Breakfast · Drinks · Uncategorized

The science of coffee


It’s funny how taste changes with age.

When I was young, I’d always smell my mum making coffee in the kitchen (just the regular, instant stuff (the cafetieré was for reserved for when my coffee-queen auntie came to visit), however I despised the taste. I thought it too bitter, and wondered how anyone could like it.

Fast-forward a few years, to a summer spent in Malaysia; 2014, climbing Penang Hill. At the rest areas, hikers were treated to water & toilet stops, as well as freshly brewed coffee and sweet, plain biscuits.

There, sipping a cup of sweet (sweet) coffee; the beans having been coated in butter, oats and sugar, bringing out warm earthy richness, I was able to say- “Wow, I think I like coffee.”

Needless to say, I was a little scared of getting addicted. Once you’re hooked, I thought, that’s it. But bringing back some ground coffee from a little hawker stall that summer, I was able to enjoy the coffee back home simply for the taste and not the buzz.

Since that experience, I’ve acquired my own cafetieré (not used just for fancy occasions), a Hario V60, and tried lots of different types of coffees and beans.

Please don’t think me a coffee snob. That’s not me. I just have learned to appreciate the flavour and enjoy the playful additions of latte art on a good cup! Ah, those Instagram “let’s pretend I’m studying while taking bird’s-eye shots of my coffee” moments.

If you don’t like coffee, that’s fine. I started sweet and now enjoy it black with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Some add butter, some lots of milk, some have it frothy, others short and strong. The flavour of the beans depends on the region and altitude it’s grown (each area with different climate and soil), the processing of the bean and finally, the roasting! I prefer the chocolate-rich flavours typical of South America over the floral, fruity flavours of Ethopia.

I suggest if you want to enjoy a decent cup at home, get yourself a cafetieré or V60 (a V shaped funnel set at 60°) which needs a finer grind but gives really good flavour. Buy some nice ground coffee or beans- online brands such as Pact will let you specify how you would like the coffee ground  depending on brew method. To keep things fresh, buy the beans whole and grind them before using (I use my Nutri Bullet). You can even buy a bean-cup-machine, but let’t not get ahead of ourselves.

In this post, I’ll explain the science of getting the perfect pour-over using your V60 as explained to me by the lovely M of Sundlaug Coffee Co (50% of Nottingham-based coffee-roasting duo).

The coffee I’m using is their Finca La Argentina from Nicaragua (a country in Central America- thanks Google.) I love how the flavour is described: “Crisp, Aromatic, Toffee, Green Apple, Milk Chocolate” i.e. sweet with a little bit of acidity. These labels are helpful to let you know how it’s going to taste! Perfect for amateurs like me.

So freshly roasted (2 days previous when I bought this!)

Right. Enough talk, let’s get drippy.


What you need:

  • set of electronic scales
  • V60 dripper
  • filter paper
  • coffee cup
  • coffee beans and grinder (or already ground coffee)
  • kettle
  • your favourite mug, because why not

What to do:

Video version if you really can’t be bothered reading.

  1. Weigh out 15g of coffee beans directly into your grinder/Nutri Bullet on the digital scales.
  2. Whizz into fine granules (hmm…smells nice).
  3. Get the kettle boiling (use filtered water if possible).
  4. Place the V60 over your mug, place the filter paper inside, then set the whole thing on the scales, setting to zero again.
  5. When the water has boiled, allow about 30-45 seconds so as not to burn the coffee.
  6. Gently pour the hot water into the filter in a circling motion, only adding a small amount to wet the coffee- watch the bubbles rise!
  7. Continue to add water in small amounts, letting it drip through in between. This will take about 2 mins.
  8. When the final weight gets to 250g, that’s it, stop pouring!
  9. Allow any final drips to get through, then remove the filter and discard the grinds  (these make good compost for your plants- yep, eco, right?)
  10. There you have it, a perfectly brewed cup of filtered coffee. Drink it black to really taste the flavour but add milk if you like.

It’s your coffee so drink it how you wish!






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