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Sweetness of coffee – The special appeal of high quality coffee


Sweetness is often considered an indispensable part when evaluating the quality of specialty coffee. Even though there is no need to add any sugar, many people who experience it still feel the sweetness and sophistication on the tip of their tongue. Why so? Let’s find out with 43 Factory Coffee Roaster!


Sweetness of coffee – Interesting sensory properties


Sweetness is one of the sensory characteristics of coffee flavor (such as sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and umami indicate delicious taste). But this sweetness is not the same sweetness as tasting sugar. It describes a moderate, delicious taste like some fruit or caramel that is mainly felt on the tip of the tongue or scent. Correctly understood, the sweetness in coffee is due to monosaccharides (simple sugars) including glucose, fructose, and glottose. These substances are available in coffee and are converted into disaccharides (double sugars) such as sucrose, glucose, galactose, or xylose, creating sweetness. Although it cannot match the sweetness of sugar, the inherent sweetness of some coffees can make the experience more enjoyable.

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What makes coffee taste sweetness?


As mentioned, sweetness is created by the content of simple and double sugars. So where do they come from?


Breed genetic characteristics


Green coffee beans contain up to 9% sucrose as well as many polysaccharides (sugars linked into long chains). However, only simple sugars and the shortest-chain polysaccharides taste sweet. Part of the amount of sugar in coffee depends on the characteristics of the plant variety. For example, the Arabica variety has almost twice as much sucrose as Robusta, and Bourbon has a sweeter taste than Catimor.

In addition, the riper the coffee berry, the higher the sugar content inside it. The fruit reaches maturity when the sweetness is at its highest concentration, making the coffee sweet and perfectly balanced. Therefore, harvesters must be well-trained and highly paid to accurately recognize when the coffee is ripe.

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Planting area


The geographical characteristics of the production site play an important role in the sugar content of the grain. Coffee is grown at high altitudes (from 1000 masl or more), the soil is fertile, and the beans can absorb simple molecules of carbohydrates (simple sugar units) to increase sweetness. In addition, if cared for carefully and with proper techniques, ripe coffee cherries will have high sugar content. Coffee grown entirely from organic sources, with good soil and appropriate humidity, will have a natural sweetness, more delicate than regular coffee.

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Preprocessing process


Depending on the processing method, coffee can develop flavor in different ways. If processed using natural methods (natural-dry processing), coffee can have a complex flavor with a rich sweetness. Because the seeds are dried in their shell for a long time. The sugar molecules in the fruit pulp will ferment and permeate the beans, making the coffee sweeter. In contrast, washed coffee beans have a higher acid concentration and a milder and cleaner taste. The reason is that before drying or drying, the coffee is stripped of its outer shell and mucous membrane. Therefore, the seeds only retain the existing sugar without absorbing more. In addition to the two common processing methods above, coffee can also be processed in a semi-wet or honey style. The method only removes the thin skin and uses the mucous membrane inside the coffee skin for natural fermentation. The amount of sugar in this membrane will penetrate the beans, giving the coffee a sweeter taste than dry-processed coffee but stronger than wet-processed coffee.

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Roasting process


After preliminary processing, the green coffee beans contain a lot of natural sugar inside. When exposed to high temperatures, a series of chemical reactions will take place and transform these single, free sugar radicals. In particular, when the temperature reaches 140-165°C, coffee undergoes the Maillard reaction chain. Sugar molecules and amino acids react with each other, creating melanoidins and a variety of scent complexes, especially the furanone group, which has a slightly sweet, almost caramel-like smell. After a few minutes, the roaster reaches 160°C, the sucrose turns into caramel, making the sweetness more obvious. When the temperature is approximately 200°C, the short chains of polysaccharides are decomposed during the early part of the roasting process into simple sugars. They will continue to enter the caramelization process to form fructose, arabinose, and glucose to enhance the richness and characteristics of natural fruits. However, if roasted for too long, the sugar in the coffee can burn, causing a bitter taste.

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If you want to feel the sweetness of coffee, choose extremely bright roasted specialty coffee beans from XLIII Coffee – A brand developed from 43 Factory Coffee Roaster.

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