It is always easy for an Italian to recognize a good espresso. It has to be full of flavor and aroma (aroma, corpo, gusto and retrogusto), and it has to have hazelnut-colored foam on top. This foam is called crema in Italian. When your espresso has crema, it means that the barista (the guy who works in an Italian bar with the necessary skills to make a flawless coffee) did a good job: the temperature and pressure on the espresso machine was set in order to perfectly extract the natural oils present in the coffee beans.
These oils are extracted only with the right high pressure and temperature combo, which ensures emulsification of the coffee in a very quick brewing process. And these oils are the real difference between espresso and a regular cup of coffee. It’s not how concentrated it is, or how tiny the shot is: it’s all about the oils. And when the oils are present, the crema is there too!
I’m always surprised when I see that some corporate cafés in America offer espresso that are huge and – worse – without crema!
Waco Texas USA,
United States Washington, D.C.
Cape Verde Praia
City of Lismore Australia