Accidental pre-infusion leads to more caffeine (!?)


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Oct 7, 2020
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Hi everyone! I just had an interesting accidental experiment here at home today.

You see, I have a simple cheap pressurized DeLonghi espresso machine and little knowledge on things like pre-infusing. I know it's technically possible to do it manually, though tricky.

Anyway, today I was brewing my morning lungo but, when the machine had just barely began to drip it's first drops of coffee, I turned it off in a hurry (I realized I had forgotten to check if I had any water in the reservoir). After checking, 30s later I continued from where it had stopped.

I was at first afraid to have ruined it, but also aware I had pretty much simulated a manual pre-infusion technique - though usually they say 5-10 secs I think, not THIRTY.

And the results were... well GREAT. It was the best lungo I've ever made with this machine. Much more tasteful than usual and, most impressive of all... it seemed to have given me a much bigger CAFFEINE BOOST.

Now.. I couldn't find online any connections between pre-infusion and more caffeine. Do you know anything about that? Or is it that my machine doesn't extract all the possible caffeine regularly do to its limitations? Both hypothesis sound odd to me, but both are also super interesting anyway.

To be clear: I tried again, this time on purpose just now for an espresso shot. Somehow, I mis-timed it a bit and got more water to it than usual. Also, for some reason, I lost most of the crema. Everything seemed to indicate a poor, watery coffee. And YET (!), it was again, SUPER FLAVORFUL and this time, BEYOND DOUBT, MUCH richer in caffeine. It felt like I feel when taking a doppio (!).

So... I'm bemused about it all really. Any thoughts?