Soy vs Dairy: "Will it Curdle?" Experiment

As many baristas have noticed, soy milk is often harder to work with than dairy milk – it tends to curdle more in coffee, especially when steaming hot. With some coffees it behaves well, with some it doesn’t. Why does this happen? Is there anything we can do about it? The answer, it turns out, boils down to acidity (pH) and temperature. Our step-by-step kitchen bench experiment explains why. And we’ll even describe a little trick to help make soy more curdle-resistant. Observ

Why Does Milk Curdle?

To understand why curdling happens, we need to learn a little about protein chemistry. (Or you can just skip ahead to the good stuff in our “Soy vs Dairy: Will it Curdle?” experiment.) First of all, it is the delicate protein structures that are to blame for the curdling effect. Proteins are long, folded up chains of amino acids, which are their basic building blocks. When we digest food, our stomach acids and enzymes break proteins down into amino acid blocks, to be built up

Chasing the Peak: A Dimensional Matter

Experience shows that espresso coffee really sings when you can extract high concentration of solubles over a relatively short time. Achieving this is all about increasing the contact surface between the coffee and water. This helps transfer soluble and emulsifiable materials into the brew. Chemically, the finer the particles, the quicker the extraction. However, there is also a physical/mechanical need for the water to flow through the ground coffee bed, which becomes diffic

Coffee Under the Microscope III

So far we have looked at coffee through optical microscopes, which has allowed us to appreciate grind size, shape and even helped to calculate grind size distribution. Electron microscopy is designed to take us to a real close-up with the material of interest. Electron Microscopy, Plant Cells & Porosity Instead of light beams, it uses electron beams to create an image which can reveal details down to the nanometer (nm) range. Just to appreciate how small a nanometer is, think

Coffee Under the Microscope II

Welcome to the second part of our mini-series on coffee microscopy! This time we look at two optical microscopes in the laboratory that both show coffee grinds in a different light. Plus, did you know that microscopy can be used to estimate grind particle distribution? It’s quite easy with a little help from Fiji, just read on! Introducing Olymus and Leica Both the Olympus and Leica brands manufacture a whole range of exciting microscope technology, but today we picked out a

Coffee Under the Microscope I

Microscope images of coffee are not only fascinating to look at, but also give us important information about coffee properties. I would like to introduce three microscopes that each give us a different new insight into what goes on inside the bean and the grinder. This time it’s all about a small, easy-to-use microscope that connects straight to your laptop. It’s not just great for playing around at home, but it's suitable for some real experimentation too! The Dino-Lite Han

Welcome to The Lab!

This is the beginning of a journey where objectivity matters, quality counts, and coffee professionals and all in the coffee community are invited to share their thoughts and opinions. We hope to provide you with valuable information to help you in your coffee quality endeavours! Coffee as Seen by a Scientist This blog is going to focus on a scientist’s views and adventures in the coffee world. We’ll look into many ways a scientific approach can help improve your coffee quali