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How to Make Café Crema Coffee at Home: 6 Easy Steps (With Pictures)

Café Crema

There is a wealth of espresso-based drinks that we enjoy making, but one in particular, the café crema, was especially interesting to us! This is partially because “café crema,” which translates loosely to “cream coffee,” isn’t well defined and leaves quite a bit open to interpretation.

To welcome you to the world of delicious café crema, we’re going to discuss its origins, what the drink is today, and how to make it at home. You’ll soon know what café crema is and, more importantly, how delicious it can be!

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What is Café Crema?

This is somewhat of a tricky question to answer because “café crema” can really refer to one of two completely different coffee beverages: one is a super long espresso shot, and the other is a creamy mixed espresso drink. Let’s go over the differences.

Café Crema, the Long Espresso Shot

Originally, “café crema” simply referred to what we call “espresso” today. “Crema” originally referred to the creamy top you usually see on top of a fresh shot of espresso.

Gradually, and for reasons unknown, the term “café crema” fell out of favor and was replaced with the word “espresso.” Today, “café crema” refers to a very long shot of espresso. There are many different terms used today to describe shots of espresso based on how long the hot water is pulled through the coffee grounds in an espresso machine.

A “ristretto” is a 1-1.5oz shot of espresso; an “espresso” is a 2oz shot; a “lungo” is a 3oz shot; and a “café crema” is a 6-8oz shot. All of these different shots use the same amount of coffee, so the pull time creates different flavor profiles in the various shots.

Therefore, a café crema is just a long shot of espresso, which generally calls for a more coarsely ground coffee.

Café Crema coffee
Image Credit: raggio5, Pixabay

Café Crema, the Mixed Coffee Drink

As the term “café crema” was replaced with “espresso,” a new, mixed drink, also called “café crema,” surfaced as a result of what some believe to be the mixing of Italian and Swiss coffee culture. Confusing, sure, but also delicious!

Café crema, the mixed coffee drink, is made by combining espresso with full-fat milk, sugar, and, believe it or not, flour. It may sound strange, but it’s thick and creamy, and it’s sure to bring a smile to your face!

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How Do You Make Café Crema?

Since the long shot of espresso is really just a…well, long shot of espresso, there isn’t much in the way of a “recipe” beyond grinding more coarsely and pulling the shot for a more extended time. As such, we’re going to instead dive into how to make the creamy mixed drink variation.

  • Enough coffee for 3 strong cups of coffee or 3-6 shots of espresso (We recommend Lifeboost’s Dark Roast)
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups of whole fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • Cocoa powder (optional garnish)


1. Begin by preparing either 3 cups of strong, black coffee with your favorite French press recipe OR 3-6 shots of espresso. Set aside.


2. Mix the flour, sugar, and milk into a medium cooking pot. Whisk the mixture until it’s fully dissolved.

Add ingredients

3. Turn heat to medium and immediately add French press coffee OR espresso.

 Add coffee

4. Bring mixture to a light boil while stirring continuously. Boil for one minute.

Whisk to boil

5. Pour mixture into serving glasses.


6. Top each with a small amount of cocoa powder as a garnish.


What Kind of Coffee Grounds Should I Use?

The coffee you choose will, of course, affect the taste of the final product, so you’ll want to choose carefully. A darkly roasted coffee is often best for espresso drinks, and especially for those in which the coffee will be diluted heavily with milk and sugar.

For making café crema at home, we recommend a dark Italian coffee ground finely for espresso or coarsely for making in a French press.

Worth reading: How Fine Should You Grind? The Ultimate Coffee Grind Size Chart

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The term “café crema” may have originally referred to what we call “espresso” today, but the meaning has changed quite a bit since it first came about. Today, café crema can either refer to a very long espresso shot that yields 6-8oz of coffee from coarsely ground beans, or it can refer to a creamy and delicious mixed coffee beverage made using full-fat milk, strong coffee or espresso, flour, and sugar.

Either way, café crema is delicious, and it’s bound to have you coming back for more no matter how you make it!

Featured Image: TravelCoffeeBook, Pixabay

Dan Simms

Dan has been a coffee fanatic since caffeine became a necessity in college, and since then his enthusiasm has only grown. He has come a long way since his days of drinking mass-produced coffee, and he now has a love and appreciation of the entire coffee experience from farm to cup.

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