How Your Nespresso Vertuo Machine Creates A Perfect Crema Every Time

clear glass with coffee and crema
clear glass with coffee and crema - ClipartKingdom/Shutterstock

Many Nespresso devotees, myself included, barely remember the days of laborious espresso preparations every single morning, measuring and grinding freshly roasted coffee beans, tending the highly pressurized extractions, and pulling those hopefully perfect shots of espresso into waiting cups. Then there's the cleanup. All that miraculously disappears with the Nespresso system, and yes, I've purchased three different Vertuo machines and have monthly auto-delivery of those perky little pods.

That begs the question: Why such devotion from millions like me, and which Nespresso features truly make the magic happen?  The answer to that, as with any fan-fave devotion to a product, is multi-layered -- but a good place to start is that lusciously creamy crema resting atop Nespresso drinks. It doesn't appear by happenstance, especially with the Vertuo line of machines and corresponding coffees. The crema instead comes from a carefully concocted tango between technology and nature. Specifically, the science-based Nespresso technology creating that crema is called Centrifusion, while the Mother Nature component comes from hot water and high-quality coffee beans, freshly roasted, finely ground, and mixed with air to release the bean's soluble oils.

Standard espresso machines create air bubbles through pressurization, but the Nespresso Vertuo machine tweaks that concept with Centrifusion. The technology is specific to the Vertuo machines, which differ from the Original line of Nespresso machines. It's a hands-off experience for the user, but what happens inside that machine is far from simple, involving barcodes, wildly spinning rotations, and super-hot water infusions.

Read more: 26 Coffee Hacks You Need To Know For A Better Cup

How Nespresso Crema Evolves

Nespresso Vertuo coffee with thick crema
Nespresso Vertuo coffee with thick crema - VelisavljevPhotos/Shutterstock

First, let's be clear that the crema you see perching prettily above espresso or coffee drinks doesn't come from any additives, including dairy. With the Nespresso Vertuo system, unless you've chosen a flavored coffee such as Caramel Crème Brûlée, it's only roasted ground coffee inside the pods. When flipping the pod over, you'll notice an embedded barcode around the rim, which is unique to each style of coffee.

A simple button press begins the coffee-making process, and the Centrifusion technology kicks in, like a whirling dervish in a carefully calculated java dance. First the system reads the barcode to determine the necessary extraction parameters per pod, including the amount of water needed, depending on whether you've chosen an espresso or double espresso pod, or other coffee styles ranging from roughly five to 18 ounces. It also calculates water temperature, flow rates, infusion time, and capsule rotation speed.

After an initial injection of water, the spinning begins. The machine continues injecting a calculated amount of hot water into the pod while it powerfully whirs up to 4000 rotations per minute. As you can imagine, every bit of flavor and aroma in the ground coffee gets extracted into your waiting cup, along with a velvety layer of natural crema at the top. That crema seals in the heady coffee aromas, releasing them as you sip and savor your coffee. It's just one element that makes Nespresso Vertuo machines unique, but it's a pretty delicious one.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.