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Coffee - do you and how do you consume it?

JaccoW

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It may be the best coffee you've ever had and that it is incredibly smooth tasting but... I really wish that I did not have to challenge you about that bold statement!:(
Where exactly do you think the bitterness disappeared to? << Certainly it did not evaporate :: So? Where did it go?
My question is not really directed AT you but I lack scientific data (in an understandable English) how some make/say those words "lack of bitternes
That's easy to answer. The bitterness (that some people actually like about coffee) comes from the extra heat you would otherwise put into the coffee.
When I do brew it beyond its sputtering phase it gets more bitter. When I heat up cold water to a boil with a moka (so it gets exposed to heat for longer) it gets more bitter as well.

Think of it as a petroleum refining process, more heat and higher pressures extract different "flavours" from the same crude oil. You can get anything from white gas (naphta) to asphalt from it.

Coffee (and tea) are similar in that regard. If you can keep it below a certain temperature you can extract all the flavours you want without getting some of the ones you don't like. Some teas, which I drink a lot more of, need to be steeped at lower temperatures. One example is higher-end jasmin tea. That one gets steeped at 75°C (160°F) otherwise it quickly turns bitter as well.

In short, the bitterness stays in the grounds or doesn't develop because the coffee grounds do not get hot enough.

EDIT: Another example is cold brew coffee. If you make a hot coffee and cool it down you get some sourness, whereas if you left the grounds in cold water for a longer period of time you get a lot of flavour without any of the sourness.
 
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dlaloum

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It may be the best coffee you've ever had and that it is incredibly smooth tasting but... I really wish that I did not have to challenge you about that bold statement!:(
Where exactly do you think the bitterness disappeared to? << Certainly it did not evaporate :: So? Where did it go?
My question is not really directed AT you but I lack scientific data (in an understandable English) how some make/say those words "lack of bitterness".

So, can the Moka-pot yield really be called "espresso"?
Would it be easy for you to cite some of those differences [<<pretending you are the Hoffmann dude w/o the hand gestures]
Optimal brewing will dissolve the desired "flavour ingredients" from the coffee, while leaving (most of) the bitter oils in the grounds.

Brewing at too high a temperature, over brewing ("cooking the coffee") etc... will extract more of the bitter oils resulting in a more bitter cup.

Roasting has an impact too - too dark a roast, will destroy much of the more delicate flavours, and extract more of the bitter oils from the beans (ever noticed that the dark beans have an "oily" look to them?).

Many people seek out and enjoy that bitterness - and therefore focus on brewing and roasting methods that accentuate that. (I am not one of them)

Another thing I discovered more or less by accident years ago.... a single drop of essential oil of orange, in a large pot of dark bitter coffe, makes the bitterness disappear.... not sure about the reaction, and whether it is more to do with our taste buds reaction or a chemical reaction in the coffee... but with some coffees, I can make a large plunger of coffee... and find it undrinkable (too bitter... ) for many of the reasons discussed above, then I put a single tiny drop of essential oil of orange into the pot - and the coffee becomes quite good.
I probably would not want to be adding an entire drop of essential oil per cup - that might be too strong. - But in a 6 cup pot, it works well.

Another very traditional mediterranean thing, is to add an orange or rose flower bud to the coffee pot, after brewing... adding a very subtle aroma to the coffee... (I prefer Orange to Rose...)
 

pseudoid

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Another thing I discovered more or less by accident years ago.... a single drop of essential oil of orange, in a large pot of dark bitter coffe, makes the bitterness disappear....
I personally prefer GoldBond foot powder (talc-free version)... so that [fill-in-the blank] disappears. :eek: Poof- - gone!

Is there a taste-chart like the the "color wheel"? Addition/subtraction would be made sooooo much easier.
After 18 months of pulling my own shots, I have realized that Borg statement (resistance/futile/assimilation) is true and I am no longer fighting that unwinnable "bitter war"!
I just tell my brain to put a negative (-) sign when espresso bitterness is detected! :cool:
That is my [fill-in-the blank] answer.
Not Cardamom or Orange Pekoe!
 

ryanosaur

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pseudoid

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There are many… here is one from near the top of a quick Google-ing of “coffee flavor wheel:”
You mean to say, mine was a great idea; although someone stole my idea before I thought of it...:rolleyes:
202211_TasteFlavorWheel.jpg

Do you know where the instructions are????

