Friday, December 05, 2014


Lots of people chucking coriander in beer at the moment. Gose(s) (Gosen?), Wits, whatever.

There's a bit of a gotcha associated with this spice.  You see, there are two main varieties. A small seeded one and the other one.  Mainly grown in tropical and sub-tropical parts, the large-seeded has low levels of the essential oils you want in brewing.

Your small-seeded variety is the temperate plant. Pretty much. This is the one you want.  Unless you can see what you're buying,  look for a country of origin that isn't, say, Morocco, India or Australia. Check a map if your geography is a bit weak. There's some good small stuff grown in the Caucasus.  Confusingly, there's a large-seeded variety grown in Canada (on the praries).  More confusingly, there's a lot of variation in the large one. If you're interested you can weigh the seeds. Simply take a thousand seeds and weigh them. You probably want this to come out less than 8g. If it's only 5g it's deffo small. And you should get a life.

You'll find you need to use much less and the aroma will be finer.

Update: There's some stuff out there on the interwebs that's saying precisely the opposite to this.  And making out that the large seeded one is better for brewing.    Hmm. Best advice? Be aware that there's more than one kind of coriander seed and decide yourself which you prefer.

You probably don't want to buy ready ground coriander.  You don't know which one you're getting (but it's almost certainly the wrong one), how much of it is twigs, grasshopper heads, etc, or how old it is.

Another Update: Ah, now, I've had an opportunity to properly compare a small seeded with a large seeded sample. Both organic as it happens. I wasn't able to brew with them separately but I can report that (freshly ground) the small had more woody / camphor, whereas the larger one had more citrus. I couldn't smell any difference before grinding. So there you go. Be aware.

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