The Key to Flavorful Coffee? Scientists Say Cool Beans

[Science ]


(P1) Many of us, as Gizmodo points out, store our coffee beans in the fridge or freezer to keep them fresh. Now scientists say that may actually be giving us more flavorful cups of coffee, to boot, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. Researchers at the University of Bath tried grinding coffee beans kept at various temperatures, from room temperature to -320 degrees Fahrenheit. They found the colder the beans prior to grinding, the bolder the flavor of the resulting coffee, reports. “Grinding coffee may seem quite straightforward,” the co-owner of a coffee shop involved in the study says. “But like the whole world of coffee, the subtleties of the process have a huge impact on the flavor and quality of the cup of coffee.”

(P2) The reason? Chilling the beans allows for “finer and more uniform” particles in grinding, allowing for more flavor compounds to be extracted during brewing. “Subtle changes in particle size distributions make a huge difference in the rate of extraction,” quotes researcher Dr. Christopher Hendron as saying. Ergo, cold beans take less time to brew and can create more coffee. “We anticipate these results will influence the production of coffee industrially, as well as contribute to how we store and use coffee daily,” the study says. Boing Boing reports chilling beans will make a bigger difference in flavor with more “grind-sensitive” methods of brewing, such as espresso, as opposed to drip coffee. (Coffee may not cause cancer after all … unless it’s served above 149 degrees.)

WORDS: 252


VOCABULARY: fridge, grinding, bolder, straightforward, subtleties, compounds, extracted


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you like to drink coffee or tea? Why?
  3. Why do you think people like cold coffee?
  4. Why do you think so many people like to drink coffee in the morning?


  1. A lot of coffee drinkers put their coffee in a storage cabinet. (T or F)
  2. Which college are the researchers from?
  3. According to the article, what does keeping the coffee beans cold provide?
  4. Boing Boing states cold beans will not help to produce a better taste. (T or F)


What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Points out (P1)
  • to boot (P1)
  • Room temperature (P1)
  • Drip coffee (P2)

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Image source: By Szymon Apanowicz

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