Here’s the scoop on coffee’s flavor: the taste comes from compounds locked into roasted coffee beans. Add hot water, and those flavors escape into your pot—but not all flavors come out at the same time, says Harold McGee, food science writer and author of On Food and Cooking. For example, sour flavors, acids, come first and the plant carbohydrates responsible for coffee’s body come later. Taste for yourself with this counter-top chemistry experiment.
video by Jenny Woodward; co-produced by Flora Lichtman