In the Bean: Investigating Tannins and Their Role in Your Coffee Cup

In the Bean: Investigating Tannins and Their Role in Your Coffee Cup

Coffee is one of the most beloved beverages in the world. From the first sip in the morning to the last cup of the day, coffee is a staple for millions of people. But have you ever wondered what gives coffee its unique taste and aroma? One of the key components is tannins.

Tannins are a type of organic compound found in many plants, and certain bacteria, including coffee beans. They are the main compounds responsible for the astringent, bitter taste that you might notice in your coffee. While some people might find this taste unpleasant, others appreciate the complexity that tannins bring to their cup of joe. In this article, we will investigate tannins and their role in your coffee cup and why train to be a barista.

Whether you’re a coffee lover or a barista in training, understanding tannins is essential to making a great cup of coffee. Accredited barista training programs in Brisbane and a coffee-making course in Adelaide often cover the topic of tannins in depth. By learning about tannins, you can better understand how to balance the flavours in your coffee and create a delicious and satisfying brew. So, let’s dive into the world of tannins and explore their impact on your coffee experience.

What Are Tannins?

Tannins are a group of organic compounds known as polyphenols. They are found in various plant foods and drinks such as tea, wine, green tea and coffee, and are responsible for the astringent taste that you may experience when drinking these beverages.

Tannins are chemical compounds that bind to proteins, which is why they are proteins and are typically referred to as tannin protein complexes. They are commonly found in condensed tannins, where proteins which are large molecules made up of many tannins bind smaller units called flavan-3-ols.

The most well-known tannin is tannic acid, which is found in oak bark, tree bark and other plant materials. However, coffee contains other naturally occurring tannins, such as chlorogenic acid and dichlorogenic acid. These compounds contribute to the overall taste and aroma of roasted coffee itself.

Tannins are also used in various industries besides other foods, such as the production of leather. Tannins are used to tan animal skins, which turns them into leather. This process involves the use of thin layers of tannins to cross-link the collagen fibres in the skin, which makes it more durable and resistant to decay.

A cup of coffee resting on a black background, exuding warmth and inviting aroma.

Are there Tannins in Coffee and Tea?

Tannins in Coffee

Tannins are a type of chemical compound found in various plants, including tea and coffee. They are responsible for the astringent taste that you may experience when you drink these beverages. In coffee, tannins are found in both roasted and whole green coffee beans. However, the amount of tannins in brewed coffee is about half the amount found in tea.

The level of tannins in coffee can vary depending on the roast level and brewing method. Roasting degrades tannins, and darker roasts tend to have fewer tannins than lighter roasts. Also, the flavor profile chemical level and amount of tannins extracted during brewing can be affected by factors such as grind size, extraction time and over-extraction.

Tannins and Health

There is evidence to suggest that tannins may have potential health benefits. For example, evidence shows they may help with iron absorption in the human body and support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of tannins on health.

Brewing and Tannins

The amount of tannins present in your coffee cup can be influenced by the brewing method you use. For example, fermenting coffee can help prevent the formation of a coffee precipitate, which is a thin layer of coffee oils and tannins that can form on the surface of your coffee. Certain brewing methods, such as the French press, can also extract more tannins than others.

It’s worth noting that tannins are not the only compounds found in tea and coffee that contribute to their flavour profile. Other molecules, such as caffeine and other compounds, also play a role in the taste of these drinks.

Three types of coffee on a white table in glass cups with varying amounts of milk.

Barista Training and Tannins

Barista training plays a significant role in understanding the role of the tannins found in coffee. Accredited barista training programs provide comprehensive knowledge about coffee and its constituents, including tannins.

Brisbane barista training courses offer hands-on experience with coffee-making equipment, which helps baristas understand how different brewing methods can affect the amount of tannins in the coffee. Similarly, a coffee-making course in Adelaide can provide baristas with the necessary skills to prepare coffee with optimal tannin content levels.

Tannins can be beneficial or detrimental to the taste of coffee, depending on their concentration. Therefore, baristas need to understand the impact of tannins on coffee flavour and how to adjust brewing techniques to achieve the desired taste.

Also, barista training can teach how to identify the signs of tannin content over-extraction, which can lead to excessive tannin levels in coffee. By adjusting the brewing parameters, baristas can prevent the extraction of unwanted tannins and ensure a balanced taste.

Final Thoughts

Tannins are a group of organic compounds found in various plant foods, including coffee. They are responsible for the astringent taste in certain foods and coffee beans and are used in various industries, such as leather production.

Tannins are an important part of the flavour profile of tea and coffee. While they may have potential health benefits, more research is needed to fully understand their effects on the human body. The amount of tannins in your coffee cup or tea leaves can vary depending on factors such as roast level and brewing method.

Barista training is crucial for understanding the role of tannins in coffee and how to prepare a perfect cup. By attending accredited training programs, baristas can acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to both drink coffee and provide a high-quality coffee experience for their customers.