There are many technical ways to improve the taste of coffee, one of the world’s most valuable products. However, researchers from the University of Bath claim that the secret to great coffee taste is as simple as freezing the coffee beans before grinding.

It turns out that chilling the coffee beans make the particles finer and more uniform when grinding. This results in better flavor compounds extraction, thus, making the coffee taste better.

The university scientists collaborated with the coffee shop Colonna & Smalls in Bath, UK. Chilling the roasted beans improved the taste whether these were grinded at room temperature or -196°C.

coffee beans

Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood (L) and Dr. Christopher Hendon (R) at the Colonna & Smalls coffee shop in Bath. Credit: University of Bath

“It will alter the taste because subtle changes in particle size distributions make a huge difference in the rate of extraction,” says University of Bath’s Christopher Hendon, a chemistry Ph.D. student. “I wouldn’t be surprised if people struggled to achieve balanced extractions.”

The study published in the journal  Scientific Reports could greatly impact the global coffee industry, possibly improving the economy. It can also benefit individuals who simply want to brew a flavorful cup of coffee.

“It could have a major impact on the industry,” adds Hendon. “People are trying to produce a very high-quality drink with really quite powerful tools and are willing to try new things.”

According to Colonna & Smalls co-owner Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, the findings can also increase the efficiency in making coffee. Now, there is no need to invent complicated techniques that can put a dent in one’s pocket just to achieve the best quality coffee.

“All of this will impact on how we prepare coffee in the industry, I bet we will see the impact of this paper in coffee competitions around the globe, but also in the research and development of new grinding technology for the marketplace,” says Colonna-Dashwood.

The study was released in preparation for the World Barista Championships. The competition will be held from June 22 to 25 in Dublin.