If you drink coffee long enough, you will have heard the word ‘Crema’ thrown around quite a bit. So, what is Crema? Where does it come from and why is it so important when it comes to coffee? That is what we will be going over today.
What is Crema
Crema: What is It?
Though there may be several different definitions for this fascinating term, crema mainly refers to the foam that sits nicely on the top of a cup of espresso. The color of this froth is typically a reddish-gold when done right. Most casual drinkers rarely notice crema on top or may not even be able to achieve it, but baristas aim to produce the perfect crema on their drinks.
Why Crema is Important (At least to Baristas)
Firstly, baristas use Cream to determine how good or bad a cup of coffee generally is. Crema helps to give coffee or espresso a much more fuller taste. It represents a high quality cup of coffee with well ground coffee beans.
Typically, the Crema is the first thing you taste when you take a sip of your coffee or espresso. As such, it is one of the most important parts of the coffee. Since you will be tasting it first, it can make or break the rest of your drinking experience. What you taste from the Crema is what you can expect from the rest of your cup of coffee. You can imagine now why Baristas take this first impression Crema so seriously now.
How to Create Crema
Making crema does not require much. It is a natural occurrence when making any type of espresso. However, if you do not make a good enough espresso, you may not see much crema.
If you want to make crema , follow these simple steps:
Get some finely ground coffee beans. The finer, the better.
Grab a tamper and pack the coffee beans into your portafilter. Using a tamper will ensure that your coffee beans are packed nice and tight in the portafilter. Typically, 30 pounds of pressure need to be applied to the tamper in order to get the best espresso result.
Make sure you can achieve brew temperatures of 200 degrees fahrenheit. Your goal is to get a cake-like layer on the top of your espresso
Brew for about 30 seconds in order to get the best espresso. You will see the crema form shortly after brewing ends
Striving for the ‘Perfect Crema‘
Some people are perfectionist. Since the crema is so important to a good espresso, lots of baristas strive to get the perfect crema . So, what makes a perfect crema?
Well, this varies depending on who you are talking to. However, a general consensus agree that the perfect crema can be achieved by bringing a shot of espresso with the crema being the perfect consistency and lasting at least 2 minutes.
Here are some common tips that can help you when trying to get the perfect crema:
More crema means less espresso. This is bad as crema will disappear overtime, so you really should go for an espresso that has around 10% crema on top.
Espresso machine extraction should only take around 25 to 30 seconds.
If your crema always disappears before a minute everytime you make an espresso, it is likely that you are extracting from the espresso machine too fast.
What Affects the Crema
This is not a guessing game. Baristas have figured out what specifically can have a major effect on the crema and the espresso. Here are a few things that can keep you from getting the best crema possible.
Roast of Your Bean
If your beans are freshly roasted, you can expect to see much more crema than normal. The bean oils are typically still present after just being roasted. Looking for local coffee shops that freshly roast their beans will have you noticing the amount of crema there is versus shops that do not freshly roast their beans.
The problem with some espresso machines is they often have an automatic feature that pulls shots. This is not always good as manually pulling each shot will help in producing better crema.