that, right?

When buying coffee to use at home, check for a roast date rather than a sell by date, as this will give you a better indication of how fresh the beans are. Coffee beans that are exposed to air will gradually lose flavour and freshness, so make sure you store your coffee in airtight bags or containers.

ROASTING PROCESS

You might have the highest quality beans, but if they aren’t roasted correctly they will break your blend.

The roasting process takes green beans, which have a mild, bean-like smell and transforms them into delicious, toasty brown beans, which is what you would be used to seeing. Lighter coloured roasts are cooked for a shorter period of time, allowing them to maintain their intense taste. As the roast gets darker, the acid levels reduce.

When buying coffee, find a roast you like and check the beans for quality. What you’re looking for, is for the beans to be somewhat oily and not too dark. If they aren’t, they could be dry and burnt, which will affect the taste of your coffee when you brew it.

GRINDING

Here’s all you need to know – a finer grind (smaller particles) will extract more of a coffee’s flavour notes, while a coarser grind will extract less. If you’re using an older roast, aim for a finer grind. This will ensure you’re getting the most flavour out of your coffee.

Mixing coffee grinds can also ruin your coffee, which is why you should clean your grinder after every use, even just a tap to shake loose the bean debris will do the trick.

WATER

Coffee is 99% water, so let’s not forget the importance that water temperature and quality plays in your brew.

When you pour at a lower temperature (around 185 degrees), you’ll extract less of the bean and end up with a more bitter taste. The higher the temp, the more coffee you’ll extract from the bean.

Some tips for making coffee at home:
  • The fewer the minerals in the water, the better, so always go for cold filtered water.
  • Never re-boil water that’s already been through the heating process.
  • Wait about 30 seconds after heating your water to actually begin pouring over your coffee.

BREWING

We won’t get too technical here, but essentially different brewing methods have different levels of extraction. Methods with higher levels of extraction will get more caffeine and polyphenol (active compounds found in coffee that have health benefits), out of your grind.

The coffee to water brewing ratio will also determine how strong your cup of coffee will be.

We use various brewing techniques to deliver different aromas and taste at Voodoo Coffee. See if you like our specialty cold brew, filter, pour over, or siphon brew. We like to mix up our coffee offering for these regularly, using only the freshest coffee from our roasting friends at Twin Peaks.

At the end of the day it also boils down to personal preference. Everyone’s taste buds are different, so experiment with blends and brews until you find the perfect cup of coffee for you.