The sugar question.

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The sugar question.

Postby Tongle » Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:21 pm

Over the last few months I have been trying to re educate my palate.
I always try my coffee black with nothing else before adding anything. I also have tried cupping a few times including a great experience at Cup North.

However I am still finding that adding sugar just makes it nicer. For me it is a bit like adding salt to food as I find it highlights many of the flavours. So I always go back to adding milk and sugar once I have tasted it black.

How about you?
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Re: The sugar question.

Postby Joris » Thu Nov 26, 2015 1:08 pm

For me it depends on which way the coffee was brewed. My rule of thumb.... aeropress, presspot or filter I usually add a little sugar, in an espresso or mokapot coffee I don't use sugar.
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Re: The sugar question.

Postby dr.chris » Thu Nov 26, 2015 3:21 pm

Its all about personal taste and there is no right or wrong.

I almost cannot drink coffee with milk and dislike having any sugar in there either. The only exception probably being an Irish coffee which is something I like but have not made for years. The wife always has milk - preferred drink being a capuccino - but again doesn't do sugar.
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Re: The sugar question.

Postby bruceb » Fri Nov 27, 2015 12:04 pm

As Chris said, it's a matter of personal taste and there is no right or wrong. Forcing oneself to drink coffee without sugar is torture if one prefers sugar. I drink espresso like the Italians do, as a sweet, rather than as a cup of coffee. I don't enjoy espresso without sugar and I usually have some sugar in espresso based milk drinks. I drink all other forms of coffee without sweetening. Find out what you really enjoy and drink it that way. Life is too short to force oneself into a straight jacket because "it's the right thing to do."
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Re: The sugar question.

Postby Tongle » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:22 pm

I agree that it is a matter of personal preference.
One reason I raised the subject was because I always used to drink tea with sugar. I weaned myself off it and now cannot stand sugar in tea.

I know one idea is that the complex flavours of coffee can be lost if sugar is used. I have found this certainly to be the case with tea. So I am attempting to do the same with coffee I.e. See if I can enjoy it without sugar.

The problem is that I really like it .......
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Re: The sugar question.

Postby bruceb » Wed Dec 02, 2015 5:48 am

Coffee and tea, although both usually served as hot drinks in a cup, are two very different experiences. I never use sugar in tea. Tea is by its nature mild and subtle in flavour whereas coffee is right in your face, slightly astringent and in your face. There is nothing to stop you from trying to not use sugar, but if after awhile you still find yourself wishing for some it doesn't really make sense to continue punishing yourself. We drink coffee for pleasure and if it isn't a pleasure it's time to rethink it.
One thing you can try is to drink the same coffee with and without sugar and observe whether you really taste more one way or the other. My palate finds more flavours in a slightly sweetened espresso than in one without sugar.
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Re: The sugar question.

Postby motoman » Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:16 am

I have no idea now, why I went cold turkey on sugar, I loved the stuff in tea and coffee and hated the thought of being without it. Now I hate drinks with sugar, the sickly sweet taste in my mouth ruins the pleasure. I even drink hot chocolate with half a teaspoon of the sweet stuff. Of course taste changes as you get older but this was many years ago, I think the answer is to give it up completely, tapering off just prolongs the agony.
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Re: The sugar question.

Postby CakeBoy » Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:02 am

It's a strange one for me too. I used to take milk and sugar in both tea and coffee, but back then I drank mostly instant coffee, then went years so dissatisfied, I drank no coffee.

These days I never have sugar in coffee, brewed is black, milk only in cappuccino, flat white and similar. I still take sugar in 'regular' tea but I cannot stomach milk in tea after breakfast. Consequently, I then drink black Earl Grey without sugar during the day, and similarly served spiced chai in the evening. What a mad mixed up situation! :)
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Re: The sugar question.

Postby MWJB » Fri Jan 08, 2016 12:38 pm

I don't necessarily find that sugar brings out any flavours in the coffee, quite the opposite - sweetener, brown & white sugar can have very different flavours as well as providing sweetness. Similarly, the coffee itself might have caramel, toffee, white sugar, honeycomb, candy sugar etc., sweetness & adding another sugar can mask that.

