Perceived Acidity: Naked vs. Spout

The other morning I was preparing a shot of espresso, Counter Culture’s Aficionado, in a Naked Portafilter. Recently, I received the bottomless as part of an assembly of training tools I have been putting together. I have not really espoused these gadgets before, but I am not opposed to them. The value as a training tool seems obvious, since the feed back relating todistribution and tamping is immediate. The grinder was very well dialed in that morning, and I prepared theNPF and drew a thick, viscous shot into a demitasse. It was like watching something in slow motion the way the droplets clung onto strands ofcrema, almost refusing to fall off. The surface of the crema in the cup was beautifully mottled with speckled flecks of burnt sienna colored textures. This is the espresso I drink practically every day, and I have become so familiar with the flavor from this machine, with these beans, through these portafilters, that I have lately been craving something new to shake things up on my toungue. I was almost floored by the bright, sharp, brilliant, tangy acidity in this shot. Turning to my co-worker at the shop, I commented on how tangy the espresso was. He concurred that his shot earlier in the Naked PF seemed hyped up with tang. It had notoccurred to me that the NPF was the cause, I thought it was this weeks batch of beans, or the massive humid low pressure that has caused us to use air conditioning in December. But as I thought about it, there seemed to be something to this.

I was just reading a couple days ago about the different acids in coffee. The spectrum of many acids in coffee run from delightful Citric acid to astringentQuinic acid. There can be anywhere from 1%-2% of these acids present in brewed coffee. That not really chump change in terms of overall quantity, it is novinegerette , but it is still a respectable quantity nonetheless. Even with someone who does not consider themselves to have good perception, a good instructor could show them how to determine a high acid coffee from a low acid coffee with relative ease. Looking at the worn down, scrubbed out interior of the spouted portafilter with much exposed brass surface area, I began to imagine acids bubbling away and etching into the molecules that make up the channel through which every drop of the espresso will have to pass over the course of a protracted 25-30 seconds. Are my shot becoming partially neutralized on their way to the cup? Are the precious acids dropping electrons like Britany Spears drops husbands, and babies for that matter?brass

It may be that Naked portafilter shots have more acid, since there is nothing to react with the acids as the espresso falls directly form the basket to the glazed porcelain. It may be that the old portafilter with spouts, the nickle plating a faded shadow of the past, are robbing shots of delicate brightness and eye opening Zip. I do not think ph paper strips would be nearly sensitive enough to measure the relative acid levels in these two types of shots, but I can’t help but wonder about glassy carbon electron probes connected to digital data processing devices with colorful GUIdisplays . Is anyone familiar with studies done on this? If someone has written a thesis for their Masters degree or PhD., I would love to hear about it. I will have to stick to direct comparative taste testing and anecdotal evidence, but my math will be a little fuzzy. Any one in Europe know anything about this?

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: