What Is A Dead Espresso Shot And How Do You Avoid It?

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Matthew Woodburn-Simmonds offers clear guidance when it comes to avoiding the dreaded ‘dead’ espresso shot. The key lies in using fresh coffee beans, ideally within three weeks of roasting, and avoiding extremely dark roast beans, which are more prone to quick oxidation. This proactive approach ensures your espresso shots retain vibrant, lively, and robust flavors.

But what if you find yourself with a “dead” espresso shot that has already oxidized and developed an off-taste? Woodburn-Simmonds suggests a creative solution. “Making a Mocha or Breve coffee can mask the off-flavors of a ‘dead’ espresso shot. Flavored syrups… will also mask the off notes in the espresso,” he notes. Adding fats or sugars can mask the rancid flavors of “dead” expresso shots, providing a way to salvage what might otherwise be a lost cause. “You can’t turn back time on the oxidization process, but you can cover up the effects to a decent degree,” he remarks.

The concept of a “dead” espresso shot brings to light the intricate balance of time, quality, and preparation in crafting the perfect espresso. Thanks to Woodburn-Simmonds’s expert knowledge, we can now prevent and address the phenomenon.

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