What does 'bright' flavour descriptor mean?

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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#1: Post by DC »


Forgive my ignorance, but what do people mean when they describe a 'bright' flavour in a coffee? What is it comparable to and where do you taste it? I ask because I am currently drinking Daterra Reserve espresso, and am getting an intense sharpish taste at the front of the tongue that I might describe as bright.... and I'm not sure if it's an inherent flavour of the coffee, or a fault in my preparation. It doesn't quite fit the 'taste flaws' described in Espresso Guide: Barista Technique.

I don't particularly like this taste and I was wondering if there was a way to tame it at all?

Once it passes, the coffee is very good. Beans are 5 days post-roast

Thanks for your time :)

EDIT - for completeness: I am using a 16g dose, and Dan's 2 minute reverse temp surf on Silvia.

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Compass Coffee

#2: Post by Compass Coffee »

I'm no expert but would try pulling the shot a tad cooler.
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)

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#3: Post by TimEggers »

I agree with Mike and I'll also be so bold as to add that the coffee may just need another day or two rest from roasting for the flavor to mellow out. Sometimes it can take anywhere from 5-8 days depending on the roast/blend to balance out.

Another thought is you could try a slightly different dose, but I'd hesitate before starting to change to many things, try a cooler shot first. Good luck!
Tim Eggers
LMWDP #202

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Team HB

#4: Post by another_jim »

"Bright" is usually applied to acidic flavors -- lemony and on the tip of the tongue. There is also a bright or sharp bitterness (like stale ginger or cardamum) that one mostly feels on the roof of ones mouth and middle of the tongue.

Light roasted Daterra should be pulled with classic Italian dosing, 14 gram doubles or 7 gram singles, at a relatively low temperature.
Jim Schulman

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DC (original poster)

#5: Post by DC (original poster) »

Down-dosed to 14g and extended the temp surf to 2 minutes 15 seconds. The 'brightness' has gone completely, and the flavour improvements have been dramatic, so thanks for the advice :)

Unfortunately these lower dose shots never seem to hold together very well in my hands (despite starting evenly they're centre-channeling), so I end up with very short shots.

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Team HB

#6: Post by another_jim »

When you go to lower doses, you should see a longer wait before the coffee appears, and a very slowed down initial flow. If that isn't happening, you'll want to grind a bit finer. Shorter shots are no problem, down dosing is about extracting a higher percentage of the pucks weight, not about weaker espresso. You should pull a little less than when doing 18 grams to keep the in-cup concentration the same.

Peter Lynagh of Terroir advises running a bit of the blonde flow for the Northern Italian; I'm not so sure about this, but it is worth trying.
Jim Schulman