The best part about nutmeg is the appearance of it. When a nut is ground, the open face looks like the cross section of a tiny brain. Interesting because when a small amount is infused with espresso, it adds a layer of complexity I hadn't anticipated.
The first sip of the day was awful, overpowering, intense, brutal, however you want to put it. Knowing how assertive this spice can be, Brian put less than normal in the filter. It just goes to show how intense this flavour can be. A little really goes a long way. Learning, we added the tiniest of pinches, must have been only 1/16th of a teaspoon, to even it out.
Magic! Once we sorted the balance out, the result was brilliant. Nutmeg doesn't take over any part of the coffee flavour, rather adds an extra layer of complexity. Fresh grated, it brought a bright note of earthy bitterness that chased around the coffee flavours in the aftertaste. That's where the nutmeg really shines, the aftertaste. In sip it's good, after it turns great. Milk completely muted this effect and nearly washed out its flavour completely.
I imagine nutmeg would be great in addition to other infusion ingredients too. As it only adds to the already complex experience of the espresso, something that plays in the sweet range of the palate would work with it nicely. Added to fennel, orange in syrup, or even chili-chocolate it may elaborate the experience in surprising ways. To the winner's circle it goes. Stay tuned for more developments on nutmeg infused espresso.