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IM 1.02 Layering — The Crust

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The effect of coffee’s microporous structure is that coffee particles are able to float in water for a short time, until the pores become sufficiently full of water to make them dense enough to sink. It takes longer for water to penetrate the largest particles, so it follows that the bigger the particles are, the longer they can remain buoyant. After pouring water onto your coffee grinds, even if you successfully surround every grind with water, a large amount of the bigger grind particles, known as boulders, will float up to the surface. You can observe the extreme of this phenomenon via a simple experiment with whole coffee beans. Good-quality green beans (unroasted) will sink when immersed in water. But whole roasted coffee beans will not sink below the surface of the water — even if you leave them in water for over 24 hours. This is a function of the large volume of gases trapped inside the unruptured cells of the beans and their hollow, microporous structure. 

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