I think the top slice of the chart (called 'Citrus") is as close to 'bitter' as this taste wheel gets. Grouping Lemon (sour) with Lime and/or Grapefruit (both bitter) is a bit problematic... to get rid of the bitterness: Does this mean that I put some of the opposing slicing (called "Nuts")???
 

ryanosaur

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You mean to say, mine was a great idea; although someone stole my idea before I thought of it...:rolleyes:
View attachment 245770
Do you know where the instructions are????

I think the top slice of the chart (called 'Citrus") is as close to 'bitter' as this taste wheel gets. Grouping Lemon (sour) with Lime and/or Grapefruit (both bitter) is a bit problematic... to get rid of the bitterness: Does this mean that I put some of the opposing slicing (called "Nuts")???
I’ve seen wheels with more negative traits listed. This was just a free download tag that drew me in. ;)
For us in the shop, it was always a guide to help us describe the flavors. Much like other flavor wheels, it’s easy to say citrus or apple (for example) but what kind of citrus or apple do you taste? Lime and grapefruit can absolutely be bitter, but lime also has a crystalline acidity to it which many find to be much cleaner and sharper than lemon. If you get citrus notes with bitterness, I would describe that as lemon rind. Likewise, in wine apple can be a common flavor, but take it to the next step and you can say green apple if it’s sharp and bright or stewed apple if it’s sweet and more “cooked” or muddled tasting…

Not so much a cancellation effect… while the basic flavors we taste like salt, sour, bitter, sweet can balance or accentuate each other, “nuttiness” won’t cancel “bitter grapefruit” flavor profile.
 

pseudoid

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Yes! I guess it is like a signal-to-noise, if your dislike is the signal (=bitter), then you add some noise (=sugar) to overpower (lessen the taste of) bitter!
But "poof... gone" is a myth... yet I still like directing my brain to put a negative sign to bitter better!
Sour-ness in coffee does not work for me either.;)

Things have apparently gotten reeeeal tricky/complicated with the taste-science behind 'bitter' detection.
202211_BitterPTC.jpg
202211_BitterPTC-chemChain.jpg

The chemical structure of PTC (phenylthiocarbamide-phenylthiourea) resembles toxic alkaloids found in some poisonous plants (e.g. Castor tree produces ricin).

Article starts out like this:
"In 1931, a chemist named Arthur Fox was pouring some powdered PTC into a bottle. When some of the powder accidentally blew into the air, a colleague standing nearby complained that the dust tasted bitter. Fox tasted nothing at all. Curious how they could be tasting the chemical differently, they tasted it again. The results were the same. Fox had his friends and family try the chemical then describe how it tasted. Some people tasted nothing. Some found it intensely bitter, and still others thought it tasted only slightly bitter."
I used to think I was one of them "strong tasters" as I find bitterness repulsive but since I don't find broccoli (cabbage family?) to be bitter, I must not qualify...:(
 

ryanosaur

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From a Food Science perspective, salt is known to block the bitterness receptors in out taste buds. Think Salt and Dark Chocolate, Caramel, toasted Nuts... And a tiny pinch of Salt in your Coffee!

I disagree that Brassicas are bitter. They do commonly contain Sulfur, which when overcooked is released and creates a well known unpleasant odor and flavor.
 

pseudoid

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From a Food Science perspective, salt is known to block the bitterness receptors in out taste buds...
Salt is 'suppressing' the bitterness by overpowering it (again s/n) but also causes other problems both with the palette, as well as w/the other flavors... we went thru this salt-problem in this thread! And I think we subjectively agreed, back then.:)
 

Multicore

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Yes. I love drinking good coffee. I'd drink more but I don't like caffeine and decaf is seldom good.

We recently got a new machine. Called Diletta. New to me. It's Italian-made but the brand belongs to a NW American coffee equipment supply and service business. It's very easy to make excellent espresso with this machine.

It replaced a machine we regretted every time we used it, an ECM Casa V, in which the v is the number of ways in which its design is a failure.

That overpriced POS replaced a Rancilio Silvia that had served us for very many years. I had added an after-market PID kit with thermocouple and electronic really. After that it was easy to make excellent espresso on that machine.

I suppose there are two important lessons here.

