How to make a perfect crema – even without a machine

make a perfect crema

How do you make a perfect crema for coffee, even if you don’t have a machine? Our guide explains all the different ways to do this with and without a device.

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The discussions do not seem to be fading away as to how best to roast, boil or drink coffee. We would like to devote ourselves to the embellishment of the cult drink. Frothing milk without owning special equipment is not easy, but can be easily implemented with the necessary tricks. Surprise friends and guests with delicious crema, which you can decorate with a heart or a leaf. Sipping the coffee through the delicious crema awakens that holiday feeling. We will tell you below how you can make a perfect crema at home and without expensive espresso machines.

Crema – child’s play or science?

There is a wide variety of equipment in the trade. Coffee connoisseurs all over the world argue about which milk should be used, what temperature it should be and how to transform it into the best crema. The palette ranges from simple milk frothers for a few euros from the supermarket to complex machinery that works with steam or mixes milk with air.

How is crema made?

Crema can only arise because it is in the nature of milk to be foamed. When the milk is foamed, fats and proteins combine with the air. If air is added to the milk, fats and proteins are swirled and can form the structures mentioned. Crema is nothing more than air bubbles that are surrounded by milk.

Crema technology

Nothing works without technology. The inventors and inventors apparently thought the same with regard to equipment for frothing milk. Almost all manufacturers of coffee machines also offer milk frothers. And some of them are quite complicated!

1. Mechanical milk frother

With a mechanical milk frother, muscle strength is required. The devices consist of a jug where you can fill the milk and a sieve with a pump. You operate the pump and thereby froth the milk. The jug can be placed on the hob. The milk can also be heated in the microwave. Mechanical milk frothers produce a lot of crema in a short time and are available from $10.

»Tip: Only glass jugs can be heated in the microwave. Stainless steel cans can only be heated on the hob.

2. Milk frother with battery

Battery operated milk frothers are small and handy. They consist of a small spiral, which can be set in motion at the push of a button. The milk is first warmed and then placed in a tall and narrow container. Now take the device into operation and make slightly circular movements until the crema has the desired consistency. The devices are available for less than $20 and are suitable for single households and occasional use.

3. Electric milk frother

Electric milk frothers must be connected to an electrical outlet. The milk is poured in and the rest of the work is done by the machines themselves. The milk is heated and heated in the machine. No other tools are necessary. Electric milk frothers are commercially available from around $30 and are suitable for frequent use and uncomplicated use in everyday office life to make a perfect crema.

Commercial milk frothers and their advantages and disadvantages

Milk frotheradvantagesdisadvantage
Mechanical milk frother+ robust
+ economical
+ easy to use
+ attractive appearance
– Muscle strength necessary
– less suitable for larger households
Battery powered milk frother+ inexpensive
+ easy to use
+ ideal for occasional use
– Batteries necessary
– prone to failure
– not suitable for larger households
Electric milk frother+ easy preparation
+ stove or microwave are not required
+ large quantities can be produced
– expensive
– electricity must be available

Make a perfect crema – how professionals work!

To make crema with the portafilter machine, the milk should come straight from the refrigerator. You fill the amount of milk into a stainless steel jug and make sure that the jug is only about two thirds full of liquid, otherwise the crema will not fit in the container or the milk will heat up too quickly and will not foam.

The individual steps:

  1. Turn on the steam tap
  2. wait until only steam comes out
  3. Dip the steam lance into the milk
  4. Mix milk with air
  5. Dip the steam lance deeper into the milk
  6. Hold the steam lance against the edge of the jug
  7. Switch off the device after heating and increasing the volume

The right container for the perfect crema

Last but not least, when it comes to producing the crema, the right container is important. Round shapes of the jug and a spout that is as deep as possible are best suited. Shell-like or cylindrical vessels are less suitable.

Milk is not just milk

Making crema requires less equipment than you might think. Without milk, however, it doesn’t work. It is best to always use it fresh and cool, so it should come straight from the refrigerator.

»Tip: The higher the fat content of the milk, the creamier the crema will be.

Low-fat UHT milk is therefore less suitable if you want to make a delicious crema yourself. The milk should not be heated too hot, because then it can happen that the crema collapses quickly.

»Tip: You can also experiment with almond milk, oat drink or soy milk. However, it will probably take some practice to make a satisfactory crema.

Creamy or firm?

How do you imagine your crema now? For many of you, the hardest possible foam will probably appear desirable. If you ask a barista, he will probably judge this “construction foam” a little badly. Crema according to the professionals’ ideas is creamy and still slightly fluid. Simply try out the crema you like best using the following methods.

Make crema without equipment

Crema in the microwave

You need:

  • microwave-safe and lockable glass
  • microwave
  • Muscle strength

How to do it:

  1. Pour milk into the glass
  2. Close the jar
  3. Shake the glass vigorously
  4. Unscrew the cover
  5. Warm up the glass
  6. Serve the crema

Choose a stable and microwave-safe container. Take the milk out of the fridge and pour into the glass.

»Tip: The glass should be at most half full of liquid so that there is enough space for the crema.

Now close the jar and shake it vigorously. This can be a sweaty affair. However, you should have made it after a minute at the latest and the milk appears smooth and creamy, without any additional equipment and aids.

Now unscrew the lid and the glass comes into the microwave for about 30 seconds. The milk should not boil, but it can get hot. The crema can now be added to the coffee. The crema pleasure is ready.

Make a perfect crema with a whisk

You need:

  • vessel
  • whisk
  • microwave

Take the milk out of the fridge and put it in the prepared container. Now you can slowly warm the milk on the hob and whip it with a whisk or wand. You can also froth the milk cold and then briefly heat it up in the microelle as described above.

What needs to be considered when making a crema?

In order for the crema to succeed, the size and shape of the container must be observed. The milk should be fresh and come straight from the refrigerator. Fat and protein content should not be less than 3.3%.

»Tip: If a little lactose-free milk is added, the crema gets a silky appearance and tastes sweeter.

Serve the crema correctly

It actually worked and you are proud of the homemade crema. This should be used as soon as possible after frothing, because it doesn’t take long and the crema collapses. When pouring, the crema should get under the coffee. You can do this if you lean the jug against the edge of the cup and tip the jug very carefully. This is the only way to ensure that the crema really gets under the coffee.

If the surface appears smooth and shiny after pouring, then you’ve got the hang of it and created perfect crema. Complete your artwork and serve a delicious patterned cappuccino. If you lack the necessary dexterity, work with a template and cocoa.