How to make cafe cremas

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
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#1: Post by KarlSchneider »

gpsd wrote: As an aside, how do you make your cafe cremas (ie. grind, tamp, extraction time)? I have been experimenting without the greatest success (Rocky grinder though).


I like my morning cafe crema's a great deal. First of all I grind the beans less fine than for espresso. My Mazzer Mini has a dial with 10 "settings' and I reduce the grind by 1 number/10% (for Mazzer owners, from "6" opposite 6 o'clock up to 7). I put 2 level scoops (ca. 7 g. each) in the grinder. I use a double espresso filter basket and fill a cappuccino cup (ca. 6 oz.±) I use all kinds of beans for this not just espresso blends. In fact many beans that do not make good espresso make fine cafe crema's.



#2: Post by gpsd »


Thanks for the link.

And re: the cafe crema, do you tamp at approx. 30lbs as well? I've tried lowering the tamp pressure with mixed results.


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KarlSchneider (original poster)

#3: Post by KarlSchneider (original poster) »

gpsd wrote: And re: the cafe crema, do you tamp at approx. 30lbs as well? I've tried lowering the tamp pressure with mixed results.
Hi George,

Yes I do tamp pretty close to the 30# level. I do not "measure" this but use the same tamp as for espresso. I do use a double spout pf and like the subtle pattern I get in the crema. I also use a La Marzocco double basket (the "true" LM with ridge) because it holds more coffee.



#4: Post by gpsd »


Thanks, that was helpful.

On the topic of beans, which did you find produced the smoothest and richest cafe cremas? I have been trying Lavazza'a arabica beans.


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KarlSchneider (original poster)

#5: Post by KarlSchneider (original poster) »

gpsd wrote: On the topic of beans, which did you find produced the smoothest and richest cafe cremas? I have been trying Lavazza'a arabica beans.
Hi George,

This is an intriguing question. I actually find that I can use and enjoy a wider range of beans in cafe crema than I can in espresso. I just drank a cup made with Sweet Maria's Classic Italian Espresso roasted dark enough that the beans are oily (a full minute into second crack). It is about as smooth and rich as one can get. It has a sweetness and chocolate flavor with full body and full range flavor (like a Rhone, if you know wine).

I actually do two roasts per week -- one for espresso and one for cafe crema. I use either espresso blends or selected SO beans for espresso (Yemen, some Ethopians, some Brazil's). These I roast at least a minute into second crack / dark French Roast. For cafe crema I use things I do not like as espresso -- Costa Ricans, Aged Sumatra Lintong, Sulawesi, Eth. Harar & Yirgcheffe. I roast these less dark, to the start of second crack / light French.

Both espresso roasts and the others work well in cafe crema but the lighter roasts do not work as espresso -- to my taste.

Because I roast my own I have the luxury of always having fresh beans -- never more than 7 days old. This is probably no small factor.


Abe Carmeli
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#6: Post by Abe Carmeli »


What is your extraction time for that brew and how does it taste without sugar? Do you add milk to it at all or drink it black?
Abe Carmeli

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KarlSchneider (original poster)

#7: Post by KarlSchneider (original poster) » replying to Abe Carmeli »

Hi Abe,

The extraction with double spout pf is ca. 35-40 sec. I drink these black. I find them to have a subtly different flavor from Americano's in that the flavors are more rounded. I get a complete flavor profile. The flavors in Americano's seem more angular -- like Left Bank Bordeaux. My cafe crema is closer to Burgundy (Volnay to be precise).

Am about to roast Java Government Estate Blawan for the next week.

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#8: Post by mrosco »

Merged with this thread by moderator...

I thought about posting this on CG but figured I'd give it a whirl here. With the holidays here I'm doing my quarterly entertaining which means I have people over that don't drink espresso or espresso based drinks (namely my in-laws). I have a 10 year old krups drip coffee maker in the basement I keep around for these "special" occasions. My question is how do I make cafe crema with my Bricc? Is it as simple as a coarser grind lightly tamped? Or am I just missing something?

While cleaning the cob webs off the old drip machine (literally) I started thinking why anyone would drink drip coffee. I've come to view it as the "light beer" of coffees even beneath decaf (sorry to decaf and light beer drinkers). Do any of you drink drip coffee with any regularity or is it just a back up when nothing else is available? Just curious.




#9: Post by Mark08859 »

You don't add water as with an Americano. At its simplest, a Cafe Crema is simply running 6 - 8 ounces of water through the puck in your espresso machine. It is a standard size cup of coffee that has been pressure brewed with a nice crema layer on top. It is very popular and considered superior to drip or French Press. Of course, taste is subjective. :D Just have some fun with the process.

Some folks don't change anything in their normal espresso preparation and just run more water through the puck. Some will go to a coarser grind. Others may change the dosage of coffee so it isn't as strong. One could do a combo change in grind or dose.

I don't drink regular coffee at all, including a Cafe Crema. When experimenting for Cafe Crema, I had my regular coffee drinking friends try it and provide feedback. I'd suggest you do the same. I use a super-auto for that purpose (would take forever on my lever machine) and now know to reduce the amount of coffee so it isn't as strong tasting to them.

Good luck.

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#10: Post by Compass Coffee »

Funny, I just today ordered a aftermarket LM PF so I could use the triple basket for larger Cafe' Cremas when entertaining! (don't try them naked, trust me!)

With the LM double basket I use a coarse grind, light tamp and target about 8oz in about 30sec. Crema will turn quite blonded BTW. The Bricoletta handles it quite nicely. If you're machine drops temp too much on that much volume you might try a modified "Cafe Crema Americano", what I did previously with Silvia. Same double LM but not as coarse targeting 4oz pull plus 4oz hot water. All amounts and volumes more or less to taste!

Oh, I don't usually use espresso blends for Cafe' Cremas. Single Origins. Drinking a right nice Mexican Alta Pluma Miel Cafe Crema as I type. (had to go make one you to verify) Actually made both Cafe Crema and modified Cafe Crema Americano. The later 'cuz I didn't grind coarse enough the first try! Very similar in the cup.
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)