Category Archives: Drinks Research

Tea can be consumed in different ways. The most popular one worldwide continues to be the infusion of the dried leaves, however, solid tea consumption is growing remarkably, especially due to the new matcha (powdered tea) consumption trend. Actually, tea was firstly consumed as a whole leaf instead of simply as an infusion. The leaves were not strained and tossed as we do now, and this allowed the consumers to take advantege of all of the nutricional aspects of the tea leaf, both the water soluble and the insoluble ones.

We might say that we are still in the leaf infusion Era and regarding this matter many questions usually arise. Which one is the best? To use loose leaf or tea bags?

Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Comparing tea quality

Generally loose leaf tea is of better quality than tea sold in tea bags, especially reagarding cheap tea bags, which contain mostly tea dust and tea fannings resulting from the tea leafs processing. However, there are many good quality tea bags which use either tea sourced from cut loose tea leasf instead of the byproducts of the tea industry and some top quality brands that even sell tea bags containing full tea leaves. I usually advise loose leaf tea for heavier tea drinkers as the tea sold in this fashion is hermetically sealed until use, unlike tea bags which can lose flavour and absorb smells very easily.

A common habit, even at speciality stores, is to open the tea container and give it to the client to smell. This is not hygienic at all and should be avoided. In this regard hermetically sealed tea bags can better preserve their flavour than frequently opened tea containers. If you can afford good quality tight containers or are a rather heavy consumer of loose leaf tea this shouldn’t however pose as big as a problem.

An advantage of brewing loose leaf tea is that you can see the beauty of the leafs unfold in hot water, admire how they look like before and after brewing and how they smell. You can also play with the amount of tea you wish to brew making it lighter or stonger. When using tea bags you can play with the flavour only by modulating either the water temperature or the infusion time.

When brewing loose leaf it implies you to have more specialized tea paraphernalia and time. Usually people more inclined to loose leaf teas invest more time in tea education and look for the perfect cup.

Tea bags are normally of a lower quality when comparing to loose, hermetically sealed tea.

Regarding tea bags a lot of debate has been made about the type of tea bag. Many advocate that the pyramidal tea bags are the best as they allow more room for the leaves to expand. While some say this is more of a marketing stategy, there are a few scientific reports regarding the loose leaf vs. tea bag “battle”. A recent study compared single, double and circular tea bags with loose leaf tea. What was found was that indeed leaf swealling is higher for loose leaf, followed by double chamber tea bags, single tea bags and circular tea bags. In another study, researchers found that, althought the kinetics of goodies, i.e., polyphenol content had a faster release time in tea leafs, and independent of infusion time, when adressing tea bags, the polyphenol content was dependent on the infusion time, probably due to the swelling rates verified by the comparing research group. At the end of the day, it all boils down to tea quality.

Would you rather have low quality loose leaf tea or good quality bagged tea? Common sense is always the key? What is you way of brewing tea?

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Sources

J Food Sci Technol. 2017 Jul;54(8):2474-2484. doi: 10.1007/s13197-017-2690-9. Epub 2017 May 18. “Swelling and infusion of tea in tea bags.”
Avicenna J Phytomed. 2016 May-Jun;6(3):313-21. “Effect of different brewing times on antioxidant activity and polyphenol content of loosely packed and bagged black teas (Camellia sinensis L.).”

Take a few minutes to search in yeast commercial suppliers catalogs and you will quickly find out the large number of different strains that are available for brewing beer and other beverages. Brewing yeast species were initially isolated from nature and later also domesticated in different parts of the world under different environments, which resulted in a variety of yeast strains with great physiological differences. The invention of the microscope had a key role on the initial identification and characterization of the different strains. Nowadays, the continuous development of microbiological and genetic tools along with new analytical techniques has contributed to a deeper understanding of the specific capabilities and limitations of each strain, as well as for the identification of novel yeast types.

Every year the number of fully characterized yeast strains increases and there are a few companies with culture banks that have a great variety of yeast strains: White Labs, WYEAST, Fermentis, Lallemand, Mangrove Jack’s, Imperial Yeast (organic) or CooLAB (organic), among others. In each website, you can find descriptions of each strain that will help you choosing the right strain for the intended beer type.

