Transition from cream/sugar to black coffee

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
Rjreusch

#1: Post by Rjreusch »

I started drinking coffee with cream and sugar decades ago. Now that I am brewing (V-60) very high end coffee, I'm trying to transition to black. I started by raising the water/coffee ratio which was very low when I used cream and sugar (13.5). I'm not entirely sure how I will perceive these tastes after so long with additives but my first attempts seem disappointing with little fruit or sweetness in the Ethiopian Natural I'm currently brewing. Interestingly, I do get some fruitiness with my cream/sugar method where you might expect those subtle flavors to be covered up. So my starting point (cream/sugar) was a medium/fine grind, 13.5 ratio and about 3-3:15 brew time. 300 grams water. I then kept everything the same except dropped the coffee amount to get 17 ratio (black). It was OK, not overly bitter or sour but a bit boring. If anyone has gone through this process and has hints for me, it would be appreciated. Otherwise I will keep experimenting, probably changing grinds at the 17 ratio both coarser and finer and see where I'm at. Thanks.

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sweaner
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#2: Post by sweaner »

Why not drink it the way you already like it?
Scott
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Rjreusch (original poster)

#3: Post by Rjreusch (original poster) » replying to sweaner »

It's a good question. One is to reduce my sugar and cream intake! Second, I was under the impression that I might be able to appreciate the flavors in really good coffee even more with no cream or sugar. So far that is not the case but I want to more fully investigate and optimize before I give up.

okmed

#4: Post by okmed »

I would brew it at your original 13.5 ratio and then every day reduce your sugar incrementally until you are drinking it with just cream. You can then start reducing the cream.

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Jeff
Team HB

#5: Post by Jeff »

I would agree with easing out the sugar first. I'll go for cream for horrific restaurant or vending machine coffee. Cappuccino is another example of dairy and coffee. The milk fat and subtle sweetness seem a good complement.

As you start to taste different things, you may want to adjust your brew, but I would not jump to any conclusions about how you may enjoy coffee a month or more from now.

ojt

#6: Post by ojt »

Another recommendation for incremental decrease of sugar, then cream. I did this (minus the cream, used milk) at one point. But I was really low on sugar already so I just halved my usual amount and kept that until it was the new normal. Then I dropped milk. Maybe also substitute cream with milk first.

Now milk in coffee often makes me feel bad like after eating something too fatty. Even a well made cappuccino. Now I only add sugar to something brewed with a very dirty moka pot (quite common around here..) etc.
Osku

jpender

#7: Post by jpender »

Or maybe it isn't a matter of acclimatizing to a lack of cream and sugar. Please don't take this the wrong way, but maybe your coffee just isn't that good. It's non-trivial to make good coffee and years of covering it over with cream and sugar wouldn't lead you to figuring out the best ways. If it were me I'd go to cafes that people highly recommend. Depending on where you live you might have to drink a lot of coffees before you get a good one. But it may allow you to see a broader range of possibilities than if you only make coffee yourself.

On the other hand, you might just not like black coffee. People vary in how sensitive they are to the bitterness of coffee.

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VoidedTea

#8: Post by VoidedTea »

In my childhood we always put sugar in out tea. I remember it took me a while to transition to drinking tea without sugar and start appreciating it sugarless taste by gradually reducing sugar amount (probably several months to up to a year). So it might take some patience with coffee as well. I would recommend trying a small piece of chocolate with just black coffee. Not too much, a square should do. I used this trick at the beginning when I ventured into the world of sipping bourbons and whiskies, so might help with coffee too. And I agree, reducing sugar intake is a very important reason to try and switch to a sugarless option.

Rjreusch (original poster)

#9: Post by Rjreusch (original poster) »

jpender wrote:Or maybe it isn't a matter of acclimatizing to a lack of cream and sugar. Please don't take this the wrong way, but maybe your coffee just isn't that good. It's non-trivial to make good coffee and years of covering it over with cream and sugar wouldn't lead you to figuring out the best ways. If it were me I'd go to cafes that people highly recommend. Depending on where you live you might have to drink a lot of coffees before you get a good one. But it may allow you to see a broader range of possibilities than if you only make coffee yourself.

On the other hand, you might just not like black coffee. People vary in how sensitive they are to the bitterness of coffee.
At this point, I'm pretty much assuming my black coffee isn't that good and my goal here was to optimize procedures. So at this point I really don't know whether 1) I need to make adjustments for better coffee or 2) My coffee is already pretty good but I need to get used to the new taste.

All these suggestions are good and I hadn't thought about going to a really good coffee shop to get a better idea what to expect. That may help me decide whether 1 or 2 above (or a little of both) is the main issue. From the suggestions, I will try going back to 13.5 ratio and wean off sugar and then cream. I will try some coffee shop coffees for improved reference points. And, I may fool around with optimizing the 17 ratio as well.
Thanks to all of you.

pizzaman383
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#10: Post by pizzaman383 »

I made this transition. I went from cream and sugar to black with sugar then to black for both drip ans espresso. This let me first deal with the stronger coffee-ness while still sweet then later reducing the sugar. I found that I had to change the coffee I used along the way because the sugar and cream/milk masked flavor that was undesirable when black.
Curtis
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