How to Make Crema Espresso

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What is the definition of crema in espresso

The crema in espresso is the coffee bean oils oozing to the surface of the espresso shot. Carbon dioxide is released when brewing espresso and forms many tiny bubbles. This pushes the coffee been oils to the surface of the espresso shot.

Crema is considered the gold standard for brewing a perfect espresso shot.

What should espresso crema look like

Crema in espresso is the top layer of an espresso shot that has a golden caramel color to it.

Crema looks creamy and smooth in its texture.

Crema in espresso should last for at least 2 minutes before dissolving into the rest of the espresso shot.

Espresso crema should be about 1/10 of the espresso shot in size. This is the ideal amount of crema a barista is looking for when brewing an espresso shot.

How to Make Crema Espresso

To make crema espresso, make sure you’re using fresh coffee beans. Espresso is usually not creamy if the espresso beans are old. Freshly roasted espresso beans are needed to achieve a creamy espresso shot.

  1. Clean and dry your portafilter.
  2. Grind your espresso into your portafilter. You can measure the dose of coffee using a digital scale to get an accurate measurement. Use the correct dose based on your filter basket manufacturer recommendation. Only use this measurement. Your dose should never change. For a double shot of espresso it could be anywhere from 18-20g of dry ground coffee beans.
  3. Tap the portafilter to let the espresso grinds fall into the filter basket.
  4. For any extra heaping espresso grinds, use your finger on the top of the basket, to gently guide the espresso into the basket.
  5. Once the espresso dose is level and even around of the portafilter, you’re ready to tamp your espresso.
  6. Tamp your portafilter using ~ 30 lbs of pressure. Use a scale if you need to get the rough measurement of how much pressure to use.
  7. Brew your espresso. The brew time should be about 25-27 seconds.
  8. This should produce an espresso shot that weighs ~30 g. The weight of your espresso shot should be double the amount of your dose. If your espresso dry ground dose is 18g, this should produce a 36 g espresso shot.

How fresh of coffee beans should you be using for espresso

Espresso beans should be roasted and used within 1-3 weeks.

The older the espresso beans, the finer the grind needed to produce the espresso shot of ideal timing.

Make sure to adjust your grind as your espresso beans get older to achieve your ideal 20-30 second brew time.

When should you grind your espresso beans

Espresso coffee beans need to be ground right before brewing. If you grind your espresso beans too soon, the humidity in the air can penetrate the espresso beans, making them damp and not being able to fully be extracted. This can cause the flavor of espresso to be not as strong or flavorful.

Too light of a crema

  • under-extraction. The crema disappears within 1 minute, indicating the crema is too thin. Under-extraction causes espresso to not be as flavorful and strong as it should be.
  • espresso machine not warm enough. The brew head needs to be heated up long enough until it reaches 195-205 degrees F. You can get a temperature gauge to measure the temperature of the brew head.

Espresso machine not making any crema

  • over-extraction: There may not even be any crema showing in the espresso shot. This could be due to over tamping, the grind being too fine, or the brew time being too long.
  • espresso machine too hot. (over 205 degrees F) The espresso beans can become too hot when brewed which can cause the shot to become bitter, harsh, and too thick.

Which coffee beans produce the best crema

Arabica Coffee beans produce a beautiful crema and has the best flavor possible for espresso.

Arabica coffee has caramel, chocolate, nutty flavor to it, with a hint of fruit. Arabica coffee has only a small amount of acidity and bitterness to it.

Robusta Coffee beans produce the best crema, but it is a little more harsh and bitter than Arabica coffee. Robusta coffee has more caffeine than Arabica coffee, and has less sugar. This produces a less than ideal flavor for espresso over Arabica coffee beans.

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