What does "sweet" mean for espresso? - Page 4

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
discsinthesky

#31: Post by discsinthesky »

mathof wrote:I don't recall ever tasting an espresso that was sweet in the sense that honey or maple syrup, for example, is sweet. And I've drunk espresso not only at home but in the highest rated third-wave shops in London, New York and Paris (not to mention all over Italy). The most I can say is that most of the espressos I drink are pulled from light-roasted arabica and, therefore, are absent roasty, bitter notes. But to my mind, the absence of bitterness is not the same as sweetness.
Not sure the comparison to pure sugar is the right barometer to try and define sweetness in espresso. Of course espresso can't match those in the sweetness department (and also, who would want to drink that?), but I have definitely had espresso with clear sweetness in the way a perfectly seasoned meal might incorporate sweetness.

hercdeisel

#32: Post by hercdeisel »

mgrayson wrote:It's truly weird when you pull a sweet shot for the first time. You sip it and think "what the hell am I drinking? This isn't espresso!" But it is, and it's glorious.
This is exactly how I felt!

I also found that a good way to start appreciating espresso flavor and subtlety was actually to slowly work myself down with americanos that had progressively less water. So, if in week 1 I had 2 oz espresso + 3 oz water, the next week I went down to 2+2, to 2+1, to just espresso. That really helped me to taste and recognize flavors without having to worry about worrying too much about the excessive bitterness or acidity that I would generate as I was learning to make espresso at all. I then found that I could later Identify the flavors easier when they were undiluted because I had learned them in a weaker form.

After learning to identify the flavors it is shocking how clear they become once you figure out how to brew espresso which avoids excessive bitterness/acidity that can overwhelm every other taste experience in the cup.

Stanic

#33: Post by Stanic »

mgrayson wrote:It's truly weird when you pull a sweet shot for the first time. You sip it and think "what the hell am I drinking? This isn't espresso!" But it is, and it's glorious.
Matt
Exactly my experience

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lancealot

#34: Post by lancealot »

discsinthesky wrote:Not sure the comparison to pure sugar is the right barometer to try and define sweetness in espresso. Of course espresso can't match those in the sweetness department (and also, who would want to drink that?), but I have definitely had espresso with clear sweetness in the way a perfectly seasoned meal might incorporate sweetness.
After the discussion, i can get behind this kind of sentiment regarding sweetness in espresso. It reminds me of when i make tomato sauce. Tomato sauce tastes primarily of tomatos, but there are acid, bitter, sweet and salty flavors in there too. If the tomatos are just right, these are balanced. Sometimes its too acidic though. My mom taught me to add a pinch of sugar to mellow the acid out. It works in a way that does not give away that there is sugar in it, but it is certainly the sweetness that balances the other flavors.

I think that there is a bit of obsession with sweetness in coffee right now that is weird. The way coffee is described sometimes, it sounds like it is primarily sweet and coffee second. The talk of sweetness reminds me of the bottomless portafilter espresso porn shots that were so ubiquitous before my time.