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Crema is the tiny bubbles that form when you’re extracting a shot using an espresso machine. When you see crema you know you are getting a great shot of espresso. Crema requires the right coffee, grind, temperature, and pressure, as well as a quality espresso machine.
The coffee you choose will make a big difference, when extracting espresso. Most espresso beans are blends of coffees from different origins (such as Central America, Indonesia, Africa, etc.). A lot of people get confused and think that espresso refers to a dark roast; this is simply not the case. The proper roast is only one part of good espresso; there are many things that have to be done correctly for you to get a good beverage. The different origins are important, to get the right combination of coffees, to create a great espresso. We sell many different blends of espresso at Whole Latte Love, and here are some that I highly recommend:
Grinding is an important factor in producing good crema and espresso; if you’re brewing at home, you’ll need a good quality burr grinder. The coarseness of the grind will have an impact on how long it takes water to pass through the coffee (this is called the extraction). For the best flavor and aroma you’ll want to grind your espresso so that your shots take between 20 and 25 seconds to extract. Think about it this way, if you fill up a bucket with rocks and pour water over it, the water will flow through it fast. If you fill a bucket up with sand and pour water over it, the water will flow through it very slowly. This same logic holds true when with coffee grounds. To speed up your shots go for a coarse grind, if you want to slow down the extraction do so with a finer grind. Getting the shots to exact in 20 to 25 seconds will help to produce the best crema.
Another critical factor you should consider is the espresso machine used to extract your shots. You’ll want to pick a machine that can heat up to the right temperature and generate the correct pressure. The proper brewing temperature for extracting espresso is 198ªF to 202ªF and the proper pressure should measure 9 bars.
Here are some espresso machines that will produce some great crema.