Results of the Gold Cup Research, June 2013

The Gold Cup Research is part of the Gold Cup Programme launched by the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE). The goal of this programme is to improve the standard of filter coffee consumed in the marketplace, that’s why in 2010 the SCAE embarked on a study to determine the

European Extraction Preferences in Brewed Coffee

The last published data of this kind was in 1960’s by the Coffee Brewing Centre in the USA and it indicated ideal coffee extraction is when between 18% and 22%  of ground coffee is dissolved in hot water. This specification was adopted by many coffee associations and remained the same for more than 50 years. Now thanks to the carried out research by the SCAE we can see how accurate is the old specification nowadays.

The experiment itself was conducted in four European cities – Dublin, Maastricht, Cologne and Milan with 641 people involved. Each one of the participants was given to blindly taste five samples of coffee, each having a different extraction yield – 16%, 18%, 20%, 22% and 24%. The consistency of the taste for each tasting session was ensured by the use of freshly ground coffee – washed single origin Arabica – and an automatic batch coffee brewer. There were also many other regulations concerning the water, the grinders and the brewers which were providing constant delivery at each tasting session.

The combined results confirmed as remaining valid the study published by the Coffee Brewing Centre more than 50 years ago – 62% of all participants liked extraction ranges 18-22%. However the bell curve around this range is not as tight as expected, many of the partakers selected as most liked an extraction rate out of this bounds. The fact is that preferences don’t start and stop at 18% and 22%, but rather meet the majority of preferences within this range.

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