Scones & Coffee

This week in Kitchen Chemistry, an Open Courseware program offered through MIT, we looked at Scones and Coffee. There was so much to learn and experiment with, we will give the highlights to try and keep it on the short side.

First, there was coffee.

We learned about 2 types of coffee seeds that come from the coffee bean (actually a berry, Arabica and Robusta), different stages of roasting and of course, the incredible effects of caffeine on the brain and central nervous system. We discussed addiction and what the symptoms of withdrawal are. We also learned about how coffee is decaffineated. That, if you aren’t aware, is something to look into – methyl chloride (also used in paint stripper and other industrial processes is used unless it is Swiss coffee – yikes).

Thre is an enourmous amount of waste that comes out of coffee harvest. A company named CoffeeFlour has found a way to change it for the better. Amazing!!

We took a field trip to our local coffee house and a super cool barista helped the girls grind some expresso beans for our experiment. Once ground, we headed to our lab to see what we would see. The smaller the grind, the more fragrant, and more robust cofee, although once it was drinkable coffee, the least fragrant.

Four grinds, 150ml of water and 1/2 tbsp of each and check out what happened.

4 grinds from very fine to coarse…


Steeped, strained, and ready for analysis.


Next up: Scones!

In this part of Kitchen Chemistry, we learned about how vinegar curdles milk… the vinegar attaches to the protein strands, causing it to coagulate and make curds, called casein.Long before plastics this was used to make belt buckles, knives, you name it. Once it is dry it is STRONG! Check out this video.


The final recipe wasn’t our favorite once it was done, so I will skip posting it. They looked nice, but were a little more bread-like than scone-ish. We will try an new recipe and see if it works better!

Thanks for joining us for this week’s Kitchen Chemistry. Next time, jams and jellies take the stage. Stay tuned!


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