For espresso connoisseurs, the cream resting on top of the drink represents the sublimation of flavours and smells. There is a real culture around the subject, as well as practices to know for the correct use of the coffee machine.
The crema of espresso coffee is its distinguishing feature
Preparing coffee cream correctly is the ultimate expression of espresso culture, and it expresses the maximum of aromas in coffee cups.
The fact that crema forms on the surface of the drink is due solely to the method of preparation: extraction. This means pumping hot water from a tank through a dense network of pipes and passing it through the filter holder with the ground coffee to obtain the drink.
It is only through extraction that the crema is formed on the espresso coffee
Basically, it can be said that if the coffee you are served does not have crema on it, then it is not an espresso. If anything, it is another technique for producing the drink, but it is not the one that dates back to the first inventions of Achille Gaggia.
The crema is nothing more than the concentrate of the espresso extraction system, in it are contained all the flavours and smells, and at their highest expression.
The crema contains the aromatic notes of espresso coffee
When an espresso is well extracted, it has a cream with a fine texture, a hazelnut-brown colour, some reflections tending towards red and small brown streaks. Finally, the thickness should be around 3 to 4 millimetres.
There are two main reasons for the absence of cream: either a mistake was made during preparation or the coffee went bad.
If there is no crema, it may be the fault of the coffee
Sometimes the problem is not in the professional espresso machine, but in the storage of the coffee, for example. Perhaps the beans have been damaged by moisture, for example. Another case could easily be that of incorrectly roasted beans. The line between roasting and burning is a fine one and is often tragically crossed.
Another common accident that may not be attributable to the extraction is the grinding. To grind coffee badly is an error that is made upstream and that can really create many problems to the final product. If the beans have been ground too coarsely, the water may pass through them without fully extracting the aromas. If, on the other hand, the beans have been ground too finely, to the point of being too fine a powder, the water cannot even get through.
The last aspect is the compactness of the coffee powder. It is clear that pressing the powder too hard creates a virtually solid surface that water cannot pass through. Or if it does manage to get through, it produces little drink, which is dense and bitter-tasting.
The cream sometimes does not come because of the preparation
This is where the factors that affect the preparation, the extraction of the drink, come into play.
When you prepare coffee, you know that a specific extraction time must be respected, for example. This is certainly an aspect which, if badly managed, can make the crema unrealisable. This is in fact an unstable emulsion created by the high pressure with which the water is forced through the coffee.
For those who wish to finalise the preparation of coffee in a workmanlike manner, there are even spoons specially designed to be able to stir the coffee without breaking the creamy surface. This, for example, is essential when it comes to latte art, the art of creating designs with foam, often using icing sugar.
It is easy to make coffee cream with a lever machine
It is no secret that crema comes out superbly when brewed with a lever coffee machine. In manual machines the extraction process is certainly more controlled, so its result, once you lower the lever, is better than others. Getting the coffee cream with the lever machine is in essence easier.
In addition, it is fair to say, manual models also have an aesthetically pleasing design that is not comparable with Pontevecchio models.
So it’s not just a question of being able to prepare the best espresso in a workmanlike manner. What by definition and nature also has its precious cream on the surface.
It is also about furnishing your home with an object that is a true work of craftsmanship, with which to cheer your guests in the morning or at the end of the meal.
Choose among our models and colours on our website, your Pontevecchio lever machine is ready for you.