Thursday, 26 January 2012

Lemon oil & cloves

Inspired by a suggestion from Eleanor who commented on the Mint post, today we tried putting a couple drops of lemon oil on the espresso grounds. At first only the faintest hint of lemon was present, almost covered by the nutty aromas of the Steampunk blend. Not enough to really change the experience. The bottom syrupy third of the shot was intensely lemony, unpleasantly so. Not a good lemon flavour either, more of a lemon pledge sort of smell.

Uncertain of how the oil experiment would turn out, I came prepared with a second addition to try: Cloves. Brian hates cloves with a fiery passion that consumes his soul, so I bit the bullet and took one for the team. A whiff of the spice was quite reminiscent of allspice, so a light sprinkle was all I put at the bottom of the holder. Even so, it was more than enough to render a nice cup markedly unpleasant. The cloves fought for control over the mid palate. With sugar, it was more palatable, but not much better a drink. I would not want another cup.

Today did not present us with a winning infusion, but we learned a couple things. Essential oils won't work ( actually they are not recommended for ingestion), and despite it being one of the more commonly recommended spices to add to coffee, cloves didn't work for either of us using our method.


Eleanor Gang said...

You might try the clove experiment again, but instead of sprinkling ground cloves, add an actual “clou” to the ground coffee. That way, the powder won’t leak into the liquid. I could have warned you about the lemon oil. It has a certain artificial flavour to it, and the “Pledge” comparison is quite apt.

Sam Zen said...

The clove powder didn't leak into the espresso as it did with allspice, but the flavours didn't work well enough to warrant further testing with a whole clove. It might also block flow through the filter designed specifically for powders.

The lemon oil experiment was mostly to test whether an oil would work in our infusion method. It was the oil I already had to hand. I think it failed because the taste didn't get evenly distributed. Most of the lemon sunk to the bottom and it didn't make for an enjoyable tasting experience, even had it been a good flavour.