The Coffee Corner

All about how to make good coffee and what makes coffee good.

What's in your Coffee WIRED breaks it Down for You!

 


I thought it was pretty interesting to see what chemicals and substances are in coffee. I drink probably too much coffee and have never really thought about what is in it other than the run off from coffee beans. I think people forget that things taste the way they do because of the different chemical reactions and changes that happen when you mix and cook things. This is perhaps why I like Alton Browns cooking show so much, because he explains all the science to you.
 

I think the WIRED article is interesing because it shows you all the differnet things in your coffee and what taste it adds to the drink. Something that most people don't think about on a regular basis. Anyways here is a copy paste from WIRED.

Caffeine
This is why the world produces more than 16 billion pounds of coffee beans per year. It's actually an alkaloid plant toxin (like nicotine and cocaine), a bug killer that stimulates us by blocking neuroreceptors for the sleep chemical adenosine. The result: you, awake.

Water
Hot H2O is a super solvent, leaching flavors and oils out of the coffee bean. A good cup of joe is 98.75 percent water and 1.25 percent soluble plant matter. Caffeine is a diuretic, so coffee newbies pee out the water quickly; java junkies build up resistance.

2-Ethylphenol
Creates a tarlike, medicinal odor in your morning wake-up. It's also a component of cockroach alarm pheromones, chemical signals that warn the colony of danger.
Quinic acid
Gives coffee its slightly sour flavor. On the plus side, it's one of the starter chemicals in the formulation of Tamiflu.

3,5 Dicaffeoylquinic acid
When scientists pretreat neurons with this acid in the lab, the cells are significantly (though not completely) protected from free-radical damage. Yup: Coffee is a good source of antioxidants.

Dimethyl disulfide
A product of roasting the green coffee bean, this compound is just at the threshold of detectability in brewed java. Good thing, too, as it's one of the compounds that gives human feces its odor.

Acetylmethylcarbinol
That rich, buttery taste in your daily jolt comes in part from this flammable yellow liquid, which helps give real butter its flavor and is a component of artificial flavoring in microwave popcorn.

Putrescine
Ever wonder what makes spoiled meat so poisonous? Here you go. Ptomaines like putrescine are produced when E. coli bacteria in the meat break down amino acids. Naturally present in coffee beans, it smells, as you might guess from the name, like Satan's outhouse.

Trigonelline
Chemically, it's a molecule of niacin with a methyl group attached. It breaks down into pyridines, which give coffee its sweet, earthy taste and also prevent the tooth-eating bacterium Streptococcus mutans from attaching to your teeth. Coffee fights the Cavity Creeps.

Niacin
Trigonelline is unstable above 160 degrees F; the methyl group detaches, unleashing the niacin—vitamin B3—into your cup. Two or three espressos can provide half your recommended daily allowance.

Posted: Oct 06 2009, 02:10 PM by willburns1 | with no comments
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