Crema on Espresso
When hot water pushes through coffee, it makes crema: a layer of foam on the top of an espresso. Its sought-after aroma separates a good espresso from any drip coffee. You can learn to read your crema color and thickness to better understand your coffee.
Bean types, roasting techniques, and brewing styles change your espresso crema color and heaviness. Skilled baristas know it as a reddish-brown foam, about a tenth of the drink, which lasts for a couple of minutes on top of espresso.
Automatic espresso machines don’t always accommodate precise customizations. Manual machines allow precise settings to master specializations like crema on espresso. Otherwise, non-traditional brewing methods like Aeropress can make crema as well.
How to make perfect crema
With an Aeropress, crema comes from quickly plunging to mimic pressure found in the puck of an espresso machine. The ‘espresso’ is great in a bind.
But, baristas are more adaptable using an espresso machine. For exact craftsmanship, a manual machine holds the power. These tips can guide your own adaptations to find the perfect crema recipe:
- Avoid cold or scorching temperatures. To develop flavor, coffee heat to activate oils, moisture, and air into savory caffeine. Too hot, though, and the water may burn off these flavors.
- Balance your grind. Coarse or fine grounds will filter too fast or slow. Overground beans compact tightly, water passes through unevenly and ends with a dark, overwhelming, sometimes burnt espresso. Underground beans, too loose, allow water to quickly pass for a light color and weak espresso.
One of the most important factors for quality crema is freshness. Roasting beans long before brewing them makes a flimsy crema that won’t last for the couple of minutes it should.
The secret to perfect crema is practice. Each part of your espresso routine tweaks the product. Flawlessness takes time, so enjoy!