Grinding coffee, a coffee engineering class, and Nordic roasters

My recent posts have mostly been only lightly related to coffee, so it’s time to share some coffee tips and info that’s been out there. There are lots of links in this post, maybe fun if you feel like going down a coffee rathole for a while. By the way, I don’t have any financial incentives for what I write here or links I provide, other than keeping our coffee website active and maybe entertaining, distracting, and/or educating you. I think it has been very cold in many places in the U.S., so maybe reading things on the internet about an everyday hot beverage could be a nice distraction.

People have occasionally asked me my opinion of what I think matters most when brewing coffee. I think it’s freshly grinding the coffee, whether it’s our coffee or others’ beans. Those inexpensive “grinders” are often choppers that chop the beans to random sizes. Hold it longer, it chops more. I’m a fan of burr grinders which will give you consistent particle sizes. Burr grinders cost more. If it doesn’t make a difference to you, don’t bother. If you have a chopper/pulverizer, see if you can borrow a friend’s burr grinder. You can brew two cups of coffee and compare. If you don’t have a burr grinder you can borrow and test out, you can buy an inexpensive hand burr grinder and do the same experiment. If you think it’s worthwhile, maybe you’ll eventually upgrade to an electric burr grinder, and you can use your hand grinder when you travel or go camping. Here’s an article that compares hand grinders. I can’t vouch for the ones they tested or the tester. Just consider it a starting point for your own research. This article is from 2020, but is still interesting, “How Have Hand Grinders Evolved?”

On the subject of grinding, in December there was a little buzz about spritzing roasted coffee with a little water prior to grinding. It’s supposed to reduce the static during grinding. This is the more science-y article and this is the Perfect Daily Grind easier-reading version. If you want to geek out on the topic of static in grinding, read this.

This article talks about a class offered at University of California Davis, The Design of Coffee: An Introduction to Chemical Engineering. That class sounds fun to me. An excerpt about why it’s a relevant class now: “Coffee plays a huge role in culture, diet and the U.S. and global economy. But historically, relatively little academic work has focused on coffee. There are entire academic programs on wine and beer at many major universities, but almost none on coffee.” (I didn’t realize there are entire academic programs on wine and beer.)

Lastly, I’ll share two articles I find interesting because of Norwegian Hubby. In 2019 on our first full day in Oslo, my husband’s brother took us on a crazy urban bike ride to try coffee at Tim Wendelboe’s cafe in the trendy Grünerløkka neighborhood. Wendelboe is quoted extensively in this article from February last year, “Are Nordic specialty coffee roasters still as innovative as they once were?” If you’re into the “right” glass, e.g., Riedel, for drinking certain wines or similar for different beer styles, you might be interested in Wendelboe’s inspired coffee cups.

2 thoughts on “Grinding coffee, a coffee engineering class, and Nordic roasters

  1. Hi Sharlene. Thanks for the interesting read! Iʻm curious: do you do your own roasting, and if so how? I imagine a Probat in a wonderfully scented shed. Or is there a roasting device shared within a local collective?

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