Crema: (n.) the delicious-looking layer of espresso that’s actually not quite so delicious as it appears.
Crema is the trickster of your daily espresso. It’s the thick, lighter-colored liquid that pours slow and syrupy out of the espresso machine, then settles on top of the darker espresso base. It looks like melted caramel, and you would think it would taste like sugar-sweet heaven nectar – but not quite. Crema is produced as a result of the chemical reaction between water, coffee, and pressure. When hot water hits coffee, the grounds start releasing CO2, and the gas creates tiny microbubbles that collect as crema. While it looks like the most delicious thing that ever was (to us), it tends to hold the bitter and acid notes. It can also tell you a lot about the coffee you’re drinking – but we’ll tell you how to read your crema some other time.
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