Very low temp espresso and surprising texture

elusive espresso... theorize, philosophize!

Very low temp espresso and surprising texture

Postby James Hoffmann on Thu Sep 27, 2007 9:21 am

Has anyone else ever experimented with very low brewing temps - around 80C/175F?

I was stuck using an LM that was very unloved, and the espresso wasn't that sour but had this very thick, very creamy texture. No top notes, but all body. I dug the scace out and it was running at 79C-80C. There have been a few times that I've pulled shots on machines still heating and had the same mouthfeel.

My (very uneducated guess) is that it is too low a temp to fully extract the acids, though is enough pressure to wash out plenty of the soluble material and fines that give it the mouthfeel.

Anyone tried this? Thoughts?
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Postby Jim Schulman on Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:23 am

I believe it. Cold brewed coffee also has big mouth feel and no acidity. Some people love it dearly.

Probably nothing for coffee lovers, but toddy-espresso could be a big hit for the latte crowd.
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Postby James Hoffmann on Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:33 am

In an odd way the espresso is really quite pleasant. If I could get the same mouthfeel with the full range of aromatics/flavours and a little more sweet then I'd probably be a lot more in love with espresso...
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Postby Mike Paras on Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:40 am

Water Temperature:
Everyone we tested, from coffee lovers to professional
coffee tasters, preferred coffee brewed with the water
temperature between 165 and 175o F (75 to 80o C).
Lower temperature water makes a smoother brew.

from the aeropress instructions.



please don't revoke my coffeed membership!
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Postby onocoffee on Thu Sep 27, 2007 11:56 am

Mike Paras wrote:please don't revoke my coffeed membership!



Aeropress is to Clover as Thorn is to Side...
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Postby Jim Schulman on Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:08 pm

Mike Paras wrote:
Water Temperature:
Everyone we tested, from coffee lovers to professional
coffee tasters, preferred coffee brewed with the water
temperature between 165 and 175o F (75 to 80o C).
Lower temperature water makes a smoother brew.

from the aeropress instructions.


Another diplomatic way of saying "9 out of 10 people who hate coffee love cold brewed toddy"
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Postby Rich Westerfield on Thu Sep 27, 2007 4:12 pm

onocoffee wrote:
Mike Paras wrote:please don't revoke my coffeed membership!



Aeropress is to Clover as Thorn is to Side...


Any coffee, any grinder, any $30 plastic tube...
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Postby Mark Prince on Thu Sep 27, 2007 5:34 pm

Rich Westerfield wrote:
onocoffee wrote:
Mike Paras wrote:please don't revoke my coffeed membership!



Aeropress is to Clover as Thorn is to Side...


Any coffee, any grinder, any $30 plastic tube...


Only if it has a metal filter.

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Re: Very low temp espresso and surprising texture

Postby Andy Schecter on Fri Sep 28, 2007 3:58 am

James Hoffmann wrote:Has anyone else ever experimented with very low brewing temps - around 80C/175F?


Oh, c'mon James, everyone knows that good espresso can only be made at 203.5F +/- 0.2F. ;-)

BTW, pulled two shots of Hairbender this morning at 175F. They were heavy, round, with a trace of pleasant nippiness. Not bad at all.
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Postby jepy on Fri Sep 28, 2007 9:30 am

I've found this as well. It seems to me there's a whole other world of flavors and textures when playing with temp and or pressures. Lately my temp profiler is set at a low of 160 F and a high anywhere from 192F to 201 F, and I'm always experimenting with where in the shot the temp slides down, and how far.

What I've found is I like to start the slide early in darker roasts, and later in lighter
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Postby Oliver on Fri Sep 28, 2007 1:55 pm

Amazing results I never would have dreamed you could get something drinkable at this temperature. Body is so fluffy or whipped really nice. Acidity is there but less dynamic and pronounced. Flavor of the blend is very different than what I'm used to or atleast what I look for in this coffee. I love breaking the rules, its so fun.
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Postby James Hoffmann on Fri Sep 28, 2007 1:58 pm

I still don't quite understand the texture but it is very good - very creamy/buttery but quite light. Anyone tried any lower?
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Postby Jaime van Schyndel on Fri Sep 28, 2007 3:03 pm

Yes, quite a bit actually before moving on. Pulling shots sub 200F down to the 170s. At that temp, you probably should begin walking higher and you might find a balance where some more high/mid tones appear but it is highly profile dependent. It's easy to mellow everything out using a low temp but with the right roast, there are some interesting experiences to be had.

OTH Heat exchangers would lose boiler pressure at lower temps and many home machines simply could not pull that shot without a huge uncontrolled variance in temp through the pull. Choosing a low espresso temp is a ridiculous idea for any aspiring to be big commercial roaster because they would effectively cut off most of the consumer market (and many whole sale accounts) from being able to pull acceptable shots.
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Postby tim on Sat Sep 29, 2007 9:43 am

On my opening day, one of my groups were set to 50 degrees C by mistake. It tasted horrible of metal and felt like I was licking a battery and electro shocking my tongue.
Not recommended !
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Postby K.C. O'Keefe on Sat Sep 29, 2007 10:43 am

James, I remember Kyle theorizing about the need lower temperatures for brighter coffees.

In our coffee bar in Lima we are limited to washed Peruvian coffees; and we are using a relatively lighter roast profile . . . we bumped the temp down to the 85-90 C range and are getting the best sweetness articulation, and yes a creamy crema. The acidity is markedly lower, and we have a bit more volume; almost the full 2 oz in 23 seconds with a bit ligither chocolate color as opposed to burgondy.