If you're buying coffee with good sweetness in the first place, you should be able to access this by grinding finer, steeping longer (covered) & at a lower brew ratio (19:1). A 4 min, uncovered steep at med/coarse grind will often make it hard to hit peak sweetness specifically. Additionally, the sweetness may be more evident at cooler temps, I don't usually evaluate coffee's sweetness until it is under 55C.

This doesn't mean I think you are wrong to add sugar to coffee, enjoy it as you please, but perhaps there is sweetness in there already that you might not be tapping into?

Personally, I like coffee because of its sweetness & not having to add additional sugar. Admittedly, since not having sugar in the house, my palate may have dried a little, but I still find unsweetened coffee cloyingly sweet sometimes.
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Re: The sugar question.

Postby bruceb » Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:15 pm

Different people may have a different idea of what sweetness means.
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Re: The sugar question.

Postby MWJB » Sat Jan 09, 2016 1:02 pm

Maybe, I'm comparing to sweet ripe fruit, rather than products manufactured with lots of sugar. Or even comparing the same unsweetened coffee brewed to highlight sweetness to that which is not. Unsweetened coffee can be sweeter than dark chocolate, or instant coffee with a cube of sugar added.

It's a bit tricky to guage what each other can taste, or our perceptions, without some kind of calibration I guess we have to take opinions in good faith. If you told me you were wearing a blue t-shirt, I'd accept that you had a blue t-shirt on, rather than suggest it was green, for instance.
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Re: The sugar question.

Postby bruceb » Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:32 am

As a highly scientific (irony intended) test back in the early years of this century I asked 62 people what taste they attributed to coffee. These were not coffee experts or TMC members, but people I worked with, people in cafés, etc. Over 90% immediately answered "bitter." I rather think that if I told them a coffee was sweet without any sweetener they would have probably (assuming they were polite) suggested I had a different concept of what sweet met. :D
Three Francesconi (CMA) espresso machines - Rossi, San Marco, LaCimbali, Faema and 2 Mazzer Major grinders- CoffeeTech Maggionlino, Hottop, Alpenröst and HW Precision roasters.
I decided I needed a bit of a change so I roasted some Monsooned Malabar. That was a change!
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Re: The sugar question.

Postby MWJB » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:27 am

I don't doubt for a second that what you found reflects common perception (I would no doubt have said the same a few years ago), I'm just saying it doesn't have to, with well roasted coffee & optimised technique to highlight sweetness.

Yesterday I made someone a mug of tea with 2 cubes of brown sugar, when asked if it was any sweeter than the coffee they were used to drinking they said "no".

Try a long covered steep at 19:1 with a sweet medium roast coffee, fine grind (~400um), for 15-20min or ideally, for the coffee to drop below 55C (can take longer). Skim off the oils & suspended silt, if a French press pour carefully so as not to kick up silt (suspended solids will make the cup more bitter). Compare sweetness to your usual method.
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Re: The sugar question.

Postby dr.chris » Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:24 pm

Personally I like a little bitter. At work I like drinking black coffee from my press pot using mid/dark roast supermarket beans.

Then when I am home and its daylight I like drinking a lovely triple espresso made using decent beans and rejoice that what is notionally the same source material can be made into so many different styles of drink.
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Re: The sugar question.

Postby melisandegosselin » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:54 pm

I am health conscious person and so keep on reading articles about the same. I cannot live without coffee, cup of coffee is part of my daily routine, and drinking coffee is actually good as it is loaded with antioxidants, lower risk of type II diabetes, protect from alzheimer's disease, energizes the body, enhance physical performance, not cause heart disease, fights depression to highlight a few. However, the benefits cuts down tremendously if you load your coffee with SUGAR. I usually do not prefer sugar in my drink, but for those who want sweetened drink can add natural sweetener "STEVIA". STEVIA is safe and has several health benefits of its own. I add this to my drink often and enjoy! Try and do update if you really liked it.
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