Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer
You left one thing out, Siduri.
The finer the grind the more extractive surface there is. So a given weight of coffee, ground for esperesso, and made in the same amount of water, will produce a stronger brew than one ground courser. This is true no matter what the roast. But, of course, dark roasting produces a more full-bodied flavor. you're right, i didn't bother to go into that. I actually always order my american coffee ground fine, because i use a filter and it's expensive and we use a lot and i can use a little less that way. I only disagree that it's more "full-bodied" - for me it's just more of a burnt taste. (But consider that i don;t much like dark crust on bread either).
With instand coffees the same effect applies. The difference is, rather than being extracted, instant coffee basically melts. well, dissolves, actually,. The smaller the individual "crystal", the faster and easier that takes place in something like whipped cream or panna cotta. yeah, it was annoying when they started with the freeze dried coffee because i used to use it for cream and stuff like that. though they say the flavor is better preserved in freeze dried. What i do now is dissolve it in a tiny bit of hot water.
American coffee is only ground bigger because it's done in coffeemakers that have larger holes because otherwise it would pass through.
You've got me confused with that one, Siduri. The only coffeemakers with holes that I'm aware of are percolators. Not that many people use them, anymore. I'd guess that 90% or more of American coffee is made in a drip machine with a filter, maybe 80% of the rest in a French press, and the balance in a coffee machine. I'm talking home-brewed. But the figures would probably be similar for commercial coffee, because, for every coffee-bar type place using a machine, there are a couple of dozen restaurants still using drip coffeemakers. true, i came here when everyone had a percolator, and my mother had an old guardian brand drip cast aluminum coffee pot which had a metal filter with holes. but yes, in fact, i believe it's more become a tradition to use the coarser grind in the states, not so much because it's needed with filter coffee. The french press needs it, yes. though i also have used finely ground coffee there, and just am careful pressing it down, lifting it a bit along the way, and repressing.
Everthing else being equal, the way flavor is inhanced in a drip system is to either grind the coffee smaller or slow down the water flow. In either case, the steeping time is, in practical terms, extended. In a French press, on the other hand, size of grind is important because too small a grind can clog the filter screen. So you control flavor by the quantity of coffee used, and how long you let it steep.
I actually prefer (don't pelt me with burnt coffeebeans!) american coffee.
I think you mean you prefer the American coffee culture over the Italian coffee culture. That is, not the brew, per se, but the social conventions surrounding it. Or am I misreading you? It'
s definitely both. I like the flavor of american coffee. I don't like the burnt taste as much. When i first came here, in the early 70s, americans were all using instant, and those who brewed coffee often had crappy coffee, the new trendy coffee culture was not very big yet, and the old one was dying . There was a place you may remember in cambridge in the Garage, which was one of the first specialized coffee places. You could choose the source of the bean, the grind, the roast. But generally since few people had the many coffees offered, they were usually lousy because they were sitting around so long! And at home they had instant so they didn;t notice. Anyway, back then, coming from bad american coffee most places, i really preferred the italian. It seemed less acidic. But that was just because i was getting a good arabica here, and they were using inferior blends back there. Now i actually prefer the taste of the american coffee, when it's good of course. (Let's not talk about starbucks with it's extra added shots of espresso that burns out my synapses and taste buds). But consider i like to drink large quantities of it, and use a lot of milk. I would have to have five cappuccini (as they;re made here, with 1/3 cup liquid in the end, if you don;t count the foam) to satisfy me, and that would be way too much coffee and milk. But the flavor is different, and i like that lighter roast flavor also in ice cream, buttercream, etc.
I love american coffee ice cream over italian, because i like the american coffee flavor. It's imprinting i guess. And because it lasts, either in a social situation or as i gradually wake up with my coffee cup next to my computer, as now. So i'd say it's definitely both the cultural context and the flavor.
However, I was under the impression that the instant powders were actually dried or freeze-dried espresso or brewed coffee. Am I mistaken?
Pete, that was pretty much my understanding as well. Which means the very idea of "instant espresso" is kind of a shuck well, not really, it's liquid espresso that's been freeze dried. It's made with the darker grind, and it does have a different flavor. You don;t probably find the italian brands of instant coffee there, (medaglie doro is one of the worst coffees) so you may not notice the difference. It doesn;t taste like espresso, any more than instant american coffee tastes like american brewed coffee, but it begins with that. . I guarantee, used in something like whipped cream or panna cotta, there would be no discernable difference in taste between the two. I can discern it. But you'd have to get the actual different instant coffees You'd just get a generalized coffee flavor infusing the cream. I actually started a thread asking how to make a coffee syrup with real coffee to flavor cream and buttercream etc. because i think i can taste the difference with the instant coffee. anyone know?