James Hoffman says "crema is rubbish." What do you guys think? I think since it is James, we ought to seriously consider what he is saying and judge it based on the results. His controversial video has been out for some time now (i don't think I saw a thread on it here on bx, though), I thought I would bring it up. So, watch the video, and let me know what your responses are.

Here's the link:

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Totally agree...especially with the lack of mouthfeel. Espresso is so exciting! It's great to see how we can change it; how we can manipulate the experience. I love that James is pushing the buttons and that he's always asking questions that help us remember that we never will completely grasp the beauty in coffee. The experience keeps us coming back, and the experience is continually evolving...Love it!

Bam Bam said:
I actually just tried skimming the crema the other day during a training sesh. The mouthfeel did not appeal to me. I also felt like I was missing out on major flavor components. The experience was overall totally weird. These were just my initial responses to a one-time trial - I'll definitely keep experimenting, since this is such an intriguing idea to me.

I'm into stirring spro, for sure, although I still love just pulling and slamming it. I love the idea of experiencing espresso in different ways: stirred, unstirred, sans crema, stirred + sans crema. These methods all create such uniquely different sensual journeys. Exciting stuff!
I see it this way- crema is part of espresso, without crema is it still...espresso? I mean champagne without bubbles is still champagne, but for sure it is missing an integral part of the equation...right? As a roaster we work hard on blending that not only produces a quality shot (meaning the liquid proportion of an espresso), but also on ensuring the crema is what it is. I dont necessarily disagree with James- but think even he would agree that Guniness without the head is not what most patrons would accept ;p
off topic maybe, but james just won award for Outstanding Contribution to the European Coffee Industry 2009 in Wienna last week...
Here is Brian Franklins official response. James said he will be responding to it soon.


I tried this today at the shop, and was surprised. We use a fairly light roast for our espresso and if the shot is at all off-it tends to be explosively bright. Cutting the crema smoothed the rough edges out significantly, the brightness diminished and became more palatable. Still, something is missing from the experience without crema. I suspect an americano without the crema could be a significantly smoother experience for lighter roasts, however, and I'm very curious as to how this would effect single origin espresso.
When you remove the crema from an espresso, you remove an element of the spro that truly delineates it from many other drinks that you will consume. The crema of espresso is composed of tiny bubbles of CO2 that contain the aroma of espresso that we find to be so appetizing. When you drink an espresso, the bubbles pop at the back of your throat and travel up to the rear nasal cavities, and give a much different tasting and smelling experience than one usually has. 70-75% of what we perceive as taste is actually smell and therefore, when you remove the crema, you will not have that taste experience gained from the aroma being released in the back of your nose and it will completely change the taste of the spro, leaving it devoid of many of the flavors that characterize espresso as itself. I have actually tried James' technique on both ristretto and lungo shots and have found that the spro tastes rather flat and empty. Also, it has a very thin mouthfeel, and the flavor doesn't linger as long as usual.
I'm on the fence here, though my trials brought out a very well balanced cup. i can see that there may be room to expand on this without expelling the crema. further experimentation may be needed. But as far as with americano's go a few blind taste tests on the test mice ( customers ) revealed some amazing results. they could definately tell that something was different, hands down the cremaless americanos were triumphant. i was even told by one valued regular that "THIS IS THE BEST AMERICANO I'VE EVER HAD" This field never stops changinging. lets keep on with the experiments. I always have to remind myself that there is never only one path to take.
I'm not about to start scooping crema off of drinks though. it seems a little too untraditional to me

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