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Coffee Chemistry: Not Your Average Joe


The judges of the World Barista Championship silently tasted the signature beverage we had created, and we waited nervously as they reduced all of our hard work to a single number. At this curious competition, the best baristas from each country prepare a variety of coffee drinks, including the formidable signature beverage: a unique concoction of espresso and any noncoffee ingredients except for alcohol. The alcohol prohibition ruled out our inspired pairing of a washed Ethiopian espresso featuring tannic, fruity, and tea-like flavors with a rotary evaporated bottle of 2014 Château du Santenay Pinot Noir (a lovely wine with flavors similar to the espresso). Instead of giving up, we prepared to meet the challenge by leveraging our backgrounds in chemistry.

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