Crema is one of the most prized components of a well-made espresso. Caramel-colored and creamy in texture, the foamy puff is created when hot water emulsifies coffee bean oils and floats atop the espresso with smooth little bubbles. The first crema is believed to have debuted in 1948, thanks to Achille Gaggia, the Milanese café owner who invented the now-ubiquitous, lever-driven espresso machine.
But does crema make coffee better?
While the consensus for decades has been a resounding “yes,” more and more coffee experts are suggesting that drinkers scrape off the crema before drinking their espresso. This is sacrilege for many coffee drinkers around the world (like my Italian relatives, who I hope aren’t reading this).