Can anyone point out websites or academic articles analyzing coffee brewing methods?

I can easily identify taste differences between the various methods, but I'd like to know which ones are comparable and what variables are most important.


cold-brew (toddy)
french press



type (arabica, robusta, other?)
roast (light->dark, freshness)
ground (fineness, consistency)

You can read about all this stuff all over the internet, but it's all anecdotes. I'd like to see, e.g., the results of mass spectroscopy given different processes.

  • 1
    This is way too broad a question. The variables that affect espresso are almost completely different from those that affect pour-over. – Ward - Reinstate Monica Jan 30 '12 at 6:05
  • Alright, remove espresso from that list; espresso depends on pressure and temperature of the water being pressed through, while the other methods cannot depend on pressure. If you still think it's too broad, help me refine it further. – keflavich Jan 30 '12 at 15:01
  • Also, note that I'm not asking for users to come up with their own experiments - I'm asking for references to published (academic?) literature. – keflavich Jan 30 '12 at 15:03
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    Related: We have quite an extensive Q&A on manual drip coffee, many of the principles of which would also apply to automatic drip. I do think that this question is pretty broad, but so are all [resources] questions; this one is at least focused on a fairly specific topic. – Aaronut Feb 3 '12 at 18:07

Could this help: http://www.goodfood-project.org/www/Links/Hashimoto.pdf?

I had a quick flick and it basically uses infrared analysis to work out the quality and underlying flavor of the beans.

Other sites I found (though less of what you asked) are http://www.web-books.com/Classics/ON/B0/B701/22MB701.html which is just a general look at the science behind coffee and http://www.marco.ie/other_pdfs/070516_SCAE_Gold_Cup_Filter_Presentations.pdf which looks at the methods behind brewing.

Anyway, hope this helps.

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  • Thanks Sebiddy. Those are both very useful documents. The SCAE gold has a lot of interesting claims that I'd love to see backed up. "All about coffee" looks like a great book; I have some reading ahead. – keflavich Jan 30 '12 at 15:45

This article from Gizmodo links to a company that makes refractometers specifically to measure particulate levels and pH balance of coffee. Good read, and lots of scientific looking charts related to coffee flavor.

Chasing the Perfect Cup of Coffee With Science

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  • Interesting article. I think the science is mostly referred to in Sebiddychef's links (the SCAE gold chart), but the measurement method is definitely worth a +1. – keflavich Jan 31 '12 at 20:45

There are quite a few articles concerning coffee brewing methods. Since you are interested in academic articles, I take a look at this search in Google Scholar:


The first looks particular relevant.

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  • The title of the first article I see on that link is "Levels of the cholesterol-elevating diterpenes cafestol and kahweol in various coffee brews". It seems to be looking at the medical effects of coffee, which is unfortunately most (all?) of what google scholar turned up for the terms I tried. It tells nothing of the flavor chemicals or comparison of the extraction process. – keflavich Jan 29 '12 at 21:03
  • Found this interesting article (but it is probably not in-depth enough for you) podmerchant.com/coffee/complexity-of-coffee.pdf – soegaard Jan 29 '12 at 21:33
  • How about this book: Coffee Flavor Chemistry amazon.com/Coffee-Flavor-Chemistry-Ivon-Flament/dp/0471720380 – soegaard Jan 29 '12 at 21:36

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