Start simple

If you are in doubt, start simple and brew with a yeast type which is a “work horse”, meaning that it will efficiently work for a great variety of beer styles. Still, there are some factors important to consider when choosing the yeast for alcoholic fermentation:

Attenuation – how much sugar can the yeast convert into alcohol. Usually, commercial suppliers divide the yeast strains in low, medium and high attenuation, varying from approximately 65 to 85%. The specific attenuation will impact not only the alcohol % but also the mouthfeel and flavor;

Flocculation level – how easy does the yeast cells settle after fermentation. This is an important feature when you wish to re-use the yeast to another fermentation. Besides that, a low flocculation yeast can lead to a lower attenuation, resulting in a worty flavor. On the other hand, if your yeast of choice has a high flocculation, the final beer will tend to be cloudier and you will be able to taste the yeast, like in weißbier or witbier;

Alcohol tolerance – alcohol level that inhibits and potentially kills your fermenting yeast. Choosing a strain that can stand the alcohol percentage you are planning to reach is extremely important, especially in those styles that require a high alcohol % such as Imperial Stout or Belgium Ale;

Temperature – each strain has a range of temperatures where it can grow, and it is important to know both the optimal and the extreme temperatures that the yeast can stand;

Metabolite production and sensoric properties – what kind of flavors and aromas are produced by the yeast strain. There are several metabolites (intermediates or final products of yeast metabolism) that can contribute to the sensoric properties of the finished beer: esters, carbonyl compounds, phenolics, higher “fusel” alcohols and fatty acids:

  • Esters are the resulting compounds from a reaction between an acid and an alcohol, and they are often associated with fruity notes in beer (e.g. ethyl acetate or isoamyl acetate). The specific types of esters formed, as well as their concentration, are strain-specific but the fermentation conditions also influence the ability of the yeast strain to produce them.  For instance, there are reports that high gravity brewing and high fermentation temperatures (20-25oC) result in higher levels of esters (as in some ale beer types).
  • More than 200 compounds with a carbonyl functional group have been found in beer, contributing for both its flavor and stability. Diacetyl and acetaldehyde are examples of carbonyl metabolites and probably the most “unwanted” compounds by brewers (except in some very specific beers), since they are considered off-flavors. Both the formation and conversion rates of those metabolites is strain-dependent, so the time that you will need to get a matured beer will depend on your yeast of choice. This is particularly important in large-scale production where time is a key control parameter.
  • Phenols are commonly associated with a medicinal or spicy aroma, and some specific types add astringency and/or bitterness in the finished beer. For instance, the earthy aroma present in Brett beers (fermented with Brettanomyces yeast) is directly linked to the formation of phenolic compounds.
  • When present in abundant levels, higher fusel alcohols, such as propanol and butanol, can result in fruity, floral and/or wine-like notes. Their formation can have a positive impact in ale beers but normally are not desired in ale types.
  • Fatty acids are essential elements in the yeast central metabolism, but they can also be broken down into staling compounds such as (E)-2-nonenal, which will give a “cardboard” character in the finished beer.
The presence of fermentation derived metabolites brings complexity to the final product, but in some specific cases they can also easily become overwhelming and give off-flavors.

In addition to the points mentioned above, when brewing at large-scale breweries there a few other parameters to consider when choosing the right yeast: stress tolerance, fermentation yield and productivity, mutation stability, among others. These are especially important for the re-usage of yeast in several fermentation cycles, which is a must in large-scale breweries to sustain the economical viability of the production process.

The number of identified and characterized yeast strains will increase more and more over the next years. I personally believe that some unique flavor profiles are yet to be found, and that will consequently expand the range of beer styles. If you are already brewing, what are your favorite yeast strains and how did you choose them? Tell us your yeastperiences in the comments below.

CFER Labs is your partner in food and drinks R&D. Obtain your free of charge workplan by clicking here.

Sources

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/jib.49 
https://www.esa.org/esablog/research/spontaneous-fermentation-the-role-of-microorganisms-in-beer/http://www.wyeastlab.com/fermentation
https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/yeast-fermentation-and-the-making-of-beer-14372813
https://www.whitelabs.com/
https://www.grainfather.com/blog/week-60-choosing-a-yeast-strain-for-your-beer/
http://www.equippedbrewer.com/equipment-and-supplies/how-to-choose-the-right-yeast-for-your-craft-beverage
https://beerandbrewing.com/how-to-choose-a-yeast-strain/
http://scottjanish.com/esters-and-fusel-alcohols/

 

The beverage industry is pushing forward at a quick pace and top developments in the field during 2019 should still be oriented for the rise of natural, functional and sustainable drinks; however, consumers are seeking increased value chain transparency and beverage personalization. Discover below some of the top tendencies for 2019 within the drinks business.

