The crema is the epitome of a perfect espresso. An espresso without crema is also quickly perceived as poorly prepared.
That’s why the crema is so important, which in the meantime has something to do with coffee culture and the celebration of a perfect coffee, in addition to the anticipation of coffee.
What is the crema of coffee?
Historically, it was a coincidence and an undesirable side-effect that the coffee suddenly had a cream layer that it had never had before.
This came to light only in the last century because of the newer coffee machine technology, so it is a still quite young invention.
Only with high pressure (between 9 and 10 bar) and the right temperature (between 90-95°C) can the substances that can produce a crema be dissolved from the coffee.
The brown cream layer consists mainly of dissolved coffee bean oils, carbon dioxide, sugar and proteins that accumulate on the coffee surface, i. e. they do not combine.
Robust beans make more crema
Basically, robust beans have more coffee oils than Arabica beans. Therefore, these beans can be used to create a thicker and more intensive layer of cream.
Unfortunately, with too much robustness the cream blisters get bigger and the crema structure becomes a little bit more fluffy and is not so stable.
The best result is achieved with a 10-20% share of robust beans in the coffee blend.
These so-called 80:20 mixes are also particularly popular in the gastronomy sector, as they are more stress-tested and the adjustment at the mills is easier even for inexperienced bar staff.
Stable and marbled crema
A perfect crema is always also a perfect interaction of different variables. Many people use the 5-M formula (human, machine, mill, quantity, mixture).
Basically, this includes the appropriate brewing temperature, brewing pressure and, above all, the right degree of grinding and the quantity of coffee. A good indication is a fine “mouse tail jet” with which the coffee comes out of the filter holder as well as 20-25 seconds for 25ml.
If the coffee flows too fast, there is hardly any crema, if it flows too slowly the cup does not fill up and the crema drips out with difficulty. Only when everything fits together will you find a nice crema on your coffee, which you can sprinkle with sugar or Latte Art.
Is there a fake crema?
Yes, some coffee machines are designed in such a way that when brewing coffee they only foam the coffee additionally. This results in a thin blistery light brown cream layer, which is not stable and very transitory.
With the right cream layer of a perfect espresso, the sugar remains on the surface for seconds before slowly drowning.
A beautiful shine and marbled areas are also a clear indication of a very good crema. With capsule machines, filter coffee machines and hearth pots there is no or hardly any real crema.
With ESE Pads with 7 grams of coffee, however, it is. This crema has something to do with the original crema.
The God-Shot also has a lot to do with Crema
All barista want to create the so-called God-Shot at least once in a lifetime. It’s an espresso that can’t be more perfect. An experienced eye can hardly recognize this.
The look, texture and taste show you whether it was a god-shot or not. If the crema doesn’t fit, it wasn’t one.
When it comes to taste, there must be so much sugar dissolved that you don’t have to sweeten it and the mouthfulness does the rest so that you feel like a coffee lover in the Seventh Heaven.
INEI (Instituto Natzionale Espresso Italiano) even sets technical standards for the Crema.
For the prestigious institute, it is only a hazelnut-colored to dark brown foam layer that has a Lucido shimmer and a successful crema consisting of barely recognizable small bubbles.