Making Finely Ground Coffee, Almost Instant

Having tried instant coffee with finely ground roasted coffee beans prompted me to experiment with my very own.

For the testing, all I have was this old stock grounds. Label may not be elegant but its taste was superb. Yes, especially when freshly roasted. I left it inside refrigerator for quite a while. Its flavor must be severely deteriorated by now. My goal was making instant coffee so flavor is just a second thing. I can get another bag easily in case I succeed.

I recalled, I can make finely ground sugar from sugar crystal with our regular low cost blender. Perhaps it will work with roasted coffee too. I dumped it all inside. Then cycled between cranking the motor and manually mixing it with a spoon. Coffee tend to accumulate to sides preventing homogeneity. Extra manual intervention was needed. Then after half an hour, the grounds was finer than before but not enough for my purpose. Few more minutes and I decided to scrape the glass sides. Sticking powder seemed to have smaller particles than the rest.

I decided getting only one teaspoon. Placed it in mug and poured with freshly boiled water. Grounds floating on top was ugly evident. It quickly dissipated after few stir. However, the attempt to make instant coffee powder without visible specks failed horribly. Particles were sticking on cup sides and clearly seen when spoon was lifted. My tongue will surely feel it down to throat.

Next time, I may try measuring the volume of settled sediments. This way I can estimate the amount of fine grounds effectively suspended. On the other hand, I felt no particulates when I drank it. Smooth all the way down. The reason. I leave it 30 minutes before drinking.

The undissolved powder can be clearly seen on top. It dissipated though after few stir
Gritty particles can be clearly seen with the help of spoon. Also visible on cup sides.


Because I have no tools to make finely ground powder, my attempt to make instant from roasted coffee beans failed. My cocoa melanger can do it provided with enough time. Let us assume two days continuous running period. Almost the same length it is taking to make our chocolate products silky smooth. However, I cannot risk experimenting coffee with it. The stone is likely to absorb the strong coffee taste which will result mixture of coffee and chocolate flavor later on. It is not necessarily undesirable. It is not what I wanted with our earning product.

If the blender I used can be left for hours and can reliably spin the powder around in homogenous fashion. I will let it run for hours to achieved a nice result. Not, sadly. I can set up a ball mill later.

I can still test if what I did worked to some extent. That is by preparing it filter drip style. Fine powder will pass through the filter with ease while those with larger particles will be left behind.

Coffee grounds in filter before brewing process.
Coffee grounds in filter after brewing process. Reduction in quantity is visibly evident. I am trying to dry it out to get the weight before and after. I did get the “weight before” already.

There was a significant reduction in grounds quantity after the brewing process. See image. I originally planned on getting the weight of grounds before and after brewing, but the water retained in ground coffee got in my way. There was an additional drying work. Let us see if I can re-dry it successfully and weigh later. For the time being, the image served as good estimate.

The resulting brewed coffee was still grainy. Maybe I should use lesser grounds to water ratio the next time or instead use a good coffee filter paper. On the other hand, cocoa powder, can be prepared to a nice drink with a smooth mouthfeel. Unlike commercial instant coffee and juice, which are derived from liquid extraction and crystallization. Cocoa powder is a by-product of cocoa butter extraction process. It is a solid mass ground to a very small particle size. If it is possible with cocoa, then it must be doable with coffee.

I was successful in drying the grounds. The wait before brewing was 18 grams. The weight after brewing and drying was 15 grams. Three grams pass through the filter and successfully carried down to receptacle. That was 16 percent dissolved grounds.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Coffee and Bugs

If a bug drowns in your coffee, should you still drink it? This post from thewhirlygirl struck me. My quick answer is, certainly not. Not in my wildest dream. In desperate situation maybe. The natural course of actions is throw it away and get a replacement. Plus, cursing of the poor bug several times. We never considered that it never did anything wrong. Its the coffee that was in its way.

coffee and plastic drinking cup

How can anyone stomach it. The usual insect accidentally fall into our beloved coffee, tea or whatever it maybe is “housefly”. It is considered one of the dirtiest insect because of its tendency to alight to virtually anything. It is likely to carry a lot of microorganisms including E. coli. If it is a housefly, the outright choice is not. For other bugs, such as small beetle, we usually consider the removal and continue drinking. For large beetles, moth, butterfly and if so unlucky, cockroach. The action is discontinue.

