In his first video blog, Jim Hoffman tells us what he thinks about crema.

http://tinyurl.com/j7crema

Has anyone else tried something similar? It reminds me of the french press method that Mark Prince has been advocating as of late, which I have been using with great results.

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I have been blocking crema with my upper lip to slide the coffee out from underneath for a long time time now. I also wait for much of the bubbles to pop while swirling to accelerate the dissipation of the crema before taking that first sip.

What Mark Prince was doing was skimming off floating grounds in the press to create a "cleaner" cup with less sediment, although you do end up taking off the CO2 bubbles with it, which may have a similar effect.

I will have to try skimming the espresso. James says it was "soul crushing" moment to learn to hate crema. I find humor in the irony.
I can't wait to try this. I always thought it was the sign of a good coffee so it's good to learn something new.
The difference is mind blowing! I tried this immediately after i saw this and the results are insane. Much cleaner, crisp taste, super sweet, almost no bitters whatsoever. If you have not tried this i seriously encourage everyone to do so.

The only thing to think about now is, what does this mean for the whole industry? Crema plays such a big role in the world of espresso. We as baristas examine crema colors and crema content, before we smell and taste, in order to evaluate and predict what the espresso will taste like. Even in competitions, crema visual plays a big role and counts for a good amount of points.
I'd be interested to know what temperatures you all are brewing at. I just tried this experiment with our house espresso (a four bean post roast blend roasted to 450-455) and again with a single origin, Ethiopia Aricha Lot 1 (roasted about 430) and I can't say that I agree at all. I tried both bottomless and spouted portafilters and our crema is thick and sweet. While I wouldn't want to taste just the crema, our espresso without it is not as delicious. So I thought, what's going on? I'm preparing espresso at 7200 feet above sea level and it occurred to me that closer to sea level most of you are probably brewing at much higher temps, like Schomer says. Here, water boils at 199 degrees, thus we brew our coffee and espresso around 194-5. In general, I think this lends to a softer profile. I'd love for somebody with a PID down at sea level to do this experiment and tell me what the difference in crema taste is between my temps (194, 20g double) and whatever you are preparing for your customers daily. I'm looking forward to doing more research on elevation and espresso/roasting (we've got almost 20% less oxygen too!) and will keep everyone posted as I learn about the effects.
Just watched the video. I know what I'll be doing tomorrow morning.
This is not the re-invention of espresso. It is a blog post and an opinion...albeit a weighty one.
Question: "What does this mean for the industry?"
Answer: "Same thing the naked portafilter meant."

Espresso SHOULD have some pleasant bitters.
This is simply a way to make the shot sweeter but not "better" by definition. Sometimes sweeter at the expense of bitter is a loss and not a gain.
In the end this skimming the shot will be a great training tool and industry insider menu option... but not a way of life for the cafe. The same way splitting the shots extractions ala-Michael Phillips will not replace traditional shots. The same as a beers head is a required indicator of its character and authenticity...and is much more biter than the liquid.
-Chris Deferio
I tried this first thing this morning and the initial taste of crema off the top is quite strong and overwhelming and as predicted the espresso, when skimmed, was sweeter. Out of curiosity I tasted the residual crema which had been skimmed after it had sat for around 45 seconds and it had completely changed in flavor and viscosity. It was much sweeter and the body was getting more syrupy. Could that first taste of crema be misleading in the amount of bitterness or harshness it actually leaves in the cup?
James' comments on crema were interesting and, evidently, have raised an awareness and curiousity. I'd like to hear what Dr. Joseph John has to say in response? While I do believe that one's taste and preference is the ultimate decider, Dr. John could certainly share a scientific and objective opinion. His Malabar Gold product was founded, in my opinion, on the full integration of the crema as an integral and necessary component to the espresso experience. Although I enjoyed being enlightened by James' video, I also agree with Deferio's comments/reply.
Hmmm... it appears that I'm in the minority here; we tried this at work today, and I kind of disagree. To me, it didn't seem to be as much a question of "bitter" or "sweet", but a matter of the espresso having the liveliness and ephemeral qualities that I would venture to say are part of the experience. Granted, two others present during our "experiment" disagreed with me, while another remained steadfastly neutral. I tried to explain my impressions of the flavor difference in terms of a carbonated beverage versus a day-old beer, and everyone just kinda looked at me like I was an alcoholic. So... anyone out there try this, and have a similar reaction/impression? Or should I tell my tastebuds not to quit their day job?
I finally got around to trying it this morning. I found at both hot and room temperature, I much preferred it with the crema. It seemed to be where all the flavour was. Without the crema, the coffee had almost no depth and seemed quite lacking in flavour.

Maybe it is down to the beans you use to whether it is good or bad.

The beans I use are a mix of Ethiopian Mocha, Honduras arabicas & Indian Mysore according to the packet. What is everyone else using?
This is very interesting. My espresso machine is out right now, so I cannot experiment with this myself, but I was curious about other's findings... Apparently, James felt the need to expound his thoughts in today's video:

http://www.jimseven.com/2009/07/08/video-3-espresso-vs-espresso/
I also did the "experiment" this morning, and found the taste and overall espresso experience lacking. I am in Olympia, WA at sea level and extract at 201 degrees with 20 grams using bottomless porta filters. My beans are roasted by Batdorf and Bronson here in town I use their Bohemian Blend which is a bit darker with a dark bittersweet and smokey flavor. Without the crema, which in my experience has always been flavorful, the taste, flavor and feel was lacking. For the "sweeter" overtones in my blend of choice I cold steep, toddy, the ground beans. Here the acids and oils are left behind and the "sweeter" overtones come to the forefront. Personally I prefer espresso with the crema intact for a complete experience. As it turns out so do my customers as I ran the experiment by many of them, especially those who enjoy a dopio. We Pacific Northwesterners like our crema.

Jesse Bladyka said:
I'd be interested to know what temperatures you all are brewing at. I just tried this experiment with our house espresso (a four bean post roast blend roasted to 450-455) and again with a single origin, Ethiopia Aricha Lot 1 (roasted about 430) and I can't say that I agree at all. I tried both bottomless and spouted portafilters and our crema is thick and sweet. While I wouldn't want to taste just the crema, our espresso without it is not as delicious. So I thought, what's going on? I'm preparing espresso at 7200 feet above sea level and it occurred to me that closer to sea level most of you are probably brewing at much higher temps, like Schomer says. Here, water boils at 199 degrees, thus we brew our coffee and espresso around 194-5. In general, I think this lends to a softer profile. I'd love for somebody with a PID down at sea level to do this experiment and tell me what the difference in crema taste is between my temps (194, 20g double) and whatever you are preparing for your customers daily. I'm looking forward to doing more research on elevation and espresso/roasting (we've got almost 20% less oxygen too!) and will keep everyone posted as I learn about the effects.

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