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crema and body

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  • crema and body

    hey people

    just wondering what peoples thoughts are on "body", in espresso.

    does body refer to/imply something about the crema (i.e., if crema is removed from two different espressi, one which is purported to yield good body, and one which has less body, will there still be a difference in body)?



  • #2
    Re: crema and body

    cmon aficionados!


    • #3
      Re: crema and body

      Hey aaron
      Its footy finals season (thats the reason)

      I found something on the net for all to read

      Bitter: A characteristic of over-extracted brews (too little coffee at too fine a grind) as well as over-roasted coffees, and those with various taste defects; it is a harsh, unpleasant tasted detected towards the back of the tongue. Dark roasts are intentionally bitter.

      Bland: The pale flavour often found in low grown robusta coffees. Also caused by under extraction (too little coffee or too coarse a grind).

      Body: The tactile impression of the weight and consistency of the coffee in the mouth. May range from thin to medium to full to buttery and syrupy.

      Bouquet: The fragrance, aroma, nose and aftertaste of brewed coffee.

      Breve: cappuccino made with light cream.

      Bright: Tangy acidity is often described as bright.

      Briny: The salty sensation caused by excessive heat after brewing.

      Buttery: A rich and oily flavour.



      • #4
        Re: crema and body

        Caution--I know next to nothing about cupping terminology--paying attention to what I say may actually SUBTRACT from your knowledge.

        Body to me is the physical sensation of thickness (viscosity?) combined with a mouth-filling flavour, and probably comes from the dissolved/suspended solids, gasses, and fats in the espresso.
        So taking away the crema would affect this, and probably make it thinner.



        • #5
          Re: crema and body

          key kk and gw - good point about the footy. i dont follow it (yes, i am serious).

          i think ive seen that description of the Bs somewhere before kk. i THINK i could detect the difference b/w a SO with big body compared to one with notably less body. BUT im still wondering (and thinking along the same lines as GW) that minus the crema, the difference would be significantly reduced.....

          lets have some more input please body lovers and non alike


          • #6
            Re: crema and body

            Originally posted by GregWormald link=1222221881/0#3 date=1222570590
            Body to me is the physical sensation of thickness (viscosity?) combined with a mouth-filling flavour,
            Thats about how i see/taste/experience it GW. Well put (IMHO).


            • #7
              Re: crema and body

              Anyone got a centrifuge? ;D Perhaps an experiment tomorrow morning is in order.

              I agree with the above.

              This could purely be in my mind, but when I manage to add my microfoamed milk to a just-finished espresso, and drink it straight away, I like it more than when the espresso has sadly had to wait for a few seconds and the crema has separated out prior to adding the milk. It seems to blend better with the milk somehow when the crema is still distributed throughout the espresso. Probably all those oils mingling together. It also seems to take longer to separate out in the cup.


              • #8
                Re: crema and body

                thanks people so far.

                BUT i would still like to know if the body in espresso must take into account the crema?

                could two different espressi with crema removed possibly have different bodies? different viscosities?


                • #9
                  Re: crema and body

                  Hey Aaron,

                  One possible experiment would be something like this: brew two long blacks with the same amount of water and the same amount of espresso. Skim the crema off one, as you would if you were cupping. Put the other in a jar and shake it around to try and dissolve the crema into it. Taste both and see what you think.

                  Personally, I would say that crema, viscosity and body are three different things:

                  Crema: the frothy stuff
                  Viscosity: how thick your espresso is (a physical quality independent of taste)
                  Body: how heavy your espresso is (ie. how heavy it tastes)

                  Im not totally clear on the distinction between viscosity and body. Geoff Watts states here that it is difficult for beginners to identify and that beginners should concentrate on viscosity. Im sure that most of the time, viscosity and body will be interlinked, but they are conceptually different.

                  To give some examples off the top of my head that might not be right:

                  Ridiculously fresh coffee will make espresso with heaps of crema, but little body and viscosity.

                  Malabar might produce shots with more viscosity and less body than mandheling.

                  A shot of mandheling will have the same amount of body and less viscosity than the same shot of mandheling artificially thickened by adding a roux.

                  Do the experiment and let us know how you go!




                  • #10
                    Re: crema and body

                    hey luca,

                    v helpful. i had thought that body and viscosity were the SAME concepts.

                    heres geoff watts view (as per your link) -

                    "Body: This is sometimes referred to as “mouthfeel”. The body is the sense of weight or heaviness that the coffee exerts in the mouth, and can be very difficult for beginning cuppers to identify. It is useful to think about the viscosity or thickness of the coffee, and concentrate on degree to which the coffee has a physical presence. Cupping a Sulawesi versus a Mexican coffee can illustrate the range of body quite clearly."

                    "Mouthfeel: This is an evaluation of the body taste of the coffee, how it coats the palate, how it balances, and how it interacts on the four flavor zones of your tongue. If a coffee was deep and rich in the body, and balanced well on the tongue, it may score an 8 or 9."

                    in the first description of body GW talks of the weight and thickness (viscosity)

                    in the second description (as he says that body is "sometimes referred to as mouthfeel”) he brings TASTE into the equation.


                    but just thinking about body now - different bodies are detectable in cupping (no crema)!

                    now i have a better appreciation for your suggestion of the experiment in your above post Luca. crema MAY impact on the sensation of viscosity but is something separate and prob shouldnt factor into consideration of body.

                    thanks luca
                    need to get to a cupping asap



                    • #11
                      Re: crema and body

                      Originally posted by roknee link=1222221881/0#9 date=1223864165
                      need to get to a cupping asap

                      You definitely do mate. Id hit up that cupping at BBB everytime if I was in Melbs. I mean how often do you get to cup Cup of Excellence coffees?!
                      On a side, what a great way to finish off my trip in Melbs.


                      • #12
                        Re: crema and body

                        Just my thoughts regarding viscosity...

                        Ive always thought of it first as a visual aspect. Using a glass and rolling the espresso around the sides, a coffee with higher viscosity would stick to the sides moreso than one with low viscosity. Secondly, that same attribute transfers over the tongue.


                        • #13
                          Re: crema and body

                          Hi all,

                          this is a little off skew but viscosity changes depending on how some fluids are handled. In the cup espresso is really a non newtonian fluid and has no one viscosity as it is made up of 2 distinct and very different parts so to my way of thinking you can really only talk about the viscosity or elasticity of the crema in relation to viscosity.

                          It will behave differently in the mouth when mixed with salivia and the tongue :P behaving more like a traditional newtonian fluid so a mouth feel can be considered apart from the taste. Consider the difference between water, cream, syrup to honey and the way they coat the inside of the mouth and tongue if you can ignore the taste differences.

                 for some reading on other strange fluids.

                 Fluids like cream, tomato sauce and others are thixotropic.

                          Basically it is possible to have static and dynamic viscosity.