Why is coffee extraction so important?
“To Extract” means “remove or take out, especially by effort or force.
The extraction of the coffee is at the core of any brewing or coffee-making process. When water passes through the coffee, it extracts some of the compounds and flavours and leaves some behind. It is the surprising complexity of this process that gives us so much of an intrigue as well as frustration when making coffee.
Sharper, acidic, fruity flavours tend to come out first, followed by the deep, heavier ones, and lastly, the woody, bitter notes. A well-extracted cup of coffee has a balance of these. This extraction depends on several factors including water flow rate, water pressure, temperature, coffee grain size and distribution, water quality, and uniformity of extraction, amongst others.
The optimal extraction that often gets cited is 20%, meaning that 20% of the coffee is taken by the water and the rest is chucked into the compost heap. The extraction levels of instant coffee is around 60%, making the instant coffee process the most efficient preparation method, just not necessarily the most desirable one.
Nothing can beat a delicious Moving Beans espresso morning coffee :).