Previous post title: Introducing: An Absurd Way to Drink Coffee
Newbie followers of this blog (there have been a few) have probably gotten the idea by now that I am what could be described, euphemistically, as an ‘out of the box’ thinker.
In the last few months I have written about how I tried to create a PR campaign around my wedding to attract more international guests, about my unconventional approach to business development, and about my massive pantry collection.
The list goes one (and on!) but suffice to say that my approach to life is not colored, to a significant extent, by considerations of what the “traditional” or “conventional” means of doing something is.
Which is why, as I type this, I’m sipping a coffee solution out of a cocktail shaker.
Sorry, that killed the whole build-up.
So let me back up just a little and present: Cocktail Shaker Coffee.
Brewing Coffee, However You Do It = Preparing A Liquid Extraction
There are many ways to drink coffee.
Before I started chugging coffee out of a cocktail shaker my preferred method of enjoyment was Turkish coffee.
Short demitasse cups of it brewed in my beloved Okka Minio automatic Turkish coffee machine.
More people prefer espresso (a water extraction supplemented by artificial pressure), filter, or even — goodness forbid — even instant.
What all these methods have in common is that they are extracting the caffeine, the other methylxanthines, and the flavorful and aromatic compounds by hot water.
(*I’m not a chemistry expert, but I believe that coffee also contains theobromine and theophylline — the latter used to be an asthma drug. And, as an asthmatic, I can attest that coffee works wonders for my breathing!)
Again, I’m not a chemistry expert, but I know that — in very crude terms:
- Water-based extraction methods capture the water-soluble compounds in a plant.
- Fat-based extractions (e.g. milk) capture the water and lipid-soluble compounds in a plant.
- Ethanol-based extractions, like tinctures, capture the ethanol-soluble compounds in a plant.
- Ingesting that plant, in ground form, with water in a shaker generally captures everything!
So How Much Caffeine Is Left Over In Used Coffee Grounds?
To determine whether my lunatic cocktail shaker coffee is worthwhile we therefore need to determine what percentage of the caffeine contained in ground coffee is extracted through traditional methods.
Quite opportunistically, I recently hit upon this Quora response from a Mr. Baskerville — who says that he has made more than 100,000 coffee cups during his lifetime:
Intrigued, I decided to dig a little deeper into the paper which he cites “Evaluation of Spent Coffee Obtained from the Most Common Coffeemakers as a Source of Hydrophilic Bioactive Compounds”.
I then decided it was too boring to do so and decided to entrust a random Quora respondent with my health.
But breaking down those figures from Quora we get:
Following traditional preparation methods actually, by my calculations, extracts less than half of the caffeine from the grounds!
What Mr. Baskerville described as “quite a significant amount” of leftover caffeine in the grounds was actually quite a euphemism.
Taking the averages from the paper, I worked out that traditional coffee preparation methods are only extracting 47% of the caffeine in coffee — while close on 53% remains in the usually discarded grounds.
Next we need to ask whether this is ‘safe’. You’re probably already wondering that yourself.
Rather than copy and paste a cookie cutter medical disclaimer advising you to ask your doctor about everything, let me state that I am a random guy on the internet and not a health expert.
Although it’s not as common as brewing coffee, consider the existence of:
- Chocolate-covered coffee beans
- Other random internet users that actually eat roasted coffee beans whole (do I need to tell you that I’ve been there tried that?)
These are even sold on Amazon so my seasoned online research skills tells me that some health authority needs to be checking these things out …. and Amazon is selling them …. ergo they must be legit.
Unfiltered coffee — which raw coffee sort of is ‘on steroids’ — has been shown to raise harmful cholesterol in a dose-dependent manner. (Read this abstract to understand roughly why).
Grinding organic coffee beans, to do this, would be prudent — because we’re ingesting literally everything in the bean. I think that this is a precaution but a sensible one. So I’m grinding my own supply of ethically sourced organic coffee beans using my trusty Sözen hand grinder.
This next bit’s important:
Because I don’t want to give health advice, all I can tell you is my personal limit: one to two tablespoons of coffee per day (and because the caffeine is effectively doubled, that should be equivalent of one to two double shots of espresso).
Now for the fun part.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Coffee Ground To Turkish-Level Fineness
A supply of Turkish coffee. Turkish coffee. Check out the above chart, taken from ‘Optimized Brewing Coffee Quality Through Proper Grinding’, a slideshow prepared by Daniel Ephraim, President, Modern Process Equipment.
I’d be happy to bore you with all the details you could ever want to know about Turkish coffee, but suffice to say that the most important thing about it is that it’s really, really fine — approximately twice as fine as espresso.
Because most people do not live in a Turkish coffee-drinking country there are two ways to procure this:
- Use a (manual) hand grinder. The only brand I trust is Sozen from Turkey. All of the Orphan Espresso grinders can do Turkish too — but are rather pricey.
- Buy an electric grinder that can do Turkish. Your options (among non-commercial-grade) grinders are quite limited. The Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder is reputed to be able to do grind for Turkish, though.
If all of this is just too difficult, then espresso is the next best thing — although as it’s roughly twice as coarse as Turkish your cocktail shaker coffee is liable to come out a bit more ‘gritty’.
2: A Cocktail Shaker (Or Blender)
Just about any cocktail shaker will do the trick here.
3: Tap Water
Or milk. Some liquid, basically.
Step One: Measure Out Your Coffee
Firstly, take a measuring spoon and measure out your coffee.
Step Two: Add Coffee To Water
Next, add your coffee and water to the shaker. Remember: the more water you add, the more raw coffee water you’re going to have to drink!
Step Three: Thirty Seconds of Vigorous Shaking
Next, you’re going to have to shake the ‘cocktail’ vigorously. Do not skimp on this step. You’ll be glad you did when it’s time to drink the concoction!
Step Four: Drink it In One!
Your beautiful coffee-water is now ready for consumption.
Just compare the before and after pictures to see how more drinkable it’s looking.
What we have just prepared is a water based solution of coffee rather than awater-based extraction of it. All I can say is that the shaking makes a huge difference — but that if you put enough effort into it the resultant “brew” is almost as smooth as water.
Here are some extra benefits of drinking coffee the smart way:
- 🏃 More efficient. 🏃 You’ll only go through half the coffee of your unenlightened friends/coworkers for the same amount of caffeine!
- 🔌 Electricity free 🔌. No more kettles and boiling water! Drink your coffee- water wherever you can take out a cocktail shaker!
- 🗲 Lightning-quick 🗲. Have your coffee drunk in about 30 seconds from start to finish. Unbeatable!
- Added fiber! You won’t only be mopping up every miligram of coffee in the bean — you’ll be getting added fiber and nutrients too!
Happy coffee-water drinking!
Please reach out with any questions/comments/receipt suggestions.
Originally published at https://www.danielrosehill.co.il