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On Crema: "Is modern espresso ugly???"

This video has been up on Youtube for a while, and you may have already seen it, but for those of you who haven't, it answers a lot of questions about the mysterious subject of"crema." The author, James Hoffman, is a"food/espresso science writer," who likes to add cultural and philosophical context to his work. Of course I have some opinions on the same topics, but in this video, which is essentially about "crema," he answers a LOT of the questions I frequently get asked from people buying vintage home levers.

What's cool about Hoffman's explanation of "crema" is that it is scientifically accurate. He explains what it actually is. And why crema may, or may not be "important" to the taste of espresso and overall experience with it.

That makes this a "must watch" video for anyone seriously interested in trying to pull a good shot of espresso.

I always joke that,"espresso is way more of a science project than I ever dreamed." Hoffman makes the science a little more understandable.

Some questions answered in the video: What is "crema?" Why do "modern" lighter coffee roasts often taste better, but can also have less crema? What comes out of your portafiter during the course of your shot (early in the shot, vs. what comes out at "the end.") And what the "look" of your espresso can tell you about it.

All of this comes with the acknowledgement that these are his own thoughts, and that what you may personally like in your coffee cup is not "wrong."

He packs a lot of interesting stuff into a very small amount of time, so you may have to get some more experience pulling shots, or even spend some time roasting your own coffee, to appreciate half of what he's talking about.

You may find yourself coming back to it in the future, as your experience grows. It will make more sense.

Hoffman used to write a blog. But it seems he's decided to just do "videos" now. If you're interested in reading about "coffee," pretty much anything you can find of his is worth checking out. He can deliver serious information, without pretension, and that is always welcome in the often insufferably precious "coffee biz" world.


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