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Espresso Shot Expiration - myth or true?
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bryttani4357
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Joined: 13 Mar 2014
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Location: Seattle, WA
Expertise: Pro Barista

Posted Thu Mar 13, 2014, 4:53pm
Subject: Espresso Shot Expiration - myth or true?
 

I've been working at this cafe in the Seattle area for several years. All of our proceeds go to charity so several of our workers are either current or former employees at various coffee places, several current Starbucks employees, several with many years of coffee stand experience, some with boutique coffee experience who roast their own beans. Our cafe has our own policies made by those former and above me, probably inspired by a mixture of all that various experience.

We have this one policy not to serve a black shot. Black being, after it's been sitting longer than about 10 seconds, when the body and heart from the crema-body-heart model (not sure if Starbucks model) has dissipated. Crema still there of course, that would take forever to dissipate, I think, without disturbing it. Policy is to hold the shot while it's "good" with something milk-based, or if it's a doppio or something to serve it asap. I've heard this don't-serve-if-after-10ish-seconds thing all over places I've been. I've never been fully trained on the dissipation phenomenon but I learned it had to do with oxidization.

Anyway, we got a new guy who's been trained at a new Seattle boutique shop and roastery (no coffee experience prior to his month-long intense training at his job in January) and he said they said black shots are fine and it's a common myth. Since he said his work said so, and they're a new boutique roastery with great reviews, I'm willing to put something into this claim. So what's really true? Does it impact taste? I tried researching and read the "they do it in pouring competitions" explanation, but I don't think that counts because those are meant for art purposes not necessarily for serving.

Thanks so much in advance. I've always wanted to quell this rumor if anyone knows for sure. I feel I've come to the right place. :)

bryttani4357: Good Bad shot.png
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frcn
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frcn
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Posted Thu Mar 13, 2014, 9:59pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Shot Expiration - myth or true?
 

Just taste them side by side and you decide.
Espresso is a food. I swear. It really is.

I will guess: Some of these folks are use to working in shops that over-roast their coffee. The crema masks the true flavor of the espresso, which was "roast" and not so much coffee. Heat also masks flavors.  Their espresso was marginal to begin with, and if left to sit around, cool, and have the crema dissipate, and then be actually tasted, they decided that it tasted bad BECAUSE it sat, and could not see that it was just not good espresso.

 
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z0mbie
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z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
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Posted Fri Mar 14, 2014, 2:06am
Subject: Re: Espresso Shot Expiration - myth or true?
 

Great post. :)

BTW,  good is good at any (drinkable) temperature.  That's how I know my coffee is good.
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dana_leighton
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Posted Fri Mar 14, 2014, 4:46am
Subject: Re: Espresso Shot Expiration - myth or true?
 

bryttani4357 Said:

I've heard this don't-serve-if-after-10ish-seconds thing all over places I've been.

Posted March 13, 2014 link

James Hoffmann's blog post on letting espresso cool is instructive here.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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stefano65
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Posted Fri Mar 14, 2014, 7:22am
Subject: Re: Espresso Shot Expiration - myth or true?
 

One test we used to do years back was:
pull shot
place a small spoonful of sugar (you know Italians like it sweet)
on the crema and see HOW long it takes to sink

but as Randy says taste is the final word

 
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takeshi
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Posted Fri Mar 14, 2014, 12:51pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Shot Expiration - myth or true?
 

bryttani4357 Said:

So what's really true? Does it impact taste? I tried researching

Posted March 13, 2014 link

Have you tried tasting?
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SproBro
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Joined: 11 Feb 2014
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Location: Topeka, KS
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Posted Fri Mar 14, 2014, 6:09pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Shot Expiration - myth or true?
 

If you drink the shot strait off the machine like that, the texure and thus the way it hits your palate will be different. I read this yesterday and made some observations after drinking a couple shots like this today because I hadn't considered it.

Strait out of the machine with it 90% crema-ness it tastes very light, some balance, but not terribly lucious. I also tried letting it seperate out and stirred it, and noticed a marked increase in temperature - not that it was any hotter, just seemed like I noticed it more. The biggest difference with this limited test I found was, the solids seemed to be better distributed in terms of mouthfeel (heavier), and the overall flavor was better balanced with the settled shot.

Read that blog post, I've never let my espresso sit to room, I guess I"m way too much of an eager beaver for that :3
A shop I go to uses a paddle machine so it is not volumetric, and measure via shot glass. They then pour it into the espresso glass. I Like this because the different parts of the shot get mixed without me having to do it, but sometimes it is nice to contemplate on the flavor of the different layers too. Variety is one of the biggest things I love about coffee.
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
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Posted Fri Mar 14, 2014, 10:32pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Shot Expiration - myth or true?
 

Good points, SproBro. Taste is subjective, to be sure. The OP was saying that they automatically toss the shot when it separates because they consider it bad. I agree with you based on just "tasting the text." I think we can agree that it tastes different, but I have been licking my monitor all afternoon and it tastes the same..   ;-)

 
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