Word Wednesday - Crema
~ Delicious and delicate - we're exploring espresso terms today. ~
What is it? Crema is the lighter colored, dense froth on top of a well pulled shot of espresso.
How does it get there? As freshly roasted espresso grounds are pressurized under water in a portafilter, the natural fats and oils emulsify and become suspended in tiny micro-bubbles of air. Natural CO2 gas adds to the mix, and as the espresso continues to pull, these elements mix with the espresso, eventually rising to the top to form crema. Being a suspended emulsion of fats, oils and gases, crema evaporates fairly quickly, which is why you should enjoy that single origin shot the second it's set in front of you!
Tell me more! Seattle Coffee Gear has a great explanation as well as an informative video on the subject of crema, and Coffee Geek explores the variables that contribute to color change, origin effects and more. If you're looking for a barista perspective, Sweet Maria's has a great trouble shooting chart for crema-gone-wrong, and a discussion with your local barista is also a great way to learn more about the frothy goodness on your espresso shot.
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