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Data was recently collected that investigated how coffee brewing parameters affect consumer acceptance of black coffee. In this experiment, 118 black coffee consumers were recruited to taste 27 different coffees over the course of three weekends and rate how much they liked/disliked each coffee using a 9-point hedonic scale. In addition, the consumers were given the opportunity to rate how they felt about the flavor intensity, acidity and mouthfeel of the coffee; and describe the taste/flavor of the coffee using a check-all-that-apply list of descriptive terms.

The data suggests that, of the three brewing parameters investigated (percent total dissolved solids (TDS), percent solute extraction from grounds (PE), brewing water temperature), consumer preferences are mostly based on TDS, which roughly translate to the flavor intensity or “strength” of the coffee.

3 consumer preference clusters were made, grouping the 118 consumers into similar patterns of liking and disliking. This data suggests that the majority of the consumers in the study preferred weak coffee over strong, while one cluster preferred strong coffee over weak. This study also concluded that PE, which roughly dictates the sour/bitter balance of the coffee, only had a significant impact on the liking of one consumer cluster. Finally, the brew water temperature had no significant impact on liking for any of the consumer clusters. These conclusions are corroborated by a study that was run concurrently that served the same set of coffees to a panel of expert tasters.

Presented By:
Andrew Cotter
Graduate Student Researcher, University of California, Davis
Fri, May 1, 2020 · 3:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada) (GMT -4:00)
Andrew Cotter
Graduate Student Researcher
Andrew is a Master's Student in the Food Science & Technology program at UC Davis. Prior to joining UC Davis, he obtained his B.S. degree in food science from Penn State University. His primary focus is in using sensory and consumer science methodologies to study different aspects of coffee. He has led projects investigating how freezing impacts aroma loss in roasted coffee beans and the role that total dissolved solids and extraction percentage play in consumer preferences for black coffee.