Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How-To Tuesdays: Troubleshooting Clumpy Crema

This is a little nitpicky, but I definitely have started to notice how sometimes the crema of an espresso shot is a little "clumpy" (for lack of a better word).  What I mean is that it's of course super-fresh and has a nice bit of crema when it's pulled, but when I pull the shot straight into a cup and then pour milk into it, the crema doesn't allow for the milk to flow nicely into it.  The result is that free-pour designs sometimes have little corners that get bunched up.  For example:

Okay, so it's not my best rosetta, but as I poured it I noticed that the encircled area had a little foamy clump of crema that didn't really move much as I was drawing the leaves, and the design was ever-so-slightly scrunched on that side.  I could probably do some demo pours and produce a better example, but that'll suffice for now.

Here's what I see as two remedies to clumpy crema:
  • If you're pulling shots straight into the mug/cup, give the espresso a quick little swirl after it's pulled to break up the trouble clumps.  
  • As you're pouring the milk into the espresso, move the stream around the crema to further soften it and prepare an even canvas to draw into.  See the starts of my pours in my videos and you'll see what I mean.

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