Just a small side note. We usually don’t mind if insects land to our solid food. Driving them away repeatedly often suffice.

Let’s go back to my professor’s lesson. He said, we should be thankful if we found a live crawling worm in our freshly bought leafy vegetables. It signifies commodity safety. If the tiny creature lives in it then perhaps it is safe to eat. It was not sprayed with harmful chemicals during the growth period. I am not telling it is okay to throw a handful of bugs in your coffee. Instead, it is not as bad as we think.

Food buying decision is base on the following. Is it delicious? Is it healthy? Is it safe? Is it clean? Could it be stored longer? Well, if you highly prioritize cleanliness, think again. Food regulatory authorities never set zero tolerance on any contaminants.

For example, canned juice may contain up to 5 fly eggs per 250 ml. Cacao bean may have up to 4% mold count. Less than 10% insect and insect filth in coffee beans is fine and yet we immediately throw away the hot coffee with drowned fly. There are more of these thing at USFDA defect levels handbook. Our local regulatory has its own version. However, it is harder to find. And in case you do, there is no guarantee it is the latest.

To depth of my knowledge, cleanest production plants are semiconductor manufacturing. Strictly zero contaminants allowed. Products that are obviously not edible.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Instant, Finely Ground Brewed Coffee

I first thought it was ground coffee. As in green coffee beans roasted and ground. Not the usual commercial instant coffee which gone through brewing and crystallization process. Its elegant gold packaging was suggestive of the former. Gold is an expensive element and so any piece of jewelry made of it or has it is also expensive. Any object covered with gold inherits a premium look.

On the back label written “instant coffee finely ground roasted coffee”. I could not clearly see if the “instant coffee” is separated from the rest with a comma. Perhaps it is. It makes it two ingredient product with two same ingredients but passed through different process. Same coffee batch, divided, processed differently and mixed to certain ratio may result to a unique flavor. This time, their purpose was to add a natural brewed taste which is rather unique to instant coffee scene. I once said instant coffee taste was flat and boring. You too may say the same thing if you are a black coffee drinker.

On the other hand, it could be just one. Finely ground roasted coffee. Ground to fineness to point imperceptible to human tongue and remain suspended in plain hot water. In this case one heaping tablespoon per cup is not practical. It will be too strong and all the undesirable flavor will be into the cup. For enthusiasts, coffee preparation is a very delicate thing. Extreme care is taken to exclude unwanted flavor extraction. The product offset this problem by recommending only two grams ground per 100 ml hot water.

The product has hint of naturally brewed coffee. No visible signs of solid powder. Whatever the case maybe, solid is solid. It will settle to bottom after a while. Not unless they added minimal amount of finely ground.

Currently, preparing own brewed coffee is getting easier. There are cheap espresso machines out there. Espresso shots that can be done quickly with even cheaper machines. Filter drip brewer and table top grinders are even cheaper. Grinding can be done with regular blender or bullet type. There are growing numbers of small coffee processors. So fresh coffee grounds are accessible. Roasting coffee at home are become possible with small capacity roasters and diy setup. Huge companies have to do something with current trend.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Soaking Coffee Beans in Honey?

Honeyed Robusta? Interesting!

When it comes to commercial coffee production, Robusta is the king. I guess it is attributed to its huge fruiting capacity, ease of cultivation, pesticide resistance and wider choice of growing lands. Excelsa and Liberica have low fruiting capacity while Arabica is picky on its growing altitude. Arabica is well raised in mountain areas and is the choice of specialty coffee makers.

