Crema dynamics

This is something I have been thinking about for awhile, when switching between the two big Intelligentsia espresso blends, Black Cat and Kid O: the crema behavior of each is considerably different. It is most evident when making cappuccinos. The combination of that level of microfoam and the different espressos results in a different “product”.

What’s seemingly happening is that a Black Cat cappuccino comes out more bubbly with a more flat finish to the top and it is much more difficult to pour art. The Kid O cappa, with near identical milk (I am fairly consistent), will have a glossy finish and it is easier to pour art in it. And this is from the same milk? Yes, yes it is.

They both taste great.

But it is kind of disheartening when you just can’t get a great pour from a Black Cat cappa. I want that glossy, sexy look like the picture I posted of the Ritual cappa from San Francisco. It must be a possibility.

It makes you wonder what’s behind all of the chemical interactions in the crema and it’s chemical differences or different physical properties that are contributing to the variances… but it is late, so I am going to sleep before tomorrow’s opening shift.

Cheers to all!

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2 Responses to “Crema dynamics”


  1. 1 Jimmy March 3, 2006 at 10:05 am

    I’m no scientist, but I’m willing to guess it has to do with the hydrophobic nature of milk foam and what hydrophobic/phillic properties are present in the shot itself as well as the acidity (pH, not flavour). Do you know how processing methods differ for Kid O to Black Cat?

  2. 2 Shaun Taylor March 3, 2006 at 10:53 am

    Makes me curious. A wild stab in the dark and I would think one of two things. Degassing properties of both, perhaps one degasses at a different rate than the other and the bubbles seen are simply a function of CO2? Or, perhaps, and this is heresy, could Black Cat have a bit of Robusta in it which might be responsible for larger bubbles? That is crazy, but I’m a total rookie, what do I know. Anyway, is it a repeatable trend, as in for weeks and weeks, and allowing for beans are at different roast-ages, humidity, same grinder etc?


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