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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1645

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1469
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON BEVERAGES

are less esteemed. The largest proportion of coffee consumed in England comes from Brazil, and is frequently sold under another name.

The Roasting of Coffee in the best manner requires great nicety, and much of the qualities of the beverage depends upon the operation. The roasting of coffee for the dealers in London and Paris has now become a separate branch of business, and some of the roasters perform the operation on a great scale, with considerable skill. Roasted coffee loses from 20 to 30 per cent. by sufficient roasting, and the powder suffers much by exposure to the air; but while raw, it not only does not lose its flavour for a year or two, but improves by keeping. If a cup of the best coffee be placed upon the table boiling hot, it will fill the room with its fragrance; but the coffee, when warmed again after being cold, will be found to have lost most of its flavour.

A considerable change takes place in the arrangement of the constituents of coffee by the application of heat in roasting it. Independently of one of the objects of roasting, namely, that of destroying its toughness and rendering it easily ground, its tannin and other principles are rendered partly soluble in water; and it is to the tannin that the brown colour of the decoction of coffee is owing. An aromatic flavour is likewise developed during the process of roasting, which is not perceived in the raw berry, and which is not produced in the greatest perfection until the heat has arrived at a certain degree of temperature; but if the heat be increased beyond this, the flavour is again dissipated, and little remains but a bitter and astringent in with carbon.

To have Coffee in Perfection it should be roasted and ground just before it is used, and more should not be ground at a time than is wanted for immediate use, or if it be necessary to grind more, it should be kept closed from the air. Coffee readily imbibes exhalations from other substances, and thus often acquires a bad flavour; brown sugar placed near it will communicate a disagreeable aroma. It is stated that the coffee in the West Indies has often been injured by being laid in rooms near the sugar works, or where rum is distilled; and the same effect has been produced by bringing over coffee in the same ships as rum and sugar. Dr. Moseley mentions that a few bags of pepper on board a ship from India spoiled a whole cargo of coffee.

With respect to the quantity of coffee used in making the decoction, much depends on the taste of the consumer. The greatest and most common fault in English coffee is the too small quantity of the ingredient. Count Rumford says that to make good coffee for drinking after dinner, a pound of good Mocha coffee, which, when roasted and ground, weighs only 13 oz., serves to make 56 full cups, or a little less than a quarter of an ounce to a coffee-cup of moderate size.

The use of chicory with coffee was originally a Dutch practice. The admixture was long kept a secret by the Dutch dealers, and only