CFER Labs is your partner in drinks R&D. Obtain your free of charge workplan by clicking here.

Healthy energy drinks with alternative sources of energy

Energy drinks are one of the fastest growing products in the global drinks market. This growth has been brought by an escalating evident consumer focus on fitness and health. In 2017, the global energy drinks market stood at USD 55 billion and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 3.7% during the forecasted period of 2018-2023, according to figures from Mordor Intelligence. The biggest oportunities for market growth lie in the European continent and in Asia-Pacific region, respectively due to a scarce offer of healthy, zero-calorie, low sugar functional drinks in Europe and increasing income, rising sports activities and urbanization in the Asia-Pacific region.

The caffeine presence in energy drinks is raising moderate levels of concern. As a result, manufacturers may wish to gradually replace caffeine by naturally energetic plant extracts in new launches for 2019, such as green coffee extract or matcha.

The caffeine presence in energy drinks may gradually be replaced by naturally energetic plant extracts in new launches for 2019.

Hyper functional drinks with ethnic and regional ingredients

According to Beverage Daily, consumers are increasingly willing to seek super ingredients in their drinks, such as goji, aloe vera, turmeric, functional spices or matcha, traditionally used as regional ethnic ingredients with known health benefits. Other ingredients, such as microalgae and mushroom extract are also gaining relevance. Consumers will look for convenient, hyper functional drinks during 2019 as part of a beverage industry gradually mixed with the vitamin and supplement industry.

New launches will reflect consumer demand for overall wellness goals, as improved sleep, cognitive function, beauty, weight loss and gut health, being expectable that new products will address deeper health issues as oral and cardiovascular health.

Consumers are increasingly willing to seek super ingredients in their drinks, such as goji, aloe vera, turmeric, functional spices or matcha.

Plant based beverages

More and more people are introducing plant-based products in their diet for health and sustainability claims. Plant based product claims have grown 62% globally from 2013 to 2017, according to figures from NDP Group. The plant-based eating and drinking movement has been promoted by celebrities, athletes, multinational retailers, food and tech companies and countries such as China. There has been a 600% increase in people identifying as vegans in the U.S in the last three years, according to a survey from GlobalData, and 350% in the UK comparing to ten years ago. According to Nielsen, vegetarianism in Portugal rose by 400% in the last decade.

In 2019 there should be a rise in the offer of plant based drinks, such as vegetable milks and drinks from soy, almond, coconut and oats, plant-based protein drinks and also exotically-flavoured malted beverages.

Almond drink leads the category of vegetable milks along with soy and coconut.

Sustainable beverages

Sustainability is growing steadily to be one of the top concerns of consumers in 2019. This is mainly related to plastic unsustainability due to recent environmental scandals and the origin and trade of ingredients. Data from Nielsen and Mintel indicates that consumers are willing to pay more for products that make claims on sustainability, while Imbibe Magazine states that consumers are using the social media to share messages about the responsibility of the purchase. Eco-friendly packaged beverages and the use of internationally certified fair-trade ingredients should become more prevalent in 2019.

Concerns regarding the origin and trade of the ingredients are becoming more prevalent among consumers.

Clean label and simple communication

Consumers are demanding clean labels and a simple communication on their products to know what exactly they consume and at what level, and national government agencies are supporting this interest. In 2019 this trend should continue to gain momentum.

The soft drinks market has witnessed in recent years the biggest percentage of clean label product introduction in Asia, the fastest growth rate region for clean label products. Within the clean label segment, natural colours are witnessing high demand due to organic and functional claims.

According to figures from Mordor Intelligence, 88% of consumers are willing to pay a premium price for products containing naturally sourced ingredients, and close to 80% of the consumers give importance to reading ingredient lists on the product before purchasing.

The trend for clean label beverages will predictably continue to grow during 2019.

CFER Labs is your partner in drinks R&D. Obtain your free of charge workplan by clicking here.

Sources
https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/energy-drinks-market
https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/clean-label-ingredients-market
HTTPS://WWW.BEVERAGEDAILY.COM/ARTICLE/2018/12/05/TOP-FIVE-PREDICTIONS-FOR-2019-BEVERAGE-TRENDS
https://foodrevolution.org/blog/vegan-statistics-global/

 

Cider’s history in the New World is a series of events that twist and turn with the rapid expansion and tumultuous social changes that have shaped American history. While relatively unknown to the modern American consumer, cider was the drink of choice for the first several centuries of European settlement in the original thirteen and Canadian colonies and earliest frontiers.