1.Making good espresso coffee is very difficult. In the USA I've seldom encountered it away from my home in 27 years living here. And it's not required for the popular milky mixed drinks.

2 Avoid ECM. I sold that machine for happily for $250 to a young new enthusiast with a long list of cautions.

Edit to add a third lesson. Get a properly-engineered computer temperature control system. The Diletta's is good but I miss some of the intelligent behaviors of the controller I gave Silvia.
 
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ryanosaur

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Salt is 'suppressing' the bitterness by overpowering it (again s/n) but also causes other problems both with the palette, as well as w/the other flavors... we went thru this salt-problem in this thread! And I think we subjectively agreed, back then.:)
I absolutely disagree. Salt does not suppress bitterness by "overpowering" bitter compounds. Rather Sodium ions (and Lithium, as well) chemically block to varying effect different bitter compounds from binding to taste receptors.

Salt and Sour flavors have a synergistic quality where they can enhance each other, or slightly mask the other. (In the kitchens I was always taught to add a little salt if there was too much acid and vice versa.)
(Sugar is tricky as it will mask salt (have worked in kitchens where sugary beverages were banned!). Salt and Tannic foods have an antagonizing effect in that the tannins will amplify the sodium quite significantly.)

As with all things, there is a point of no return: too much of any single flavor on the palette is just too much. For salt, I also have a strong suspicion that personal body chemistry will alter your perception of salt in that if you have a low sodium level, your body will tell you to consume more, but if you have a high sodium level, you will feel too much salt very readily. As I understand it, too much Sodium trips both the Sour and Bitter receptors on our tongues simultaneously.
It is also possible to train your palette to a certain salt level. Again in the kitchens we were always pushed to salt right up to the boundary of overkill. There is a wonderful mechanism that Sodium activates in our palettes where an aspect of "mouthfeel" is triggered. This is not the same mouthfeel as the unctuousness of fat or gelatin, but the augmentation of other flavinoids and how we interpret them over the entire surface of out mouths.
Once you get the feel for that level of seasoning in your food, it is difficult to go back. It is not a "taste" profile alone that is missing when one dials back their salt consumption from a fine dining properly-seasoned food perspective.

An interesting experiment is to make a flavor set using sugar water in one cup, salt water in another, Umami water using MSG, Distilled White Vinegar, and a solution of a caffeine pill in water.
Taste each one by themselves to get the full brunt of each pure flavor.
Then experiment by mixing different flavors together.

Cheers!
 

ryanosaur

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Crusade ranting is a noble cause!

I had done some investigative research, when I found out that StarBucks became capable of pulling Ristretto shots from their newer machines (about a decade ago, or so...?)
At the time, I hadn't a clue what Ristretto shot really entailed and what its claim to name was about.
So, I asked and asked and asked again. Each answer by the *$'s baristas was different.
Needing to dig a bit deeper to get a confirmation as to wtf a Ristretto shot really was; I did a web deep-dive, for an answer: Different source(s) but the same misinformation.
So: To complete my investigative polling with additional data points; I'll ask you for your definition of what makes "Ristretto" different than a regular espresso shot.
Not that your expert Barista definition is going to change what my tongue' papillae are telling me but...:D
The way I learned it is that a Ristretto is half the volume of a standard single shot of espresso.

So a Single Espresso is technically about 7-8g of coffee yielding anywhere from 21-28g in 30 sec. A full ounce is really the goal, but some shops call 21g a "shot."
A double dose is usually around 16-18g of coffee. A "triple" dose would be maxing out between 20-22g which are the largest baskets I have come across (and which makes sense assuming the single dose of coffee is 7g).

The complicated part is that traditionally, a double espresso would also yield twice as much liquid, but should still be pulled in 30 seconds. ...So a 2 ounce pull, which I have never seen in a third-wave coffee shop.

Now, enter Ristretto. Meaning restricted or narrow, as an Espresso drink, you would pull half the volume of the single shot (7-8g of coffee), commonly seen now as 14g yield in 30 seconds. The way I always learned to do this is to fine the grind to yield half the volume.

Some sources go as far as saying a Ristretto would be 1:1 ratio... Frankly, I have never seen this in practice either.

