What is Caffè Crema & Its Relationship with Espresso


Last Updated on November 15, 2022 by Timothy Byron Smith

The word “caffè crema” that English translates to “cream coffee” was first used in 1948 by an Italian coffee machine manufacturer “Giovanni Archille Gaggia.” Caffè crema was the initial name given to “espresso” in the 1950s.

espresso machine extracting espresso and crema

This term was given to espresso due to the presence of a thick tan layer formed on the top called “crema.” This foam is made as hot water pushes through the ground coffee under high pressure.

The name was later changed to “espresso” as the drink became popular with this name.

What do caffè crema means and its origins?

The term we know as “Caffè crema” has an intriguing history because we actually observe this term mentioned twice in historical texts of coffee.

Italian for “cream coffee,” caffè crema refers 2 separate coffee drinks:

  • It was an old name given to modern “espresso.”
  • Near Italian Swiss borders, this term is used for a long-serving of espresso drink (3-6 shots) that was popular from the 1980s in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

People usually get confused about how Caffé crema stand differs from several other coffee drinks.

Some Myths About Caffè Crema

Some believe that “Caffé crema” is made from some unique kind of coffee beans or requires a completely different brewing process that is not true.


As we mentioned above Historically, the term was traditionally used to refer to an “espresso,” as we just explained.

Since the 1980’s the term was used to refer to a long espresso drink that is not Americanos. A hot cup of water is used to dilute espresso to make an Americano, yet “Caffé crema” is just more espresso shots in a serving “between 3 to 6 shots.”

Brewing method for Caffè Crema

Because “Café crème” needed different grinding levels for brewing, it is not widely used in the UK. However a coarse grind is typically used, and the brewing procedure is exactly the same as espresso.

The timing of around 30 seconds remains constant. needed to end when the crema turns blond.

Other variations include extracting a little bit longer or tamping less. In addition to utilizing coarser grinds for “Café crème”, some baristas choose bigger portafilters to hold enough coffee while maintaining a steady water flow while brewing.

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