The Senseo coffee machine by Philips and Douwe Egberts apparently markets itself as the machine “with the delicious crema layer,” creating huge controversy for true coffee connoisseurs.


According to the Senseo site, the claim is for a “frothy coffee layer that seals in aroma and taste” - basically, the definition of crema, right?

Well, a couple of points need to be made. First, the Senseo machine uses a pod system. That should flash some warnings. The coffee is already prepackaged in little filters - meaning it is not freshly ground by the time it hits your machine. Combine that with the fact that it’s not a fine espresso grind to begin with and the pressure of the system is not strong enough to release the oils needed for true crema, you get a coffee that cannot be called espresso.

Ok, so Senseo first doesn’t push enough pressure through to create the crema oils, and any oil that does get created is sopped up in the filter. Great design for an espresso-like machine, heh? Well, they do call it a coffee machine, not an espresso machine… but still, they have gone to the trouble to approximate the look of an espresso. The final coffee created looks like an espresso with crema, but the “stuff” on top is actually just foam.

Second, the stuff on top of the Senseo-produced brew is not crema. They use a little nozzle to drive pressure out to create lots and lots of bubbles to approximate the look and feel of a true crema.

This whole rant is thanks to the great post over at Bloggle: The Coffee Odyssey.