Friday, May 3, 2013

Coffee Research - How the K-Cup is Changing Things Up

Coffee in the workplace is a very contentious issue.  I say this based off my vast experience of workplaces and coffee drinkers.  Riiiight.

When I started, there were two types of coffee drinkers, the people who liked it dark and strong and the people who liked it weak and light.  All we were drinking was stale Folgers in a plastic jub from Sam's Club.  It was a testy subject.

To solve the problem, work obtained for us a Keurig machine and a steady supply of K-Cups.  It was a definite moral booster and a great idea.  I hate the Keurig machine coffee now, but I still wouldn't go back.  There is no more silent agression over washing vs not washing the pot, changing vs. not changing the grounds, or questions over who did or did not brew the last pot.  Also do not have two pots plugged in, one for caffiene and one for decaf.

The coffee "snobs" and caffiene lovers order for themselves the Dark Roast coffees, with names like Dark Magic and such.  The non-caffiene lovers order themselves a light roast coffee. 

I drank the dark stuff for a year or more.  Then when I got preggers I switched to the light because I thought it was less acidic.  I've been drinking that stuff for the last 4-5 months and it's been kind of bleh.  This week I switched back to dark just to see, and man there is a difference!

First off, the dark is actually not as acidic.  It has a fuller more tasty flavor.  It is over all better.  Except one thing.

One little thing.

I had a hard time finishing a whole cup of the light roast coffee.  I chug the dark stuff in maybe one or 2 hours instead of 3 or 4.  Then when I'm finished with the Dark Roast...

I CRAVE MORE.  I need it.

This can only mean one thing.  There is a shit ton more caffeine in the light roast than the dark roast. 

(Side note:  I, of course, force myself to wait until 2:00pm or later for my second cup.)

This prompted me to do some research.  Simple research.  What I discovered (Links at end) is that some people say that Dark Roast has less caffiene due to it burning off in the roasting processes.  Other links say that it's not the roasting process that burns off the caffiene, but the volume ratio.  So, if you were to weigh your coffees, 6 grams of light vs. 6 grams of dark, they would have relatively the same caffeine.  Yes.  But the pile of 6 grams of light would be smaller than the pile of 6 grams of dark, due to the difference in density (volume difference) in the roasted beans. The dark has dried out a lot more and is "fluffier" if you will. 

What does this mean?  Well, when scooping out coffee for a drip machine, the more you scooped out the stronger the coffee would be and the darker in color. Regardless of light vs dark roast.  What is the K-Cup measured off of?  Volume or weight?  I don't know, and my initial searches did not answer my question.  I also do not cary with me a scale or own one that would work.

But lets pretend that it's off volume, not weight. That means that the lighter roasts actually have MORE caffiene than the dark roasts, because more grounds fit in a k-cup.  Think of density and such.

Another factor:  Does the amount of water you run through your k-cup affect the caffiene levels?  If you make a small cup with 4 oz of water vs. a large 8 oz. cup of coffee, of course one is going to be watered down more, but is there less caffeine in the smaller cup?  My initial guess is that I think so due to the fact that the more time water spends in contact with the grounds, the stronger it will be.  That's why french presses kick ass.

Then, to confuse it all, the Keurig website says that the Extra Bold coffees have 20% more caffeine.  Can you get an Extra Bold Light Roast?  I don't know.  I also don't know how they get the extra caffeine there.

Or how to properly spell caffiene.  I dont' know that either.

In conclusion, I'm going to keep this all to myself and pretend I'm right and secretly laugh at all my coworkers when they get all coffee snobish or offended by the lack or inclusion of dark roast coffee.  They be all wrong up in here.  I'm also switching back to interesting side note is that the dark coffee is actually easier on the stomach.