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Thread: What do we know about crema?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    What do we know about crema?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    My favourite coffee is a cross between a short black and a long black - in other words a shot poured on top of about 60ml of hot water. I am finding that I dont get much crema on my normal pour, so there is only a very thin layer of crema (1ml) on the top of my coffee. I DO like a bit of crema on my coffee, and whilst it tastes great it would be nice to have the eye appeal as well.
    So...what do you think? what do we know about crema? why might I be NOT getting a thicker crema? My current coffee beans are Andys Sulawesi but I have not had good crema from any of the others either.
    What am I doing wrong?

  2. #2
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: What do we know about crema?

    Quote Originally Posted by 063B373F2D540 link=1234605915/0#0 date=1234605915
    What am I doing wrong?
    Nothing as far as I know.
    You are diluting the crema; simple.

  3. #3
    A_M
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    Re: What do we know about crema?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7449454D5F260 link=1234605915/0#0 date=1234605915
    My favourite coffee is a cross between a short black and a long black - in other words a shot poured on top of about 60ml of hot water. *I am finding that I dont get much crema on my normal pour, so there is only a very thin layer of crema (1ml) on the top of my coffee. *I DO like a bit of crema on my coffee, and whilst it tastes great it would be nice to have the eye appeal as well.
    So...what do you think? *what do we know about crema? *why might I be NOT getting a thicker crema? My current coffee beans are Andys *Sulawesi but I have not had good crema from any of the others either.
    What am I doing wrong?
    If your getting good thick crema on your shot , then carefully add your 60ml of water and the crema should stay on the top... It does thin out, but should be fine..

    If you not getting good crema on you beans etc... Then your grind / tamp process needs to be reviewed....

    There is a post some where that suggests that you can get an idea of which is causing your problem by the poor... Ie. Slow to start and quick to blond... Have a read and a play.

    At the end of a double shot on my SB, commercial PF I get about 60% plus of crema, and this slowly decreases as the micro bubbles, coffee and the oil slowly reach a balance.

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    Re: What do we know about crema?

    Rocky,

    If you pour an espresso, do you get what you would consider a decent amount of crema?

    If the answer is yes, but you would like more crema for asthetics, you could (and this is a contentious issue) find a blend that has some robusta in it, as robusta usually has more crema. I personally can identify robusta in some blends and steer clear of it, but if eye appeal is your thing, then it might be an option.

    -Acog

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    Re: What do we know about crema?

    If you want to preserve the crema better, you might try extracting your shot into colder water. Im not aware of any domestic machines that have mix valves on the cold water tap, but the most elegant solution that I have seen is to keep some water in a bottle with one of those bar style pour spout thingamabobs on it. Just add a little room temperature water to the cup before adding the hot water from the machine and it will bring the temperature down to something that should preserve the crema a bit better.

    For what its worth, I often find that the crema is the worst tasting part of the shot and that stirring the shot through results in a dramatic improvement. Its really nice that the WBC rules have been changed to reflect this.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Senior Member askthecoffeeguy's Avatar
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    Re: What do we know about crema?

    Try pouring a double ristretto on top of the 60ml of water instead - that is say 20mls of coffee from a double group containing between 14 and 22gm of coffee depending upon your baskets and your set up

    See if this helps and then try and refine your tamp and dose technique

    Cheers,

    Pat

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    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: What do we know about crema?

    Rocky, when I do a long black I usually pull the shot of ristretto/espresso into the cup and then pour the hot water into my 300ml jug and then gently pour the water into the side of cup near rim very gently and this preserves the crema for presentation quite well.

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    Re: What do we know about crema?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2C352321400 link=1234605915/4#4 date=1234613013
    If you want to preserve the crema better, you might try extracting your shot into colder water.
    Luca,

    Im suprised, I would have expected that the hotter the cup/water that the shot goes in to would hold the crema better. This seems to be the prevailing presumption.

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    A_M
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    Re: What do we know about crema?

