rotor Senior Member Joined: 13 May 2007 Posts: 113 Location: Albany,OR. Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: WTS: Rancilio, Silvia Grinder: Rocky
Posted Sun Jul 27, 2008, 3:26pm Subject: Re: Sugar in portafilter
It can't hurt. It's a food item. Try brown sugar. If you can put strong detergents through, you can put any food item through it. The only thing I would do is flush out both directions just because of the stickyness. I'm working on an Irish coffee and that would be a good step Maybe put the sugar in first and the coffee on top. Maybe a dash of nutmeg on top of the sugar. Sounds good to me.
fredfal Senior Member Joined: 24 Jun 2005 Posts: 348 Location: Broadway, NC Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Brewtus II, Linea Grinder: Mazzer Mini E/B, WBC K10 Drip: Bodum pour-over Roaster: Behmor
Posted Sun Jul 27, 2008, 10:08pm Subject: Re: Sugar in portafilter
I'm just thinking here, but if you put sugar in your portafilter (especially first, before the coffee) wouldn't that sugar very quickly dissolve in the 200F-ish water and leave a void in your puck as the sugar/water/coffee liquid passes to the cup?
I don't imagine that would be good for the extraction process.
So, I MAY think that putting sugar on top of the puck may be a good idea, but then the water passing through the coffee would be pretty saturated with sugar (I'd be pulling my shot with simple syrup, right?). I'm sure that'd have some sort of adverse effect on how much coffee is extracted from the puck and carried to the cup. Not liking that option either.
What if I put some sugar in the bottom of my espresso cup? Now I'm getting that nice sweet taste I was seeking and I'm not messing with a ton of unknown variables in my espresso process (a process that has enough unknown variables already).
I'd go with sugar in the cup if you like sugar in your espresso.
Posted Sun Jul 27, 2008, 10:37pm Subject: Re: Sugar in portafilter
You might want to at least do a quick backflush with at least plain water after a shot with sugar in the portafilter, but I was also thinking you might be able to make a simple syrup (water and sugar syrup) and "preinfuse" the puck with the syrup before pulling the shot so that there's no void created by sugar dissolving. Just a thought. I usually just pull the shots into a pitcher or cup with sugar and stir as it's pouring to get that nice foamy layer similar to Cuban coffee.
From what I've observed, the dissolving sugar does seem to mess up the shot. Wouldn't the drink taste better with a good shot? What if you sprinkled the sugar on top of the tamped puck instead of mixing it in with the grounds? Is there a flavor benefit from having the sugar brewed at 9 bar?
From what I've read a cubano traditionally is an espresso shot with the sugar in the portafilter along with the grounds. Whether the sugar would foul up a three way I couldn't say. I tried a cubano with sugar in the grounds a few times and what I found is the sugar messed up the extraction. I think sugar, before it dissolves, is too coarse and encourages channelling.
For cubanos I put the sugar in the espresso cup, extract the espresso on top and while the crema is still thick stir the sugar in. It's a popular alternative to sugar in the grounds.
espressobomb Senior Member Joined: 25 Jun 2008 Posts: 17 Location: Greater GR Area, Michigan Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Dual Grinder: A few Vac Pot: Yumm... Drip: I like drip Roaster: i-Roast2, Behmor
Posted Fri Aug 1, 2008, 10:23am Subject: Re: Sugar in portafilter
I have tried putting a layer of raw sugar in the bottom of my naked basket - then dosing and tamping over that. I did not have any adverse effects such as channeling. Only played with it a couple of times though, not enough to have a good feel for the effects. Steve
CaffeCaffe Senior Member Joined: 27 Oct 2003 Posts: 95 Location: Fort Worth, TX Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Livia 90 Auto Grinder: Rocky
Posted Sun Aug 3, 2008, 10:12am Subject: Re: Sugar in portafilter
I was introduced to this method near Naples/Salerno area many years ago. The guy at the bar ask me if I wanted zucchero. I thought he was going to put it in the cup but he put it in the pf. I really don't think it made much difference in taste. If your machine has good pressure go for it.
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