Coffee can be sweetened during cup preparation. As in adding sugar to boiling concoction or individual cup by drinkers preference. Instant coffee in sachets and bigger packs are often added with sweetener, milk and other flavorings before packing. Kind of fast and convenient but strips away most of the inherent flavor. Whatever, there must be fewer people who are very particular with the taste. Instant coffee is a boom business.

I saw the post on Coffee Roaster Forum, with short provided description. Based on my understanding, it was whole unmilled Robusta soaked in honey. Robusta usually undergo dry processing – harvesting then immediate sun drying. Soaking maybe done before drying or after, then re-drying. The latter is more labor intensive but may allow better absorption. Removing the husk first will surely save on precious sweet liquid.

So why add flavor before the coffee is sent to roasting chamber? The roasting temperature for sure will degrade and evaporate those. A method with more sense is spraying flavor right after roasting. When the freshly roasted coffee is in cooling stage. If vanilla flavor is sprayed, there is a good chance it will be carried over to cup. However, if coffee beans was soaked in vanilla solution, dried, then roasted. Do not expect a vanilla flavored coffee after. For light roasted coffee, maybe. I might do some testing once our own built drum roaster is in operation.

I also heard this trick with cacao beans. Adding fruit flavors such as calamansi and mango during fermentation process. In artisinal setting where makers roast their bean light. Flavors added during fermentation may survived roast. Even more chance for raw chocolate makers, beans never undergo roasting. Ohh! I remember. There is a thing called “green coffee”. I mean literally selling the ground green coffee. In this case, any infused flavor is surely retained to great extent.

Honey flavor may not be the real intention. Roasting is a complex process. One of this is sugar caramelization. Reinforcing the sugar content by soaking in honey may improve the end flavor a lot.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Making A Cold Brew Coffee

I am making a cold brew coffee for myself. I feel like drinking coffee today but the weather is hot. Smoking hot coffee intake might add to uneasiness. Way back in my laboratory work where the air conditioning is often broken. Our best friend were the staggering electric fan and cold drinks. Whenever we wanted coffee in the middle of daylight, we prepared coffee hot, let it cool and froze. We make it right after office arrival so we can enjoy it real ice cold when the heat wave attacked.

Today is different. I will be preparing the cold brew cold from the start. The coffee grounds I will be using came from refrigerator. We keep it there once opened. I put enough grounds in mason jar and filled it up with filtered water. There is no strict rule on the amount. Black coffee lovers may add more to their liking. Then put it inside fridge again to allow flavor extraction.

They recommend 18 to 24 hours steeping time. Placing the grounds in cheese cloth bag so you can just lift it off clean after. No filtering. Less work. I have no such at the moment. I mixed the grounds and water together and planned on filtering it off with coffee brewer fine filter. It is more work but the coffee filter is easier to clean than cheese cloth.

making cold brew coffee

For intricate preparation, all the details should be recorded and observed. Such as ground weight, refrigerator temperature, steeping time and coffee brand. All the coffee processing details in case you roast it on your own. I have watched several demonstrations of barista style coffee. They are very precise down to very small details. Not following but jotting down details has its own benefits. You’ll soon discover which combination of parameters makes the best cold brew.

Let us wait 24 hours!


The set 24 hours waiting time became almost 48. I was too busy yesterday that I lost track .  I hope it is still good to drink. I take it out of the fridge and notice almost all grounds are settled to bottom. They absorbed enough water, loose air and became more dense.  The few specs left on top are those clinging on glass sides.  It can be decanted carefully but I choose to use filter. I want all the dots out of my sight.  There can be no coffee without it but it running down the throat feels bad.

It is a cold morning coffee but it is fine. It is strong. It kicks. The bitterness kinda overpower the chills. There is bitterness not in my usual filter drip and espresso cups. The extra 24 hours did the work of over extracting,  getting also the unwanted.


Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.