is a layer of brown foam on top of brewed espresso. Crema is the mixture of CO2 bubbles and fat in the coffee extract in the form of an emulsion (once seen) characteristic of a good espresso. The perfect layer of Crema is a reddish-brown foam with tiny bubbles. If the bubbles are too big, that’s just the result of incorrect extraction. If the color is too light, it can be interpreted as poor extraction, and if too dark, predictive for an over-extraction.
For a long time, the appearance and quality of crema coffee house – the thin layer of foam on top of an espresso cup – has been one of the standard features of an espresso. Traditionally, Perfect Crema is a shiny golden foam on top of an drinks house espresso cup, thick enough to hold a teaspoon of sugar for a few seconds before drifting to the bottom of the cup. If you’re fortunate, it will have tiger skin stripes – a patterned effect on Crema’s surface.
However, Crema is just a by-product of the extraction process, when the espresso machine creates a stream of water with tremendous pressure and eliminates CO2 and fat in the coffee. Crema branded cup cannot tell you the quality of the coffee, but will instead indicate the freshness of the coffee (coffee loses CO2 the longer it is stored, and therefore the Crema as it thins) and the degree of its roasting (the darker the roast, the more CO2 & fat will be produced, which means the thicker the Crema).
In short, a good espresso doesn’t necessarily make for the best crema . As a result, the Crema class evaluation at the World Barista Championship is becoming less and less important. Meanwhile, many other factors such as the quality of the green coffee, the roasting process and the extraction efficiency are very important for the quality of the espresso.
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