The beginning of cider

The history of cider in the United States begins with the most American of holidays, Thanksgiving. When the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth Bay Colony in 1620, they found themselves in a strange and unforgiving land and completely out of ale. Anyone who has experienced a Massachusetts ice or snow storm can imagine the sadness of an imminent winter without proper food, shelter, or drink to keep spirits and bodies warm through the harsh New England winter. Even though nearly half the colony died in the first winter, human creativity flourished, and the first year saw them making ‘beer’ with pumpkins, parsnips, and corn stalks. This was not evidently a big hit, and with a lack of barley or grapes for traditional beer and wine, cider quickly became the Plymouth colony favorite drink.
The absence of barley and grapes, used for Old World traditional alcoholic drinks, encouraged cider’s popularity in the new settlements.
There has been some debate over whether native wild apples existed prior to English colonization or whether they were left by explorers and fisherman along the New England coast who had arrived and been conducting business on the coast up to a hundred years prior to the Pilgrims landing. Either way, grafts and seedling apple trees from England quickly made the transatlantic voyage with the early settlers and spread across New England and the Mid-Atlantic seaboard.
George Washington invited the entire delegation out for pints of cider the night before the 1761 election, and swept the election the following day.

Forty miles to the north of Plymouth Plantation, a man by the name of William Blackstone settled himself on a small island called Shawmut. He arrived alone and began homesteading until the arrival of John Winthrop and his group of Puritans arrived and settled across the river from him. Blackstone planted the first known orchard in the United States on Shawmut Island on a ‘Beacon Hill.’ Today Beacon Hill and Shawmut island would be scarcely recognizable, as Beacon Hill is now the most exclusive neighborhood in Boston, lined with 18th century townhomes.Shawmut is now the heart of the Boston financial district, filled with historical sites, such as the Boston Massacre site and Fanueil Hall. Blackstone has largely been forgotten for his role in Boston history, overridden by the Puritan settlers who began flooding Massachusetts Bay Colony in the mid-1600s, but his trees began to spread by seedlings and grafts across the colony. Cider quickly became the most popular drink of Massachusetts and New England due to the Puritan aversion to harder alcohols and inability to source much else for.

William Blackstone planted the first USA orchard in Shawmut island, Boston, presently located in the heart of the city’s financial district.

The importance of cider in the political life of the USA

Over the next 150 years, orchards and cider presses sprung up from Quebec to Virginia to fuel the desire for cider. By the time of the American Revolution, cider was an entrenched facet of American culture. George Washington launched his political career in the colonial Virginia House of Burgesses and lost his first election in 1755. Learning from his mistakes, he invited the entire delegation out for pints of cider the night before the 1761 election, and swept the election the following day. Thomas Jefferson touted the superiority of American varietals and ciders as the equals of the best of Champagnes and grew some unique varieties such as the Talliaferro and Esopus Spitzenburg, as well as the well known Newtown Pippin. In Paris, he wrote back home to his friend, “They have no apple to compare with our Newtown Pippin.”John Adams recommended ‘cyder’ to be aged at least two or three years, touting it a salubrious beverage well suited to keep a person in good health. His wife Abigail Adams managed the farm during his politicking years and their African American servant James was the cider master for the household. By the dawn of the United States in 1776, cider was close to peaking in popularity and consumption in the New World. Orchards grew at the forefront of the new American attempts to conquer the frontier as the young nation grew and pushed further into the continent.

Sensory analysis is a science. No matter how subjective it may be, sensory analysis represents a decisive step during the various stages of food product development, a unique tool for determination of organoleptic properties of food and, more specifically, beer. Being a science, sensory analysis requires care in planning and diligence in execution. Sensory tests must comply with very specific standards, in particular through the establishment of certain ideal conditions to perform the experiments.

The sensory analysis of beer focuses on the beverage’s appearance, aroma, flavour and palate, and is regarded as an important quality control method for the development of new products.

The ideal conditions for the sensory experiment

Regarding the place where the tests are conducted, both temperature and humidity must be constant and easily controllable. In general, a temperature of 20 ± 2 ° C and relative humidity between 60% and 70% is recommended. The place should be free of external noises, well ventilated and free of odors. Also it should be coated with a material that is easy to clean, odor-free and that does not absorb odors. Therefore, carpets, wall paper, porous tiles, etc. should be avoided.

