So, in competition-practice induced overcaffeinated sleep deprivation, I sort of overstated my conclusion in my day two tasting that the quality of brewed espresso doesn’t really change much if it sits around, except for the degrading texture.
I decided this morning to test this further, and designed a new tasting experiment that would eliminate (as much as possible) the differences we already noted: temperature and texture. The idea was to make two lil americanos each from one portafilter spout from the same extraction into 50 grams (+/- 1g) of hot (tho tastably cool) water (each drawn from a water tower just before extraction). One spout poured straight into one americano water,1 the other poured straight into a lil pitcher to be added to he other americano water after 2 mins, at which point both would be tasted.
So, Bryce at Pavement pulled the shots for me – one into 50 grams of water, the other into a lil pitcher.
Then we waited two minutes…
…before adding the reserved shot to the other 50 grams of water, stirring both, and tasting.
Several of us behind the counter at Pavement tasted – most of us multiple times. We redid the experiment three times trying to decide if there were consistent differences in acidity or sweetness or bitterness or balance, and we came to no conclusions on those fronts.
I was so caught up in testing for these variables that I missed what should have been most obvious: the “fresher” cup, the one preserved in water, was significantly more aromatic than the other cup.2 I feel foolish :( of course the aromatic compounds would go first, Wahhhhhhhhh.
If there are other patterns we definitely weren’t able to pick up on them in the few times we repeated the experiment. It might be interesting to try letting the espresso sit longer, and see if other changes become more apparent. I’m sure plenty of people who work in coffee have tried this, right? I feel like I’ve seen some data about this somewhere, but where?
- Presumably, the shot in the water will stay “fresh” longer than the other.
- Elle picked up on this first – yay Elle!