The thick golden foam that sits on top of an espresso shot after a fresh pull. Crema is a bubbly bouquet of aroma that enhances the flavor of your espresso. The quality of the shot is often associated with the crema. A nice, thick, and colorful crema means the shot was pulled correctly and the beans were excellent. If the crema is thin or dissolves quickly, then there is an issue with the quality of the shot. Not all great espresso shots have an amazing layer of crema. Here's why, if you have darker or lighter roasted beans, crema is harder to create because the oil levels are too high or low. Additionally, if the beans have been sitting for a while, they will have "gassed" much longer than freshly roasted beans. In the end, it is nice to see crema resting peacefully on your espresso, and if you don't and still enjoy the flavor of your beverage, it's not a big deal. Remember that crema is a great indicator and not the confirmation of a great shot.
Popular in Australia and New Zealand, the Long Black is often associated with the Americano because the ingredients are the same. So why do they have different names? It's to indicate the order in which we put the ingredients together. Simply put, a Long Black is a shot of espresso with water, when the water is placed inside the cup first and then the espresso is added.
There are a few key differences when making the drink this way. The first is in the crema. Americano's don't have much of a crema because when the espresso is placed in the cup before the water is added, the crema tends to dissolve, while a Long Black retains its crema because espresso was added later. Then there is the flavor. A Long Black will have more flavor since the espresso was allowed to slowly blend with the water instead of having the water poured on top of it. For some, this doesn't seem like a major difference, yet when you try it, especially an iced Long Black vs Americano, it can be noticeable. Next time you are at the cafe, try one and see how you like it.
If there was a Mount Rushmore of lattes, the lavender latte would be on it. Lavender lattes are best known for those crisp spring mornings or cloudy days that call for a cozy blanket or your favorite hoodie and a Spotify playlist. There is something about lavender's fragrance that puts us at ease and enjoying it in a drink is a plus. There are different ways you can make a lavender latte. Some cafes only add vanilla to their latte, while others only add espresso, and there are a few that add both. If you are really adventurous, substitute espresso for earl grey or chamomile tea. That is a unique and enjoyable pair of flavors. The key is the quality of the lavender. The fresher the lavender you have the better the taste. Organic is a huge plus. Either way, the next time you are at your favorite cafe, if they have the lavender latte, give it a try.
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