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August 9, 2013

ScienceShot: A Shot of Coffee That Gets You Drunk

Now you can get a new kind of buzz from coffee. Researchers have found a way to turn used coffee grounds into an alcoholic beverage. In recent years, the industry of distilled spirits has put out a call for new beverages with different flavors created from unusual raw materials. To answer this call, some scientists examined the potential of used coffee grounds. The scientists first collected this raw material from a Portuguese coffee roasting company and dried it. Then they heated the powder in water at 163°C for 45 minutes, separated out the liquid, and added sugar. Next, the team mixed in yeast cells, let the concoction ferment, and concentrated the sample to get a higher alcohol content. (A similar process is used to produce other distilled beverages such as whiskey and rum from wheat and molasses.) And voilà! Used coffee grounds produced a new alcoholic beverage with 40% ethanol, comparable to other hard liquor such as vodka and tequila, researchers will report in the September issue of LWT – Food Science and Technology. To evaluate the product, eight trained taste testers were brought in and rated the intensity of different smells and flavors in the alcohol. The judges described the drink as smelling like coffee and tasting bitter and pungent. Researchers noted that the taste could be improved with age and concluded that the quality was good enough for consumption. Don’t count on the caffeine to keep you awake, however; most of it disappears in the brewing process.

Source: news.sciencemag.org, Nisha Giridharan, 2013-08-02

 





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