Here's how we made freeze-dried Death Wish Dark Roast Instant Coffee for space
By Lisa Frania — / The Biz
How Is Coffee Made in Space?
Can you imagine leaving your home planet—looking down and realizing you’re not on Earth anymore? Imagine not sitting in standstill traffic to go to a job you hate or avoiding the pain of hanging with the in-laws on a Saturday night. All jokes aside, there’s one thing you absolutely would miss: the feeling of that first sip of rich, hot coffee hitting your lips in the morning. Astronauts, in a sense, are the definition of taking one for the "world."
Everything in space is different. Even sucking freeze-dried coffee out of a sealed plastic bag somewhere along the journey would throw your inner sanity off balance, alongside your inner ear–which is what keeps you balanced on Earth. Due to the low-gravity atmosphere, trying to drink from a regular coffee mug would be nearly impossible, as it may never reach your mouth. You have two options: Lick it out of your mug like a puppy or toss it in the air and sip down the floating blob that forms—neither of which seems to be the way to go.
Death Wish Coffee sympathizes with astronauts at 5:00 a.m. because we know how dreadful life can be without a cup of strong coffee. And since it wasn’t on the critical path of operations, we did something about it.
“We couldn’t think of a better way to showcase the smoothness and strength of our coffee than by providing the crew aboard the International Space Station with an easy-to-make blend that will keep them on their feet, so to speak,” noted Mike Brown, Death Wish Coffee’s founder.
Here’s the process we used to make freeze-dried Death Wish Dark Roast Coffee for space:
- First, the coffee is roasted and ground to a coarse texture.
- The coffee is then brewed with hot steam and heated down to a thick concentrate.
- From there, the concentrate is frozen to minus 50.
- The coffee is then broken up into small .05-1-millimeter pieces, sifted and sorted based on size.
- The frozen coffee is then placed in a drying chamber under vacuum to evaporate any remaining water left over from the brewing and freezing process. This process is called sublimation.
- Once the entire process is complete, the coffee is sent to the packaging plant for final processing.
And just like that, Death Wish Coffee provides the otherworldly strength astronauts need to fuel scientific discoveries.