The Chemistry Behind the Perfect Cup of Coffee

The Chemistry Behind the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Most of us make a quick morning coffee before work without a second thought. We plug a pod into our Keurig machine press go as fast as we can slide our cup in whilst waiting eagerly for it to be served.  

While a simple cup of coffee is sufficient for most of us when we need a morning pick-me-up, there’s a lot more behind making the perfect cup of coffee. If you’re a coffee-lover, you might be able to taste the difference between coffee bean, freshly ground, method of brew and the type of water that is used to make the coffee. 


For those of you who aren’t quite coffee connoisseurs, you might never have noticed the difference that these factors can make in your cup of coffee. However, the quality of the coffee and water that is used to make your brew can completely change the taste. 


Coffee is an art in and of itself. Ask any experienced barista, and they will show you why. The ability to create the perfect, delicious coffee is a skill that not everybody possesses. 


Why do you think so many people choose to go to a fancy coffee shop instead of drinking their homemade brews? It’s because properly made coffee tastes so much better! 


The Science Behind Making the Perfect Cup of Coffee 

According to scientific research, a coffee's components and composition affect its taste. There really is a formula for the perfect cup! The current research has found that coffee with high magnesium levels and low levels of bicarbonate is the most optimal for your beverage. 


The levels of magnesium and bicarbonate in your coffee depend mostly on the water source. The mineral composition of the water affects the taste of the coffee in several ways. 


The magnesium can improve the extraction of the natural flavors of the coffee bean, helping to create a richer and more flavorsome taste. The bicarbonate and sodium content of the water can often lead to an unpleasant taste that ruins the natural deliciousness of the coffee beans.  


It’s not easy to determine the mineral content of your water supply. Most of us drink whatever water comes out of the tap and don’t think twice about it. But taking a closer look at the quality and type of water you are using to make your brews will change your coffee game! 


The Quality and Type of Water 

Researchers have shown how the composition of your water affects the chemical composition of your cup of coffee. The type of coffee bean, the way the coffee beans were grown, and how they were roasted all impact the overall taste of the drink. 


The overall flavor of the drink depends on how many of the coffee’s components are extracted by the water when the two are combined in your mug. The quality and type of the water will impact the way it extracts the coffee bean components. 


Which Variables Affect the Taste of Your Coffee? 

Alongside water quality and type, the coffee will have a unique taste based on the following factors: 

  • The coarseness of the coffee beans 
  • The temperature used during extraction and the method of extraction 
  • The ratio of coffee beans to water in your cup 


Final Thoughts 

The perfect cup of coffee depends on a wide range of variables, and it’s also very subjective. What tastes perfect to you will be suboptimal for somebody else, but that is the beauty of coffee! 


However, if you are looking for a way to create a scientifically optimal cup of coffee, follow the advice above, and you will notice the difference in the quality and taste of your next cuppa. 


For high-quality roasted coffee beans of a range of flavors and types, see the Fatemi Coffee collection.