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Is this crema?
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Discussions > Espresso > General > Is this crema?  
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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,388
Location: Monrovia, CA
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Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014, 7:49pm
Subject: Re: Is this crema?
 

The answer to the question, "Is this crema?" is, "No."  

One of the characteristics of crema is very tight bubbles -- which give it the texture of (are you ready?) cream.  It's possible to get crema from a moka pot, but that ain't it.  

That has little to do with whether or not your coffee meets some objective, meaningless standard of "goodness," nor whether or not it meets the very meaningful standard of personal enjoyment.  

Rich
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Manitobanerd
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Manitobanerd
Joined: 4 Apr 2014
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Location: MAN, Canada
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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014, 12:12pm
Subject: Re: Is this crema?
 

boar_d_laze Said:

It's possible to get crema from a moka pot, but that ain't it.  

Rich

Posted April 4, 2014 link

I'll try fresh beans and see if that can produce crema. It'll be my little experiment.  Is what this guy is producing real crema with a moka pot? click here (youtube)
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TheRealScubaSteve
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TheRealScubaSteve
Joined: 22 Feb 2014
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Location: Massachusetts
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Espresso: Delonghi EC155
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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014, 3:42pm
Subject: Re: Is this crema?
 

Closer than yours, but not quite like espresso. Rich or others with moka experience would be better served to answer, though. I can only assume that there'll always be some aeration (more than an espresso machine) since the coffee has to travel up with steam pressure, then drop down into the pot.

These pictures show the tightness he refers to in the crema.

Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 3

 
"But it is not a perfect world and none of us are god-shots.  As for me, I am a little over extracted and therefore slightly bitter and my crema is thin..." -Buckley
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germantownrob
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germantownrob
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Posted Sun Apr 6, 2014, 5:42am
Subject: Re: Is this crema?
 

Manitobanerd Said:

I'll try fresh beans and see if that can produce crema. It'll be my little experiment.  Is what this guy is producing real crema with a moka pot? click here (youtube)

Posted April 5, 2014 link

No it's still false crema. You need pressure around 9 bar to be able to produce real crema. Before I had an espresso machine I used moka pots almost daily, producing false crema is not all that difficult but not every bean will taste its very best with the grind and slight tamp required to get the false crema. Here is a nice vid of some false crema http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=o-ISSFtxI6U

The Brikka is a nice pot since it will allow more range of grind and dose to produce a nice cup of coffee.
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Manitobanerd
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Manitobanerd
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Posted Sun Apr 6, 2014, 11:20am
Subject: Re: Is this crema?
 

I went to a Starbucks to taste real crema, tried a shot of their espresso, and there was barely any crema! I guess they arnt the best place to try it, but they are so close to me that I couldnt help it. It overall was a bit stronger than Im used to but with a little water to thin it out it actually wasnt that bad. Im sure there are much better espresso cafes out there but Im a noob to crema/espresso anyway. Ill try and make it to a real, coffeegeek style cafe to try real espresso, with lots of real crema, but in the mean time, ill have to stick to my moka pot as I dont have a real espresso machine.
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TheRealScubaSteve
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TheRealScubaSteve
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Location: Massachusetts
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Espresso: Delonghi EC155
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Posted Sun Apr 6, 2014, 12:20pm
Subject: Re: Is this crema?
 

Manitobanerd Said:

I guess they aren't the best place to try it

Posted April 6, 2014 link

You hit the nail on the head. Starbucks espresso is gross - their superauto machine produces less fake crema than my cheap EC155 out of the box with a pressurized PF. In addition to lacking crema, their shots have no substance to speak of - it's just really strong coffee. The beans are far, far, far too dark also as it tastes like nothing but charcoal (they use SB Espresso Roast). I tried the Starbucks route too, initially, thinking I'd get some vague idea of what espresso should taste like, but it was a pointless endeavor.

 
"But it is not a perfect world and none of us are god-shots.  As for me, I am a little over extracted and therefore slightly bitter and my crema is thin..." -Buckley
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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,388
Location: Monrovia, CA
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Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
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Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Sun Apr 6, 2014, 12:55pm
Subject: Re: Is this crema?
 

No to Starbucks.  

I'm not sure whether you need an espresso machine or not to produce "true" crema.  It probably depends on how you define "true."  

Despite the props given by other well-intentioned and flattering posters, I'm not a moka pot expert or fan. The last time I used one was at least fifteen years ago.  With my ignorance established, I think a moka pot can produce crema, with appropriately ground, appropriately fresh, and appropriately tamped coffee. I remain the wrong guy to give you specific directions on how to make it happen though.

There are two types of crema.  One is created when very fresh coffee outgasses carbon-dioxide during the brewing process.  It tastes bad, and is a sign that the coffee is overly fresh and needs further rest.  If your beans are under-rested, and you don't overcook it while brewing, you'll probably get crema -- but you won't like it. Bad crema makes bitter, harsh coffee taste harsher and more bitter.  

The other is created by coffee oils, insolubles, solutes and air.  Even though it tastes pretty wretched on its own, it adds nice taste and texture dimensions to the coffee when the drinker sips through it or stirs it in. Good crema balances the acid/sour notes of good coffee, and adds significantly to richness and mouthfeel.  It is, in fact, creamy.

Rich
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Manitobanerd
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Manitobanerd
Joined: 4 Apr 2014
Posts: 64
Location: MAN, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Cafe Roma
Grinder: Hario & blade grinder
Vac Pot: Moka express
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Posted Sun Apr 6, 2014, 1:54pm
Subject: Re: Is this crema?
 

boar_d_laze Said:

It is, in fact, creamy.

Rich

Posted April 6, 2014 link

Thank you everyone for your great posts! I do look foreword to trying that creamy dimension to coffee (crema) one day!
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