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Is adding sugar lame?
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Discussions > Espresso > General > Is adding sugar...  
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TheMadTamper
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Posted Fri Jan 28, 2011, 10:52am
Subject: Re: Is adding sugar lame?
 

cappuccinoboy Said:

Well, I feel a scent of sarcasm in your words, so I can only answer that if you did you would know the difference and then decide for yourself which you like best : I repeat that the matter is strictly personal (like taste buds..)I can assure you that there are lots of Italians who do not ADD sugar, some prefer it corretto with grappa or else..., what really I have never seen is adding any of those so called Italian syrups....
Ciao, pietro

Posted January 27, 2011 link

I've always been curious about the syrups.  As far as I know the story it's really an American thing started by Torani...though the syrup recipes themselves supposedly did come from their family in Italy....but what they USED them for there...no idea.  I'd almost guess it was for a candy or pastry of one form or another once upon a time, but I imagine the story of it is lost.
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TheMadTamper
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Posted Fri Jan 28, 2011, 10:55am
Subject: Re: Is adding sugar lame?
 

secondo Said:

No it definitely isn't!  I don't add sugar, but I view that as a flaw on my part not a virtue.  The refusal to add sugar forces roasters to emphasize certain aspects of their coffee (such as sweetness) at the expense of others.  Ideally some espressos would have a little sugar added and others wouldn't allowing us to achieve even higher heights and more sophisticated and diverse tastes.  None the less I can't get over my bias against adding sugar so I never do it.  I do add milk to about 1/5 of my drinks however (and have the other 4/5 as straight espresso black).

Posted January 27, 2011 link

I think it's a philosophy thing.  I'm not sure it "forces roasters to emphasize certain aspects" so much as if the coffee on its own lacks aspects that make it drinkable without adding other ingredients, can you consider it a good coffee blend/bean?  Just as adding sauce to a mediocre steak would improve it, an excellent steak needs none, does that apply to espresso?  Does a proper espresso need additives, or is that something to compensate a flawed bean?  I doubt there's a right answer, but the one most accepted by the coffee community seems to be that the best bean is the one that stands out well on its own without additives.
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ilcaffedio
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Posted Fri Jan 28, 2011, 10:56am
Subject: Re: Is adding sugar lame?
 

The Italian lumberjacks put it on their pancakes.  

Probably candy, that would be my guess.  No idea on this one...
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GearDriven
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Posted Fri Jan 28, 2011, 11:40am
Subject: Re: Is adding sugar lame?
 

Why all the narcissism?  And who cares what the Italians do?  Should I talk with my hands when I drink espresso too?  The Reinheitsgebot forbids anything other than barley, malt, and hops in  beer--but some heffeweizens taste great too.  

I like sugar with some varietals and others straight.  The sugar can bring out other flavors.  If you are adding it to cover a nasty shot -- then it is just that.  But it can really enhance other great shots.  While touring Miami, I hung out with some cubans who were the most anal-retentive people I have met when it comes to espresso-- but they sweeten it up to the point where it tastes like those coffee hard candies -- but it is still delicious!  In Turkey I've had coffee loaded with sugar (gasp), boiled (OH NO!) multiple times (HAVE MERCY!!!) and it was delicious as well.  I've had shots of espresso brewed with Robusta blends that knocked my socks off.  

The idea that if you do x "you're doing it all wrong" is beyond elitist and pushes into the levels of ignorance I expect in a Starbucks line at a train station.  Have _your_ coffee the way _you_ want it.  Mix it up.  I thought most of the coffee I had in Italy was pretty crummy compared to other parts of Europe.  Same goes for many of the "great" places in the states.  If a barista is upset that I added sugar to the coffee, then they should not be upset when I return my espresso (perhaps multiple times) because the crema/taste/etc was off.   Even the baristas get lazy sometimes because most customers don't really know what they are drinking.  There was one particular Angel at Caffe Darte in Seattle that did dump my espresso twice until she got the perfect extraction (she got a 1000% tip as it was one of the best espressos I have ever had).

The idea that there is one right way to enjoy espresso leads away from the great experimentation that can be had from dancing outside of the lines.  Ever try milkduds with a really bold ristretto?
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ilcaffedio
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Posted Fri Jan 28, 2011, 11:51am
Subject: Re: Is adding sugar lame?
 

Relax big guy.  Ever try having a sense of humor?
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frankthecrank
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Posted Fri Jan 28, 2011, 3:35pm
Subject: Re: Is adding sugar lame?
 

Of course it's not lame to add sugar to your espresso if you enjoy it that way. Espresso is not a contest or a challenge. It is one of life's enjoyments given to us by the gods. Do with it what you will!
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carlsilver
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Posted Fri Jan 28, 2011, 11:50pm
Subject: Re: Is adding sugar lame?
 

TheMadTamper Said:

Just as adding sauce to a mediocre steak would improve it, an excellent steak needs none, does that apply to espresso?

Posted January 28, 2011 link

I think it does and it's an excellent analogy. And if the steak is really bad no sauce will ever make it a good steak. On the other hand if you add sauce to an excellent steak you should be aware that inevitably you will lose some of the steak's own (and excellent) taste. But of course itīs your choice because it's you who are going to eat it...
Besides you will perceive more easily the differences between coffeees and origins if you drink them straight (that's why professional coffee tasters don't add any sugar)
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EricBNC
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Posted Sat Jan 29, 2011, 9:32am
Subject: Re: Is adding sugar lame?
 

Actually, adding milk to espresso is closer to adding sauce to a steak.  Adding salt to allow the savory flavor to be experienced more intensely is the equivalent of adding sweetener to espresso - the bitter is diminished and the sweetness in coffee created by caramelizing during roasting is intensified - complemented.

Just as a person can add so much sauce or salt to a steak to overwhelm any natural flavor, too much milk or sugar can overwhelm the taste of roasted and brewed coffee.  The ratio of these (or any other ingredients) at which one finds happiness is completely individualized and subjective.  What ever a person says tastes good to them is just that irregardless of outside opinion.

 
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
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SteveRhinehart
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Posted Sat Jan 29, 2011, 10:05am
Subject: Re: Is adding sugar lame?
 

I think you mean disirregardless. ;)
I'm in agreement with Eric, he pretty much said what I was thinking. And baristas, if you're too snobby to think that adding sugar to your Precious Beverage, why put the sugar out in the first place?
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ginalola
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Posted Sat Jan 29, 2011, 10:43am
Subject: Re: Is adding sugar lame?
 

Eric, I think you just won the debate.
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