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The reason many people sprinkle water on coffee before grinding

– TASTE THE ORIGIN –

For those who enjoy exploring and brewing coffee at home, it’s likely not unfamiliar to sprinkle water on coffee beans before grinding. This technique, simple and easy to execute, has been used for many years, gradually becoming popular and undergoing certain improvements. Why moisten coffee beans before grinding? Let’s find out with 43 Factory Coffee Roaster in the following article!

 

The technique of spraying water onto coffee before grinding

 

The Ross Droplet Technique, also known as water spritzing on coffee, is a method aimed at enhancing the extraction process, particularly in Espresso preparation. In this technique, a small amount of water is lightly sprayed onto the coffee beans before grinding. This method was pioneered by coffee expert David Ross in 2005. Initially, the technique was relatively simple; one would just wet a spoon handle (or similar tool) and then use it to stir the coffee beans, ensuring that the surface of the beans is evenly moistened. Nowadays, water spraying can also be done using a spray bottle to expedite the water-spritzing process.

 

The effectiveness of spraying water onto coffee

 

The effectiveness of water spritzing on coffee lies in creating a moist environment, reducing static during grinding, which can cause coffee grounds to fly around, sticking to the grinder chute, dosing cup, and even the barista’s hands, resulting in unhygienic conditions and discomfort. Static occurs due to an imbalance in the charge between the coffee beans and the grinder. Friction between the coffee beans and the grinder blades causes them to become charged and behave like magnets. By moistening the surface of the coffee beans, we improve the conductivity inside the grinder, allowing charges to dissipate, preventing coffee from sticking to surrounding objects around the bar.

The charge of coffee beans depends on the roast level and grind size. At lighter roast levels, the moisture content inside the coffee beans is >2%, so they carry a positive charge. Coffee beans roasted to a darker level are usually drier and thus carry a negative charge. Additionally, the finer the grind, the greater the charge on the coffee beans, making finer grounds more prone to sticking together.

 sprinkle water on coffee

Spraying water onto coffee beans can reduce static electricity during grinding

For professional baristas, static electricity is not a major concern because modern coffee grinders are equipped with anti-clumping features such as those from Victoria Arduino, Mazzer, Eureka, or even the HC600. However, for home brewing where there may not be many modern machines, spraying water onto coffee before grinding remains a feasible and easy solution.

 

How does static electricity affect the flavor of coffee?

 

Static electricity not only affects hygiene and perception but also impacts the extraction process. When static electricity occurs, small coffee grounds adhere to larger ones, forming small clusters (1-2mm) that act like individual coffee grounds. They reduce the surface area of the coffee in the water, causing uneven flow and decreasing extraction efficiency.

Furthermore, researchers have found that to achieve the greatest reduction in static electricity, we need to add an amount of water equivalent to 2% of the weight of the coffee – more than using a spray bottle, as many baristas do. Moreover, when moistening coffee beans before brewing espresso, the research team of Christopher H. Hendon found that the extraction time significantly slows down – up to 50% longer. Meanwhile, the extraction rate of dissolved solids in those shots increases by about 10%. The longer the extraction time, the more bitter the coffee becomes, overshadowing the fruity aroma and making the coffee lacking in depth and vibrancy.

If you enjoy exploring and experimenting, you can try the method of spraying water onto coffee beans before grinding and gradually adjusting the level after each brew to suit your preferences!

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