In my never-ending quest to get just a little more crema out of every shot, I've been experimenting with some advice I received from a barista - allow the puck to warm a bit in the porta filter on the group head prior to pre-infusing and pulling.

I have tried this, and I'm still skeptical - I don't really see a difference in the amount of crema that I get. I've tried a few different beans with this experiment:

While I do get a tad more pressure, I'm not getting any more crema than I usually do. His logic was pretty simple, pre-warming at around the 90 degrees Celsius that the head / portafilter tend to be results in more of the oils in the extraction, hence crema.

I've let it pre-heat for up to a few minutes with no real change in the pulled shot, with and without pre-infusing.

Is this just a tall tale? Am I not letting it get hot enough or for long enough? Is Arabica just too gentle of a bean for this to work? The reason I'm trying to get more crema is for a few new deserts I'd like to make, the coffee is still delicious, I just hoped that the experiment would yield more.

Brewing using a Breville Barista Express (manual mode), if it makes any difference.

  • If anyone is curious, the desert is partly gelatin made from espresso, mousse, and then a healthy topping of crema and a quick freeze. It's taking me spooning 3 shots worth of crema to make just one, hence the desire to get more :)
    – user101
    Jan 28, 2015 at 13:45
  • The longer you wait the less crema it pulls because gases evaporate that would normally form the cream along with oils and other residues. The real question is why you would want a lot of crema? It doesn't actually affect the taste of the "espresso", it can just give you indication of freshness (fresh coffee = more CO2), quality of extraction (bad extraction = less) or whether it's blended with Robusta. It's not a quality in itself (other than aesthetic maybe) in my opinion. Long answer short, use fresher coffee, darker roasts and blend with Robusta if you are after crema for the sake of it.
    – avocado1
    Feb 14, 2020 at 17:30

1 Answer 1


Well, I've heard a lot of "pro tips" and advice having worked around espresso machines for a few years. And I must say, this one is new. I have never heard of warming the coffee itself. I can't imagine that, at the temperature at which the brew head usually resides, many significant changes are made in just a few moments of warming the coffee.

The closest I've heard to this is that some believe in the opposite. A fellow once told me to leave my spent puck in the portafilter if someone was going to be brewing again shortly. He claimed this helped retain heat in the portafilter. Though the science checks out, the results proved marginal and pretty much just made you the lazy guy using the espresso machine.

So, in closing, I'd say that the effects of warming your coffee are probably negligible, and that you can get more crema more easily through other means (buying better quality coffee, adjusting your brewing variables, etc)

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