    Quote Originally Posted by 47454941414F4855260 link=1234605915/7#7 date=1234649004
    Quote Originally Posted by 2C352321400 link=1234605915/4#4 date=1234613013
    If you want to preserve the crema better, you might try extracting your shot into colder water.
    Luca,

    Im suprised, I would have expected that the hotter the cup/water that the shot goes in to would hold the crema better. This seems to be the prevailing presumption.
    At the cupping sessions @ Veneziano Caffe it was interesting to note the changes as the water / coffee cools. *

    It is interesting as I often found the taste changes when drinking a straight black from my plunger at work and often takes me 30 to 40 mins due to interruptions. I find it becomes softer and more mellow...*

    With out doing some testing, there is something to be said for *the crema lasting longer in water off the boil / cooler than expected. *I can not go into the thermal dynamics and the physics off the top of my head.... But have experienced and observed the outcome, however never questioned or gave it much thought... prior to now.

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    Re: What do we know about crema?

    Just use a narrow cup! ;)

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    Re: What do we know about crema?

    holding the cup up to the spouts also helps. So it doesnt drop, just straight onto the water.

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    Re: What do we know about crema?

    I agree with Yeeza. Using a narrow cup does seem to hold the crema together.(providing all the other variables ,fresh coffee, grind etc etc are in right.)

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    Re: What do we know about crema?

    I agree with greenman, I drink this style of coffee almost exclusively, and gently pouring the hot water in, after pulling the shot is the most successful way I have used to preserve the crema. I agree the hotter the water the faster the crema "dissolves". I guess this has something to do with it being formed by the oils in the beans, and we have all seen what happens to oil when you pour it onto water.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Re: What do we know about crema?

    Thanks for all the helpful comments and insights. Its very useful to have a well rounded discussion that comes at the question from all angles.
    Crema on my espresso shot tends towards the minimum end of the acceptable range. My favourite 100ml (conventionally-shaped)cup means that the available crema is spread pretty thin.
    I pre-heat the cup with hot water and have been pulling the shot into hot water from the steam wand so that my coffee stays hot until I can get to it after all the priming & flushing.
    I will try sliding the hot water down the side of the cup. I will also experiment with the tamp which is probably on the light side.
    I was intrigued by AMs comment about "slow to start & quick to blond" which could maybe characterise my pour. So...maybe a slightly coarser grind & tamp a bit harder? Ill give it a try!
    Cheers All.

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    A_M
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    Re: What do we know about crema?

    Quote Originally Posted by 300D01091B620 link=1234605915/13#13 date=1234774162
    Thanks for all the helpful comments and insights. Its very useful to have a well rounded discussion that comes at the question from all angles.

    Crema on my espresso shot tends towards the minimum end of the acceptable range. My favourite 100ml (conventionally-shaped)cup means that the available crema is spread pretty thin.

    I pre-heat the cup with hot water and have been pulling the shot into hot water from the steam wand so that my coffee stays hot until I can get to it after all the priming & flushing.

    I will try sliding the hot water down the side of the cup. I will also experiment with the tamp which is probably on the light side.

    I was intrigued by AMs comment about "slow to start & quick to blond" which could maybe characterise my pour. So...maybe a slightly coarser grind & tamp a bit harder? Ill give it a try!
    Cheers All.
    In fact it was my reference to this post... I just could not find it at the time..

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1231140889/22#22

  16. #16
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Re: What do we know about crema?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Well.... Had a day off and did some experimenting with grind/tamp combinations using the single basket. This was prompted by a really ordinary result using the same grind/tamp as I use for the double basket (Grind 10, med-light tamp, standard dose)
    My first test was Grind 15, firm tamp, std dose - Result was a rapid pour of 40ml in 20secs - thin & flavourless.
    Second test was Grind 13, very firm tamp, std dose - Result was a very free run of about 35ml in 20 secs. Very good coffee though minimum crema.
    Third test was Grind 11, very firm tamp, std dose - A free run of 30ml in 20 secs. Lovely colour and very good coffee.
    So I have confirmed for myself that you can compensate somewhat for variations in Grind/Tamp but only within a narrow window - in my case between Grinds of 13 & 10 matched with Tamps of very firm to medium-light.
    In terms of Crema...I think I have decided that for my machine & current bean combo, the crema does not change dependent upon grind or tamp and is better in a narrow cup than a broad one - as you would expect. I let the shot sit for a couple of minutes and the crema does appear to reabsorb somewhat into the body of the shot, and likewise for the shot with 60ml of hot water. Dribbling it down the side of the cup does not make a difference.
    So... for my set-up the Single-basket optimum is Grind 11 & V.firm tamp whilst Double basket is Grind 10 & light-medium tamp on an optimum dose. I would be interested to hear what others with Rocky/VBM or Perfetta combos find.
    Cheers.

    .



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