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I have seen the term "crema coffee" in the marketing copy for many espresso machines that I have been reading about lately. Can somebody please tell me what “crema coffee” is? I know what crema is, but I’m wondering what this “crema coffee” is all about. Is it just an attractive marketing term for espresso?? By the way, I’m a coffee lover but a novice coffee geek.

Thanks,

Rich

South Florida

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"Crema" is the term for the the dense froth that rises to the top of a properly extracted shot of espresso like the foam on a properly poured pint of Guinness.

This page has pretty good illustrations.

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You would have to give me an example of the marketing copy before I could really answer your question on that. Once companys figure out that a certain term has become a buzzword, they'll use it in all kinds of inappropriate ways ("chicken bruschetta spaghetti," anyone?). Fundamentally, the words "crema coffee" put together in that order make no sense to me. I suppose they mean "espresso with crema." AFAIK, a lot of lower-end espresso machines employ various devices and whatnot that are supposed to be "crema enhancing" or somehow produce better/more crema. The fact of the matter is, though, that the only real way to get consistently good crema is to have a machine that maintains just the right temperature and applies just the right pressure, and combine that with fresh high-quality beans that have been ground such that you extract one double shot (2 ounces) in 20-25 seconds. No special crema devices required.

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Caffe crema is especially popular in Switzerland. Basically it's an extra lungo, an espresso made with a very long pull (about 5 oz.; a standard double espresso is 1.5-2.5 oz.), although the grind is typically a bit coarser than for espresso and often a different blend is used. It takes some practice to get right but can be very good. It differs from an americano or allongé in that those are regular espressos to which hot water has been added.

Edited by carswell (log)
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Here's an example

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I am quoting what I think is the pertinent info here from the site to which you linked:

Crema Coffee ... A word about pressure brewed coffee ... Fine espresso and "crema coffee" share the same principles of preparation.  Grinding, tamping and brewing coffee under high pressure is considered the ideal process to extract coffee's maximum flavor and aroma by the majority of coffee experts.

Based on the above, it would seem that they are using "crema coffee" to mean, "pressure brewed coffee that is not espresso." So, carswell's explanation seems correct to me. That said, I find that the coffee is overextracted and not to my taste if I go much beyond 1 ounce (maybe 1/25 ounce for a caffe lungo) in an espreso machine. In fact, running too much water through the coffee is, in my opinion, the single biggest contributing to the shitty espresso served in America. Personally, I'd rather have a caffe Americano or just use a press pot when I want a big cup of coffee.

Carswell, there is one comment I'd like to make about your post: I'd say that a regular espresso is 1 to 1.5 ounces (based on approximately 7 grams of coffee per shot). A 5 ounce "crema coffee" would be 5 times overextracted to my taste.

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Carswell, there is one comment I'd like to make about your post: I'd say that a regular espresso is 1 to 1.5 ounces (based on approximately 7 grams of coffee per shot).  A 5 ounce "crema coffee" would be 5 times overextracted to my taste.

You're right. As I recall, Francesco Illy's definition is 88-92°C water pushed through 7 g of tamped coffee at 9 bar for 20-30 seconds to produce 1 oz of espresso. However, I was talking about doubles, since caffe cremas/café-crèmes are typically made with them. I'll edit my original post to make that clear.

That said, I find that the coffee is overextracted and not to my taste if I go much beyond 1 ounce (maybe 1/25 ounce for a caffe lungo) in an espreso machine.  In fact, running too much water through the coffee is, in my opinion, the single biggest contributing to the shitty espresso served in America.  Personally, I'd rather have a caffe Americano or just use a press pot when I want a big cup of coffee.

Hundreds of thousands of Swiss, French and Germans can't all be wrong, now can they? As I said earlier, caffe cremas are a bit tricky to pull off, the main danger being overextraction. But, since they're made with a double basket, since the coffee is ground coarser (allowing the water to pass through more quickly than for a regular espresso) and since a different blend is often used, a well-made caffe crema is a perfectly acceptable cup that looks, smells and tastes different from an americano and has nothing to do with shitty North American espresso.

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I think a key attribute, however, would have to be the roast. The swiss and northern european roasts I've had have all be very light, with no oil present on the surface of the bean. I can imagine a scenario where, by using the right blend of beans (probably central american and african) and going with a very light roast, a coarser grind and a very firm tamp one could get more volumne without extracting too many bitter flavours. I don't know if the results would be to my taste -- but I'd have to try it to be sure.

If I remember correctly, David Schomer says that (in his travels) he found that the further north in europe you went the lighter the roast and the longer the draw became. Thus, the sicilian 0.50 oz super thick espresso syrup (grin).

fanatic...

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Hundreds of thousands of Swiss, French and Germans can't all be wrong, now can they?

How many hundreds of thousands of Americans eat at McDonalds each week?

Popularity does not indicate quality.

fanatic...

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Hundreds of thousands of Swiss, French and Germans can't all be wrong, now can they?

How many hundreds of thousands of Americans eat at McDonalds each week?

Popularity does not indicate quality.

Thanks for the lecture. I'll be sure to use one of those detestable smileys the next time I make a tongue-in-cheek comment. :hmmm:

Edit: Add smiley...

Edited by carswell (log)
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Hundreds of thousands of Swiss, French and Germans can't all be wrong, now can they?

Hey, they're right about coo-coo clocks and berets and... oh, never mind...

:detestable smiley:

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