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Coffee chromatography

Make it properly.
  [vote for,

Coffee beans are apparently an interesting mixture of desirable and unpleasant chemicals. There are many ways of making coffee, presumably sequentially developed because of the failings of previous methods.

Therefore I propose a new method to do it right: Purify all the desirable aromatics individually, then recombine in the ideal proportions to optimise taste.

Coffee beans are preprocessed as normal, then a large batch is brewed in an airtight vat with water and other solvents.
The mixture is then filtered or centrifuged to remove solids, and the supernatant loaded onto a preparatory column. This is a densely packed tube of a finely-divided solid material, to which chemicals bind with different strengths.
Using a carefully optimised protocol involving high pressure and a varying mix of two solvents, the chemicals are forced to migrate through the column at different rates so they elute at different times.
The required fractions are collected and the carrier solvents removed. The pure chemicals may then be combined in optimal ratios to produce a concentrate. This may be diluted with hot water and adulterated to taste with sugar and milk, to create the perfect cup of coffee.

Loris, Mar 19 2013

Inspired by the discussion on: Sucky_20Coffee_20Best_20Bar_20None
Sucky Coffee Best Bar None [Loris, Mar 19 2013]


       Does it eventually produce a beverage which is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike coffee?
nineteenthly, Mar 19 2013

       But just as a small amount of foul civet smegma or whale vomit improves the perfume, one might need to add judicious amounts of the wrong to perfect the right.
bungston, Mar 19 2013

       I do of course assume a prior set of experiments where the various constituents are recombined in varying proportions, to range in on the optimum amount of each.
Loris, Mar 19 2013

       mmm... I think the column is a bit of overkill. Once you've decided which components to remove just do that: no need to parse out the entire batch.
FlyingToaster, Mar 19 2013

       //Once you've decided which components to remove just do that//   

       How would you go about that?
Loris, Mar 19 2013

       I meant in production: naturally you'd need to figure out what you want to keep and toss first. You might be interested in ion chromatography: it does just that, albeit the separation is rather simplistic based on molecule size.
FlyingToaster, Mar 19 2013

       //You might be interested in ion chromatography: it does just that, albeit the separation is rather simplistic based on molecule size.//   

       Um... that's kind of what I'm proposing to use. Well, similar. In all forms of chromatography you need a stationary phase. If you're doing it at any scale that means a column.
Loris, Mar 19 2013

       Chromatography is so passé.   

       We at Maxwell Mansion use only the finest mass spec to exquisitely resolve all 1,412 small molecule compounds in roasted coffee beans.   

       With the recent acquisition of a further 95 mass specs, we are strongly optimistic that the first espresso will be ready within the current financial year.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 19 2013

       I think your objections are entirely unreasonable.   

       // As others have pointed out, there are hundreds of compounds that go into the flavor profile of coffee//   

       Um, right. That's my starting assumption, as I think the first line of the idea body-text indicates.   

       //what tastes right to one person may seem undrinkable to the next.//   

       This system would be a boon to those with eclectic tastes. Potentially, with precisely specified ingredients (at the coffee shop), and/or the sale of individual purified flavours (for connoisseur home use), everyone would be able to get a drink exactly right for them.   

       //re-invest in magic beans//
Loris, Mar 20 2013

       //[Loris] This was where I was heading with my other idea [link].//   

       It was? I must confess that I made neither head nor tail of that, although I did see it in my preliminary bakage screen. However, from the idea title and your comment there:   

       //This idea was spawned from the ideal of fractional distillation of coffee...//   

       I inferred that it involved fractional distillation rather than chromatography. My concern with that would be denaturing or other undesirable reactions occuring during to the extended heating process.
However, the desired end-point is the same I suppose.
Loris, Mar 20 2013


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