Neil deGrasse Tyson (via Scientia Salon) and Matt Perger (via Sprudge)

Neil deGrasse Tyson (via Scientia Salon) and Matt Perger (via Sprudge)

Matt Perger may be coffee’s Neil DeGrasse Tyson. On top of being one of the most accomplished baristas in the world—winning the World Brewers Cup in 2012, the World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship in 2014, as well as turning in 3rd and 2nd place finishes in the 2011 and 2013 World Barista Championships, respectively—he has also become the face of coffee extraction. Literally. His face is on every Mahlkönig EK 43, the spice-grinder-turned-coffee-shop-necessity, thanks to his tireless promotion of the darling grinder and its various shots. Whether redesigning a tamper or refractometering, Perger is always looking to create higher extraction yields in his coffees. This last incomprehensible affection may sound like Sanskrit or Chocktaw to those who are not already fully invested in the science of coffee, but Perger is here to help. With his new website The Barista Hustle, Perger is looking to explain the science of making coffee in plain terms to help baristas, both in cafes and at home, make better coffee.

"Best Extraction Flow Chart" from Barista Hustle #3 "The 80:20 Method".

“Best Extraction Flow Chart” from Barista Hustle #3 “The 80:20 Method“.

Publishing articles on a weekly basis, Barista Hustle covers a range of topics as they relate to coffee extraction, which Perger notes at the very beginning of his first post, “is arguably the most important and least understood aspect of coffee brewing. It’s everything. Without extraction, you don’t even get a cup of coffee.” Even in its nascent phase—the first article was posted on February 1st—the site tackles some pretty big issues. From common taste-types generally associated with under, over, and ideally extracted coffee to the effects of coffee particle size to the importance of even extraction, Perger is diving headlong into complex coffee theory but doing so in a matter-of-fact, easy to understand way. Take, for example, his discussion on particle size in the article “Surface Area and Time”:

“Increasing the surface area of the coffee makes it far easier for the water to dissolve its flavours. When you grind coffee, you’re increasing the surface area exponentially… This is why coarser grinds take longer to extract than fine grinds; the water has to travel into the grind, dissolve the flavour, take that flavour back out, and deliver it into the brew. Compare this to a fine grind (where all water has to do is touch the coffee and it’s dissolved everything) and you see why surface area is so important for increasing extraction.”

And Perger doesn’t stop once the article has been published. He is an active member of the comments section posted at the end of each of his articles. Chit-chatting, replying to individual posters with small points of clarification, or hinting at upcoming Hustles, Perger is around and he is engaged with the community.

The March 1st Hustle is a video entitled “Brew Local, Act Global“, the first foray in the world of multimedia on the site, on the advantages of evenness in extraction. This video is planned to be the first in a series on the topic being released over the next few weeks. The concepts in the video are more geared towards shops, but the video is of value for the home user, both as a building block for future episodes as well as giving a glimpse into some of the less obvious things cafe owners have to consider.

Currently, all posts are available free online or via email. Judging from Perger’s wide ranging competition accomplishments, he is definitely a multi-platform sort of fellow, and true to form, in a recent tweet Perger alluded to the possibility of a Barista Hustle app. Whether or not said app would have any sort of Apple iWatch integration for maximum world domination remains to be seen.

Zac Cadwalader is a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

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