What is Coffee Crema?

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Crema refers to the thin, reddish-brown, or dark tan froth or foam layer found on top of the espresso.

Water during the extraction process is under a lot of pressure, prompting it to release carbon dioxide.

When mixed with the coffee grounds, hot water then emulsifies the oils in the coffee, resulting in a foamy bubble layer. 

For the simple coffee drinker, the crema is not that important.

It doesn’t even affect the taste.

However, the crema indicates the freshness and quality of coffee beans and the barista’s skill to the trained eye. 

Baristas and other professionals have different opinions regarding the “perfect crema.”

Nonetheless, the goal here is that the crema should not have been too thick nor too thin.

Plus, it should remain for at least two minutes. 

espresso crema
via wikimedia commons

Here are some facts that you should remember about the crema: 

  • The grind’s coarseness and extraction process can affect the crema. 
  • Too much crema results in less espresso. As such, most baristas aim to have one-tenth of crema in a cup of espresso. 
  • If the crema disappears less than a minute, then you extracted it too quickly, or the roast you used was too light. 

Charles Vallena
Charles is the author and managing editor of Cuppabean.com. A self-admitted coffee addict, he drinks 2-4 cups of coffee a day to get his fix. In the morning, you'll often find him brewing his freshly grounded arabica coffee beans on his french press coffee. Read more about the site here.

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