n gastronomical terms, 2013 is shaping up to be the year of the Frankenfood.
First there was the Cronut. Then, the culinary monstrosity that is the ramen burger. And now, researchers have successfully blurred the lines between two of the world's most popular beverages. No, not green tea and milkshakes (although that probably wouldn't be that bad). Rather, researchers from the University of Minho in Portugal have successfully used coffee grounds to produce a potent new strain of alcohol.
Yes, booze made from coffee is finally here.
Nisha Giridharan at Science describes just how the magic happened:
The scientists first collected [some] raw material from a Portuguese coffee roasting company and dried it. Then they heated the powder in water at 163°C for 45 minutes, separated out the liquid, and added sugar. Next, the team mixed in yeast cells, let the concoction ferment, and concentrated the sample to get a higher alcohol content. [Science]
It's pretty potent, too: SCG — short for "a spirit from spent coffee," as io9 notes — has a 40 percent ethanol content, which puts it right up there with tequila. And the process actually isn't so dissimilar from how distillers create whiskey from wheat or rum from molasses.
So what does the stuff taste actually taste like? While it still retains the distinct, aromatic smell of coffee, researchers say it tastes bitter and pungent. However, it could get better with age, at least in theory.
The bad news is that most of the caffeine disappears during the brewing process, so it's unlikely the stuff harbors the same magical health benefits that coffee supposedly offers.
While researchers continue to improve their creation (and hopefully give it a less clumsy name), in the interim you'll just have to spike your morning cup with Kahlua or Irish whiskey instead.
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