Complicating things again (further?, some more still? ;) ) is a general misunderstanding (perhaps) of whether a Ristretto should always be a 14g yield, or if it should always be a 1:2 ratio of coffee to yield.
(If the latter, the implication is that a Double Ristretto should be a full ounce beverage at 28g from 14g of coffee.)

Thus I have detailed a complete bastardization ond likely breakdown in how we define TWO different aspects of Espresso: The DOSE (and I will come back to this) and what is RISTRETTO.

If you apply my stated parameters and previous discussion about how I arrived at those as my House Style (20g dose, 14g yield, 30 sec) you may see that I am in one manner serving a triple ristretto in that I am using a "triple" dose (20g) and yielding about 14g in 30 sec. Obviously this assumes the yield at 14g is the most important characteristic and not a particular ratio of dose to yield.
If taken the other way where a ratio is more important, then assuming a 1:2 ratio is correct, a single ristretto should be 14g, a double ristretto should be 28g...

Another complication: how do you achieve this? As mentioned earlier, I use the method of fining the grind to extract 14g in 30 sec. Other variations I have seen involve pulling a normal shot but only doing so in half the time (15 sec); pulling a normal shot but only keeping half the volume by throwing some of the shot away, or variations of these.

Now the reason behind ristretto: By only extracting such a small amount of the potential shot, you are leaving the less desired flavor characteristics behind. Usually, a proper ristretto is described more often as "sweeter" than an espresso, and often times more concentrated. Most sources agree that the more bitter compounds in coffee extract towards the end.

Fun experiment: The Rainbow. Set yourself up with 6 clear shot glasses for a 30 second pull. Pull a shot and switch glasses every 5 seconds, timing from the first drop. Look, smell, taste... Enjoy. :) This process allows you to dissect an espresso shot by time, so to speak. you will not only experience different flavor profiles, but they should show different coloration, too.
 

ryanosaur

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So let's talk Dose and how to Order Espresso at a Cafe. :) Many cafes today are using Double Doses. Likewise, many cafes are pulling their shots at around 21g. I've also seen 28g, but those cafes are seemingly less popular around these here parts. Some will say "all shots are double," or even "all shots are double ristretto."
And when you order an Espresso you get a single "menu-item" espresso by however they define it.
If you ask for a Double, you get a brief conversation about how they pull Double Shots. God forbid you ask for a triple! :rolleyes: "Well, we pull double's here, so we can give you half a shot to make a triple..." says the smarmy aspiring-barista counter jockey. *Smack!
As the customer, if I ask for a double _____ at the counter, I want two menu-item espressos in that drink. A triple is 3 and a quad is 4... menu-item espressos added.

I don't know how many times this has happened to me. A lot, though. Enough that there is an obvious disconnect in how employees of coffee shops seem to be taught how to interact poorly with the customers.

Has anybody else experienced this at a Non-Chain cafe? (I NEVER order espresso at places like Starbucks or Petes, so I cannot speak for their policies.)

Any thoughts on whether it is appropriate to lecture guests on what a double is to the coffee shop vs what a double is to the paying customer?

;)
 

pseudoid

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Traditions in espresso making and drinking seem to have changed over the decades:
I think it was the early 1990s, where you had to question a barista whether they pulled "Long" or "Short" shots. Some baristas hadn't a clue what you were talking about.
Then, in early 2000s, where the baristas turned into demi-robots and La Marzocco practically automated the whole espresso process; and taking the art out of pulling shots.
Later, in the 2010s, ristretto pulling machines started appearing in the StarBucks chains... while the baristas were out to lunch or studying for their finals...
Heaven forbid, if you dared to order ristretto shots; you knew the barista was going to turn deaf and not understand what that Italian word was.:eek:
I think it was the mid 2010s, I would ask every StarBucks barista what a "ristretto" was: Answers were constructive, to say the least.
Some baristas would shrug their shoulders and point to some button on their machines. Some made it sound like a it was not a 'long' shot; others would say it was the 'lack of crema' << which kinda makes it a 'short' shot [?] as you accurately describe but they are clooless about.

It don't matter much what the definition of a ristretto shot really is!
I think it has been said that the crema part (the bubblies) supposed to have the most concentration of the bitterness.
I connected the dots between what ristretto supposed to be (based on above gathered factoids), in a round-about way.
But again, it don't matter much what the definition of a ristretto shot really is!

