January 9, 2014 by Beans Ahoy
So in the world of coffee there are generally three types of people. There are those that will drink anything brown, warm and contains caffeine. Secondly, there are those that consider themselves coffee connoisseurs but continue to buy over roasted robusta blended from six different farms (a little knowledge is a dangerous thing). Then there is the third group of people who actually know a substantial amount about coffee, can appreciate the differences in cupping and generally understand the coffee industry. Of course this third group is divided into knowledgeable amateurs and experts who earn a living from coffee.
But what if this third group just isn’t geeky enough. What happens if you suddenly wake up one morning a realise that being able to distinguish between 15 shade grown, high altitude arabica’s from the Boquete region just isn’t enough for you any more? What happens if you have read all 142 coffee books on your shelf and can recite them verbatim…backwards…in Latin? What do you do? Well fear not! I have the answer. You pick up a copy of Hertz-Schunemann, Dorfner, Yeretzian, Streibel and Zimmermann’s article conveniently titled:
“On-line process monitoring of coffee roasting by resonant laser ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry: bridging the gap from industrial batch roasting to flavour formation inside an individual coffee bean”
To be frank, I literally have no idea what they are on about, only that coffee appears to have now entered the realm of ultra-nerdiness. (Roast Magazine has more patience explaining the issue: http://dailycoffeenews.com/2014/01/08/tech-beat-advances-in-mass-spectronomy-and-coffee-roast-monitoring/) Whether this research will have any practical effect on the roasting of coffee awaits to be seen, but one thing is certain, when you are next at your favorite coffee shop don’t, what ever you do, ask for a Resonant laser ionised time-of-flight mass spectrometored espresso. Or at least if you do…film the cashiers face so that we may post it here and all enjoy the reaction.