We recently guided you through the ins and outs of coffee brewing via the Lifehacker Morning School. If words like “body” and “acid” and “aroma” still confuse you, this simple experiment will help demystify them.
The video above explains how it works in detail, but you essentially lay out five cups, then brew your coffee in each one for about 30 seconds. As you move down to each cup, you’ll get a consecutively “weaker” brew, but different components of the coffee’s flavour profile will be left behind in each cup. For example, the first cup will have the “acid,” or the part of the coffee that gives it that punch that you feel wakes you up. Then as you move on, you’ll move from acid to the sourness or earthiness of the coffee, then you’ll get aroma. Finally, the weakest cups won’t have much taste, but will still offer a kind of presence on your tongue: that’s the “body.”
This experiment comes from Harold McGee, author of the definitive tome on food science, On Food and Cooking (whose tips we’ve seen here before). It certainly isn’t the best cup of coffee you’ll ever have, but if the language of coffee-tasting leaves you confused, this is a quick way to get first-hand knowledge with your favourite brew.