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  • To sugar or not sugar

    Hi guys, Ive got a question that may seem silly. Should an espresso be good enough not to need any sugar added to it? I tried one the other day at home for the first time without sugar and to honest I cant see myself ever trying that again. I usually put 1 teaspoon in. Just curious as to what others do.

  • #2
    Re: To sugar or not sugar

    Originally posted by MarkC77 link=1201142275/0#0 date=1201142274
    Hi guys, Ive got a question that may seem silly.  Should an espresso be good enough not to need any sugar added to it?  I tried one the other day at home for the first time without sugar and to honest I cant see myself ever trying that again.  I usually put 1 teaspoon in. Just curious as to what others do.
    Mine is! 8-)

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    • #3
      Re: To sugar or not sugar

      You probably had the same feeling when you first tried extremely dark chocolate (if you ever have).

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      • #4
        Re: To sugar or not sugar

        I have double espressos every morning with my setup and I definitely dont put/need sugar in it. Does that make it good enough?... good enough for me to not add sugar. I actually tried sugar with one one morning and it almost killed me with sweetness.... definitely not how I roll. 8-)

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        • #5
          Re: To sugar or not sugar

          Yes I believe, it should be good enough to never require sugar and plenty of "average" cafes cant get it right.

          But, horses for courses, it may come down to your palate [dark chocolate is a good analogy]

          The way I see it.....
          Why go to all that trouble to select your beans & perfect techniques for roasting & grinding +dose/distribution & tamping and then pull a shot with a machine that costs an arm and a leg, that has been warmed up for a good 50min, to get a mere 60ml of liquid in a cup, only to MASK all that beautiful character by adding sugar to it.

          But then again, I dislike sweet foods.

          If your not sure how fantastic and "un-bitter" a well made espresso can be, check out a local site sponsor cafe, then youll know if its youre technique or youre pallate.

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          • #6
            Re: To sugar or not sugar

            Good summary reubster.

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            • #7
              Re: To sugar or not sugar

              Originally posted by MarkC77 link=1201142275/0#0 date=1201142274
              Hi guys, Ive got a question that may seem silly. Should an espresso be good enough not to need any sugar added to it? I tried one the other day at home for the first time without sugar and to honest I cant see myself ever trying that again. I usually put 1 teaspoon in. Just curious as to what others do.
              I recall soon before I bought my first machine I went to a BP cafe and asked for an espresso (I didnt pick that place, I just ended up there and thought Id use the opportunity since they had all that fancy equipment there and must know what they were doing! :). I described what I got to my machine seller as thin, black and watery and decided never to waste my time on a straight espresso again. For a long time I didnt know what espresso was supposed to taste like, and until then since it can be hard to get right you dont know whether what youre tasting is actually good espresso or not, so how do you know if youll like it or not? Its really only after having worked at Epic that I realised what it was all about and now I know what Im supposed to be aiming for. When I started there I said I didnt drink espresso for enjoyment, and they said theyd soon change that - well they did! Sort of anyway, sometimes Id have one to see how the blend was performing but there were a few times I had one because I felt like one, which would never have happened before. If you cant make it to a reputable place, try starting with a very short ristretto shot rather than espresso, i.e. pull the glass out after about 10ml. Thats very early but itll hopefully catch it before you get any hint of bitterness coming through, and it should be thick and syrupy, almost like Egg Nogg or a hot banana smoothie if you can imagine that. Its still going to taste like strong coffee, heck thats exactly what it is, but it should be strong smooth coffee with body that sort of fills your mouth rather than just dissipating, and it shouldnt be bitter (dont confuse bitter with strong).

              It still may not be to your liking, and its an acquired taste. Also when people talk about espresso being sweet, dont think of it in a sugary way, that always threw me. Properly extracted coffee has sugars in it, and some are sweeter than other, but theres a lot of other flavours in there with that sweetness. Probably best to just taste one when you get a good one and try to describe what youre tasing.

              I still prefer my coffee as a long black / white or a latte, but I do know a good espresso when I get one and can appreciate it for what it is even if its not my drink of choice.

              Good luck!
              Greg

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              • #8
                Re: To sugar or not sugar

                depends alot on different beans, depth of acidity, flavours, degree of roast, your pallet etc


                i roast a number of origin and blends, (roasting for cup taste not dark roasted)some need no sugar, some a lite sprinkle on the crema, others 1/2 tspoon.
                ive had shots at places where ive needed 3 tspoons so it was acceptable to me, but the person i was with commented how smooth the coffee was

                coffee is a very personal thing

                Fix

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                • #9
                  Re: To sugar or not sugar

                  Well, I must be doing something very wrong then (or my machine is crap) because I love dark chocolate so I should be able to handle sugarless espresso, I presume?

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                  • #10
                    Re: To sugar or not sugar

                    Nope; dark chocolate is totally different, that was just an analogy. If youre used to milk chocolate then dark is very different.

                    Can you post a youtube video of your whole process, extraction particularly, or at least describe what you do, how long it takes for espresso to appear after you start the brewing cycle and what it looks like as it comes out?

                    Greg

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                    • #11
                      Re: To sugar or not sugar

                      My boss always takes one sugar in his espresso whenever he buys one.
                      I made him try mine without sugar.
                      He now doesnt take sugar when I make him one.

                      Everyone else at work also doesnt take sugar in their flat whites or caffe lattes if I make them one.

                      Also, recently, one of the cafes on campus made me an espresso with beans I roasted and I now know how good they can taste. It was the best espresso Ive had yet.
                      Now all I need is a La Marzocco to replicate the effort.

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                      • #12
                        Re: To sugar or not sugar

                        Hi Mark!

                        Have you ever tried a raw or roasted cocoa nib? Thats the flavour people refer to when referring to chocolate flavours in relation to coffee. Most dark chocolates available on supermarket shelves have copious amounts of sugar added.

                        I agree with others who say that espresso is an acquired taste, and suggest that Gregs advice of trying to cut your shot short is a great way to accustom your palate to the flavour. Your persistence will be rewarded!

                        Its also well worth the effort to roast your own beans if youre not already doing so. That way youll be able to avoid those acrid flavours that stale coffee presents.

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                        • #13
                          Re: To sugar or not sugar

                          Definitely no sugar, why make a great coffee and destroy the taste with sucrose. Work on your shots and try some different beans and blends until you find one that you like.

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                          • #14
                            Re: To sugar or not sugar

                            I think its a matter of lack of exposure more than anything else.

                            If its tasting like aspirin then its more than likely over-extracted.

                            Try espresso at reputable cafes. Compare that to what you do at home.

                            For an example of what a good espresso might taste like, try tasting a bit of dark chocolate, a raspberry, and a tiny bit of nutmeg at the same time. This is only a very rudimentary example, so dont take it as the be-all-end-all.

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                            • #15
                              Re: To sugar or not sugar

                              OMG !!! Sugar !!! Never
                              it would be like pouring paint on the mona lisa :P

                              .

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