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Coffee extraction kinetics in a well mixed system

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Kevin Moroney
  • William Lee
  • Stephen O'Brien
  • Freek Suijver
  • Johan Marra
The extraction of coffee solubles from roasted and ground coffee is a complex operation, the understanding of which is key to the brewing of high quality coffee. This complexity stems from the fact that brewing of coffee is achieved through a wide variety of techniques each of which depends on a large number of process variables. In this paper, we consider a recent, experimentally validated model of coffee extraction, which describes extraction from a coffee bed using a double porosity model. The model incorporates dissolution and transport of coffee in the coffee bed. The model was shown to accurately describe extraction of coffee solubles from grains in two situations: extraction from a dilute suspension of coffee grains and extraction from a packed coffee bed. The full model equations can only be solved numerically. In this work we consider asymptotic solutions, based on the dominant mechanisms, in the case of coffee extraction from a dilute suspension of coffee grains. Extraction in this well mixed system, can be described by a set of ordinary differential equations. This allows analysis of the extraction kinetics from the coffee grains independent of transport processes associated with flow through packed coffee beds. Coffee extraction for an individual grain is controlled by two processes: a rapid dissolution of coffee from the grain surfaces in conjunction with a much slower diffusion of coffee through the tortuous intragranular pore network to the grain surfaces. Utilising a small parameter resulting from the ratio of these two timescales, we construct asymptotic solutions using the method of matched asymptotic expansions. The asymptotic solutions are compared with numerical solutions and data from coffee extraction experiments. The asymptotic solutions depend on a small number of dimensionless parameters, so the solutions facilitate quick investigation of the influence of various process parameters on the coffee extraction curves.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Mathematics in Industry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2016


  • coffee

    Rights statement: The final published version of this article can also be found at DOI: 10.1186/s13362-016-0024-6. © Moroney et al. 2016

    Final published version, 1.4 MB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY

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