Recently at our shops, the managers have been discussing the myths of how to "save" a shot while finishing your milk steaming.  I heard so many different ways over the years: if you add the fresh shot to the flavor in the cup; if you add milk to it (steamed or unsteamed) or hot water, etc.  

 

Has anyone found any of this to be true? I know that the best policy is to have your milk finish at the same time as your shots... but there might be someone else out there who makes there drinks on a regular basis using this rule.  Can we clear the air on this?! 

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Good link Brady, i love that thread! I used to think espresso expired too, but I also thought all espresso tasted like sh@#(probably because it did). So it was hard for distinguish between a shot that "went bad" and one that was fresh, and since i was a newb I trusted the people with more experience than me.

 

Im thinking an "older" shot might even taste better in a milk drink, because the creama will have dissipated so it wont be the first thing you taste(generally theres a ring of creama around the rim of the cup).

 

I might try this tomorrow for fun!

 

I thought this topic seemed familiar.  I chimed in on more than one occasion in the thread Brady linked.  Consider this a +1 for that thread.

I can just imagine the training session where the trainer has the new baristas try a good shot vs one that has expired. Good support for the value of blind tasting :)

Dustin DeMers said:

Good link Brady, i love that thread! I used to think espresso expired too, but I also thought all espresso tasted like sh@#(probably because it did). So it was hard for distinguish between a shot that "went bad" and one that was fresh, and since i was a newb I trusted the people with more experience than me.

 

Im thinking an "older" shot might even taste better in a milk drink, because the creama will have dissipated so it wont be the first thing you taste(generally theres a ring of creama around the rim of the cup).

 

I might try this tomorrow for fun!

 

{posted this reply on the wrong thread originally...}

I had my conventions challenged years ago about this topic, and perhaps it runs a bit deeper than "an espresso shot goes bad after XX seconds," or whatever time parameter is specified. Long and short is the effect (affect?...I can hear my 7 grade English teacher's disdain for me now) the crema has on the aroma and balance of the shot.  After many trials (for most blends I have tried) I prefer to stir in the crema and let it rest for a minute before drinking.  Some really unpleasant shots that were sipped with a thick layer of crema on top became quite enjoyable and memorable after stirring. 

 

As I recommend to in most situations in the coffee/barista world (such as the recent debate on if floating shots on top of an americano was better), and in this case, make a few drinks allowing the espresso to rest for various amounts of time and then give them a taste.   Does one stand out, does one fail, do angels descend and sing in chorus on another?  It is all part of the fun.

So, for lattes and capps, do we agree that it's still best practice to steam while the shot is pulling and pour into that just extracted shot?  

 

The espresso in a capp certainly does change quite a bit and often for the better for some minutes after extraction.  But it still seems like it'd be best to serve it at the beginning of it's lifespan.  At least it seems (to me) faster to get drinks out that way than to wait until the espresso is done before starting on milk.

Yes.  Absolutely.  This is implied by the name "espresso".  

James Tooill said:

So, for lattes and capps, do we agree that it's still best practice to steam while the shot is pulling and pour into that just extracted shot?  

 

The espresso in a capp certainly does change quite a bit and often for the better for some minutes after extraction.  But it still seems like it'd be best to serve it at the beginning of it's lifespan.  At least it seems (to me) faster to get drinks out that way than to wait until the espresso is done before starting on milk.

What do you think of these responses Jessica?

Thanks for all the feedback everyone!  I myself feel like just pulling the shot and steaming the milk at the same time is the most effective way to produce one's best drink.  I just was wondering if we were the only ones who had encountered these myths... you never know if there might be some truth to it! :)

Hey when I get questions like this from my employees, or have the same type of questions myself, it's time to do a tasting! Find out how your own espresso reacts to air and/or milk. Taste each different espresso, with milk, without milk, at different times. I would start with a shot that has been sitting for 30 seconds, then a minute, then two. You get the idea; this is the only way to be able to communicate effectively with your customers and staff on the issue.

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