Some days Gwilym drops by for a chat and coffee, and now and then breaks my head a bit: Now, the ‘rules’ say that you are supposed to drink your espresso quickly. Everyone knows this. You stand at the bar, you drink it down as fresh as you can for maximum delicousness.
I never really liked hot espresso (well – espresso that was too hot because either the cup was unpleasantly hot or the shot had run too quickly), and I liked it a little cooler but I still tend to drink it pretty soon after brewing. Gwilym was just sat there, letting the tasty shot I had pulled go cold….
We began talking about it and he said that lately he’s really been enjoying his espresso a lot more when it has gone pretty much cold. In my head I struggled to rationalise this. Apparently he’s not alone – he said he’d been talking to Jason at Market Lane about it, and they both agreed that while a slightly underextracted shot was ok when hot – truth was revealed in a cold espresso and proper brews tasted really good, while poor extractions became undrinkable.
I let my next shot go cold. It was seriously, shockingly tasty. Acres of sweetness, lovely clarity of flavour, the acidity hadn’t crashed and turned on me – it was juicy in a good way. It looked awful – the crema had dissipated, it looked flat and unloved. But it tasted good.
Chatting to Tim Styles later about the same thing we replicated the little experiment and it really was delicious. I strongly suggest people try this – but if it does turn nasty on cooling I’d suggest it might be a little underextracted (those who can also measure please check as well – I’d be interested on your views on this too).
This might not be earth shattering to many people, but it was certainly surprising to me. I’d learned early on the importance of never letting espresso sit, but had never questioned it because (from my limited early experiences) it seemed to be the case. So, another assumption destroyed and something new learned! I quite like how often this happens in this industry – it feels like you are getting somewhere….