While I'm very new to espresso I have enjoyed the taste of this change in our scenario, far more than the higher temps.
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Postby MarkG on Sat Sep 29, 2007 5:55 pm

We've been messing about with a Toddy lately; huge body, no notes. Just a big wall of .... well, nothing .. sort of :?

Having read this thread, I'm half tempted to start messing with the temps on the L'Anna tomorrow, but will probably settle with cooler water and the Aeropress.
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Postby Duck on Fri Oct 05, 2007 11:24 am

By way of outing myself, when I first opened Espresso dell'Anatra in 2003, we ran for the first three months brewing around 170 F. Keep in mind that my whole staff and I had all come from the big green machine and they don't really go over little details like that. I do remember that the shots had ridiculous amounts of really thick crema. All we tasted were the lower register flavors of chocolate, molasses and bruleed caramel. It was so much better than what we had been drinking, we thought it was great stuff. Then I entered my first Barista Competition and spent quite a bit of time with my roaster (PT's Coffee). Their shots of the same espresso were completely different. So I went back to my machine, played around, read some stuff, talked to some other good baristas around town, called in a tech and VIOLA! My biggest one-day quality swing to date.

We learned a LOT during that time and as a result of that experience though. Good times. I laugh about it now, but it was things like that that made me love and wonder about coffee all the more.


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Re: Very low temp espresso and surprising texture

Postby Eton on Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:15 pm

im brewing our current organic espresso at 165F (at the group head). I started temp profiling at 202 and dialed it down by taste all the way to 165... go figure. I noted that at hotter temps the espresso was salty and as i cooled it off the salt went away and left a super sweet shot. I also realized that the body became smoother and softer feeling on the palate.
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Re: Very low temp espresso and surprising texture

Postby Jason Haeger on Wed Feb 20, 2008 1:10 pm

165? That's very interesting.

This is getting me curious again.
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Re: Very low temp espresso and surprising texture

Postby Jaime van Schyndel on Wed Feb 20, 2008 1:59 pm

Eton wrote:im brewing our current organic espresso at 165F (at the group head). I started temp profiling at 202 and dialed it down by taste all the way to 165... go figure. I noted that at hotter temps the espresso was salty and as i cooled it off the salt went away and left a super sweet shot. I also realized that the body became smoother and softer feeling on the palate.


Are you making the assumption the 'salty' flavor is origin flavor or are you leaving room that it might be roast issues?
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Re: Very low temp espresso and surprising texture

Postby Eton on Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:08 am

it could be a roast or origin issue (most likely roast since the coffee doesn't cup salty at all). I don't understand how and or why saltiness appears in espresso... all i know is that when i dialed down the temp it went away and tasted good. A funny thing is that recently this espresso has not been salty at all even with higher brew temps (HX machines). This makes me believe it was a roast issue or possibly an aging green thing. I have no idea and it makes my head hurt to think about it. :D However... for future reference dialing down water temp will be the 1st thing i do with salty espresso.

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Re: Very low temp espresso and surprising texture

Postby stormer on Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:25 pm

Eton wrote:I don't understand how and or why saltiness appears in espresso...


Nor do I, but if you'll humor me while I hypothesize:

There are many flavors that we associate with various metals. Does this mean that we are really tasting the metal? Not necessarily; it seems to me that we are actually tasting compounds which usually only develop with that metal as a catalyst. Maybe "saltiness" is not a sign of salt but rather an unusual concentration of compounds which usually only develop in the presence of salt.

Does this make sense?
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Re: Very low temp espresso and surprising texture

Postby Jason Haeger on Sun Feb 24, 2008 12:10 pm

stormer wrote:
Eton wrote:I don't understand how and or why saltiness appears in espresso...


Nor do I, but if you'll humor me while I hypothesize:

There are many flavors that we associate with various metals. Does this mean that we are really tasting the metal? Not necessarily; it seems to me that we are actually tasting compounds which usually only develop with that metal as a catalyst. Maybe "saltiness" is not a sign of salt but rather an unusual concentration of compounds which usually only develop in the presence of salt.

Does this make sense?

Yes it does, and I've had "phantom salt" syndrome last for days at a time from an off batch of coffee.

Conversely, I have also had coffees that don't have a "phantom salt" sensation, but rather, a "salty" sensation. This flavor, however, was not a "stand alone" flavor, but an aspect of a much larger picture that mimicked saltwater taffy at first, and finished as peanut butter. The salt never left, and it was only enhanced by adding a pinch of sugar to the cup. (two separate cups. One with sugar, one without.)

Is it roast? Possibly. Is it origin? Possibly.

Is there a good way to separate these varying "types" of saltiness? I'd like to hope so.
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Re: Very low temp espresso and surprising texture

Postby Kyle Larson on Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:57 pm

This morning we tried pulling some Hair Bender at a very low temperature. We were pulling around 180 F at the boiler, so I'm just going to guess it was at approx. 175 at the grouphead(which brings up another interesting question: the heat loss between boiler to group head at super low temps).

Anyways, I wasn't crazy at all about the taste. The mouthfeel was quite heavy, but with a blend as lively as Hair Bender, I really did not enjoy much about it. Plus, we had just finished a tasting at several very high temperatures, and our palettes were still ringing with refreshing acidity.

Regardless of the taste, I think this is a very interesting exercise, and I'm hoping to try it again on some coffee that is very old(7-10 days) and some coffee that is very fresh(2-4 days).
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