IMHO; ristretto is a less bitter shot BUT also seems to lack some of the other flavors (robustness) of a 'regular' pull.
My subjective preference leans more to the belief that salt may indeed interact with the bitterness (for the better or worse).
Unfortunately, salt also interacts with every other flavor AND your palette's ability to taste flavors other than salt and no matter how little amount is introduced...
 

ryanosaur

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@pseudoid
You managed to get the most communicative and cohesive thought process out me in those posts. As long as the Lady doesn't see how chatty I been with some internet person, I'll be fine! :p

I agree. Overall, even today, coffee definitions are fairly bastardized and inconsistent if not downright incoherent. My taste in Espresso was formed by a small group of Barista at the old-school Blue Bottle in SF, prior to their sale to nestle.
For me, a Ristretto approach is the only way I want to take my Espresso. There are many shops that DO NOT do it right which is an abject shame. You would think in the concept of what Third Wave was/is in Coffee that more people would be on the same page in how to do it.
If you stumble on the right cafe and a good Barista, you will have a shot to remember. While I have never been to LaMill cafes in the LA area, I do get their beans and have been absolutely stoked with the experience. ;)
 

Ifrit

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One or two cups at home a day, made in cezve. Turkish or some variation. To my taste I have had good espresso only a handful of times (made by aquaintances or baristas) and too lazy to get into it myself, so usually stay away from it.
Regular beans as of now are Maromas.
 

pseudoid

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If you stumble on the right cafe and a good Barista, you will have a shot to remember. While I have never been to LaMill cafes in the LA area, I do get their beans and have been absolutely stoked with the experience.
Aim your car south to Portola Coffee Roasters in CostaMesa. About a decade ago, they were winning the Nationals... I stopped going there, when they refused to serve me a quad-shots w/25grams of steamed whole-milk... I think I may have insulted the intelligence of a barista...:(
One or two cups at home a day, made in cezve. Turkish or some variation.
Hi @Ifrit, how about a few photos to entertain us with? Please...
 

Doodski

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Aim your car south to Portola Coffee Roasters in CostaMesa. About a decade ago, they were winning the Nationals... I stopped going there, when they refused to serve me a quad-shots w/25grams of steamed whole-milk... I think I may have insulted the intelligence of a barista...:(

Hi @Ifrit, how about a few photos to entertain us with? Please...
I researched quad shots on google and that's like ~300mg of caffeine. I had a pint of very strong coffee @ home and after 45 minutes I vomited a lot from the caffeine overdose. I can handle a venti dark roast at Starbucks @~470mg of caffeine but my home brew is really potent.
 

gags11

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Interesting thread that feels close.

To any of you that have tried lots of different coffee beans.

In recent years, I tried exploring beans from different places. I tried several highly online rated coffees. However, I seem to gravitate back to Starbucks French roast from Costco.

I have been kind of disappointed that all these niche coffee brands have not been able to come close to the above-mentioned Starbucks.

Just to clarify, most other coffee I’ve tried recently are bitter, sour or both, nothing like the rich aroma of the cheap Costco Starbucks.

In case wondering, I grind my coffee and drink pour over.
 

pseudoid

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I researched quad shots on google and that's like ~300mg of caffeine. I had a pint of very strong coffee @ home and after 45 minutes I vomited a lot from the caffeine overdose. I can handle a venti dark roast at Starbucks @~470mg of caffeine but my home brew is really potent.
It's like my 'energy drink' (RedBull type) in the morning and every morning. IF (the big if) 9 out of 10 doctors recommended to stop caffeine intake because it causes dimentia :: I may just continue drinking it! :cool: I can be drinking a few demi-tasse of Turkish kahve and go to sleep in an hour.
OT?:
...The Typica group, like all Arabica coffee, is supposed to have originated in southwestern Ethiopia. Sometime in the 15th or 16th century, it was taken to Yemen. By 1700, seeds from Yemen were being cultivated in India. In 1696 and 1699, coffee seeds were sent from the Malabar coast of India to the island of Batavia (today called Java in Indonesia). These few seeds were the ones to give rise to what we now know as the distinct Typica variety. In 1706 a single Typica coffee plant was taken from Java to Amsterdam and given a home in the botanical gardens; from there, a plant was shared with France in 1714... From <https://varieties.worldcoffeeresearch.org/varieties/typica>
 
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