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  • Searching for sweetness

    Hello Coffeesnobs,

    After extensive reading on this site as well as many others, combined with a few months of making coffee at home, I thought I would bite the bullet and ask a fairly loaded question...

    In regards to espresso extraction and constantly searching for a sweeter cup, is it possible to continuously keep reducing dose and fining up grind to manipulate flavours, whilst maintaining a consistent flow? Or do you eventually hit a brick wall where no more sweetness can develop? Obviously beans have a big role, as does equipment. Given I don't have a seasoned palate I cannot distinguish as many flavours as I would like, but I feel I have rid the shot of sourness and bitterness. Very drinkable and seemingly well balanced.

    I am regrettably only using a free Breville 800ES with a Smart Grinder Pro. However, beans are great quality, the machine is clean and methods are consistent. If I have revealed ignorance I apologise, but until we learn, we are all ignorant I suppose...

    Thankyou very much in advance,

    Ben

  • #2
    Evening Ben, welcome to Coffee Snobs.

    Interesting question! according to Joseph Rivera Arabica beans contain between 6% to 9% sucrose, up to 97% of which goes up in smoke during roasting, so the amount of natural sugar in a medium dark roast is bugger all.

    The very act of roasting lowers the sugar content, the darker the roast the lower the sugar content.

    "Although there are numerous types of carbohydrates in coffee, perhaps the most important is that of sucrose. Sucrose, or more com*monly known as table sugar, makes up six to nine percent in Arabica with a slightly less (three to seven percent) amount contained in Robusta coffee. During roasting, sucrose is readily decomposed, and studies have shown that up to 97 per*cent of the initial sucrose content is lost even in light roasts." Joseph Rivera.
    CoffeeTalk | Coffee Chemistry

    The fact is that some of us do in fact add sugar to coffee because we prefer it that way, I add approx 3 grams per cup, always have and always will.

    There are a percentage of (hipsters) who look down on those who add sugar, do what suits you not what others tell you to do.
    Last edited by Yelta; 17 February 2015, 10:27 AM.

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    • #3
      Hiya Ben,

      Funny you mention this point because just this morning, I was reading a post Matt Perger made in regards to this exact point.

      This is the link:Coffee Extraction - The 80:20 Method

      Enjoy!


      Paul

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      • #4
        There is a limit for each bean. You won't know if you have it until you have gone too far on either side (sour-bitter). The variables are many--dose, grind size, water temp, extraction pressure and profile, extraction time, extraction volume, bean, roasting, and so on.

        Find yourself a really good barista, and use their shots for a comparison standard and to learn what is possible. Everybody's "gold standard" will be different because it's all about the taste.

        Have fun too.

        Greg

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        • #5
          For added sweetness I prefer to updose and then cut the shot short so that im capturing the initial sweetness but not the added acidity which comes from running the shot longer - so down dosing is one possibility - but its good to experiment with all the variables

          p

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bentkalec View Post
            Hello Coffeesnobs,

            After extensive reading on this site as well as many others, combined with a few months of making coffee at home, I thought I would bite the bullet and ask a fairly loaded question...

            In regards to espresso extraction and constantly searching for a sweeter cup, is it possible to continuously keep reducing dose and fining up grind to manipulate flavours, whilst maintaining a consistent flow? Or do you eventually hit a brick wall where no more sweetness can develop? Obviously beans have a big role, as does equipment. Given I don't have a seasoned palate I cannot distinguish as many flavours as I would like, but I feel I have rid the shot of sourness and bitterness. Very drinkable and seemingly well balanced.

            I am regrettably only using a free Breville 800ES with a Smart Grinder Pro. However, beans are great quality, the machine is clean and methods are consistent. If I have revealed ignorance I apologise, but until we learn, we are all ignorant I suppose...

            Thankyou very much in advance,

            Ben
            G'day Ben

            You can make a superb coffee with the gear you have - just a little harder than some gear (like a fully auto or a pod machine). No need to apologise.

            Grinding finer / dosing less / maintaining flow - eventually you hit the grinders limit and it goes very bitter. Smartgrinder is pretty good, so the limit may be further than you think... Also, some baskets do not like underdosing, others seem indifferent.

            You did not mention milk. Frothing "normal milk" means that you actually can pick up extra sweetness about two or three degrees before it scalds. Worth a play.

            Hope this helps


            TampIt

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