The colour of the test site and equipment must be neutral (white or light gray) so as not to influence the evaluation of the beer. Lighting is also a crucial factor, especially when evaluating the appearance. The lighting of the test room should be uniform, shade-free and controllable. Lamps with a color temperature of approximately 6500K are recommended. When tasting, one should avoid evaluating beers within two hours after lunch. The best time to conduct this type of tests is between 10:00 p.m. and lunchtime, or later in the afternoon, although this may vary from taster to taster, depending on their biological rhythm.

The ideal moment for the tasting is when the taster is more awake and his mental abilities are at their maximum.

How the surroundings may affect the sensory perception

The way we perceive a beer depends on many factors, mainly appearance, aroma (odor/fragrance), flavour (taste, aromatics, chemical feelings) and palate. These can be influenced by physiological and psychological aspects which may be decisive for a correct analysis of a beer. There are numerous factors that can lead to an erroneous assessment of a sample. Let’s look at some common examples:
  1. Group effect – when a good beer is put in a group of mediocre beers, the rating will be lower (and vice-versa);

  2. Central tendency error – tasters tend to rate the beers in the center of the scale, avoiding very high or very low scores;

  3. Expectation error – if you are told you will be drinking a Westvleteren XII, the expectations about the sample will be very high. To avoid preconceived ideas, details about the sample should be minimal;

  4. Mutual suggestion – happens when a reaction of a person influences the perception of the other;

  5. Lack of motivation – some testers might be uninterested and in consequence put less effort on the experiment.

Many other psychological constraints may influence the development of a sensory analysis experience. But in addition to these, there are other factors that may impact sensory evaluation of beer. For instance, the serving temperature, the glass, the serving order, cultural factors or mental fatigue. Even adaptation might be a problem, through the decrease in sensitivity to a given aroma or flavour due to continued exposure. Or, of course, if the panelist is ill, is a smoker, just drank coffee or had a heavy meal.Unfortunately, in Portugal there has been no academic tradition associated with this discipline. Sensory analysis is mostly regarded as a curiosity amongst consumers, even though the industry considers these methods highly beneficial, cost-effective and easy to apply for large or small businesses. It provides objective and subjective feedback data to enable informed decisions to be made. The growth of the craft beer industry worldwide, the importance of understanding a product characteristics and the identification of consumers preferences has helped to bring new attention to this science in many countries. Hopefully the same will happen in Portugal.

Adipose tissue is a vital connective tissue for all mammals. Its main role is to store energy in the form of lipids while insulating the body. It also contains a variety of crucial cells that act on the body’s immune and structural functions. Obesity is a medical condition defined by an excess of body fat. This disease increases the chances of developing conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancer or depression,  decreasing the individual’s quality of life. Obesity is one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide, mainly promoted by the intake of high-energy foods and low energy expenditure.

Thermogenic molecules

Some specific ingredients might contribute for one’s weight management goals with no need for extra energy expenditure or change in sedentary lifestyle. Foods such as chilli peppers, white and black pepper, ginger and cinnamon have in their composition capsaicin-like molecules, respectively piperine, gingerol and cinnamaldehyde.

Researchers found that the consumption of these food products promote the release of sympathetic-nerve mediated norepinephrine, naturally activating the brown adipose tissue thermogenesis by up-regulating the action of the uncoupling protein 1 in the mitochondria (UCP1) (Saito et. al. 2015). The UCP1 dissipates energy by oxidizing fatty acids and glucose to heat. Other ingredients, such as green tea or wasabi, also contribute to the up regulation of this protein.

Thermogenic and anti-obesity effects of capsacin-like food molecules, mediated by the release of sympathetic-nerve norepinephrine. This mechanism triggers the brown adipose tissue thermogenesis by up-regulating the action of the uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) in the mitochondria. in Saito et. al. 2015

The consumption of these foods and spices might not always be possible in the desired concentration by consumers with weight issues. To overcome this limitation, companies may explore the potential of a new generation of anti-obesity, naturally thermogenic food products. It has been shown that the oral ingestion of capsules with capsinoids, substances naturally present in chili peppers, increases the energy expenditure mediated by the thermogenesis located in the brown adipose tissue (Yoneshiro et. al. 2012). Edible plant and spice extracts, naturally clean-label, mostly calorie free and widely available, may thus be the shining stars of a new generation of functional products for weight management issues, proven to be their safety in the public food and health system.


Sources
  • Yoneshiro, T. et al. (2012) Non pungent capsaicin analogs (capsinoids) increase energy expenditure through the activation of brown adipose tissue in humans. Am. J.Clin.Nutr. 95, 845–850 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22378725