Open just more than a month, Cafe Crema, a new contemporary-style coffee house located on the bustling Second Street (also known as the Coralville Strip) brings Iowa City area coffee addicts a unique twist to their morning brews.
Featuring siphon coffee makers, brews result in smoother textures than conventional electric drip coffee makers, without wallet-busting prices.
Prices at Cafe Crema range from $2 for bakery pastries and basic espresso to $4 for smoothies and a few Crema Specialty drinks. Half and full-pound bags are also available for $7 and $14 respectively.
Inside, the 62-seat space is open and illuminated with immense amounts of natural sunlight. Chocolate maroon and a single bright green accent wall create a hip, encouraging attitude and the cherry wood tables and chairs along with the plush microfiber armchairs make the environment functional and fun. A small performance stage is set in the front of the shop for late-night poetry readings or karaoke. There is an eight-person bar, booths in the rear and free Wifi.
With a wide variety of loose leaf teas ($2.50 to $3.50), basic and specialty coffee drinks ($3 to $4), steamed hot chocolate, a small array of baked goods, smoothies, bubble tea and turkey sandwiches, Cafe Crema resembles more of a quick-service restaurant than coffee house.
After an initial wait of about 15 minutes, we chose to order the Red Raspberry Rooibos hot tea ($2.50), Whole Wheat Turkey sandwich with provolone, lettuce, tomato and mustard ($4) and the Mixed Berry smoothie ($4).
With free refills (simply save your tea bag after each), we drank down three 16 oz. cups of the lightly sweetened raspberry tea. Dark red in color, it had a subtle raspberry aftertaste and wasn’t too tart.
Next up was the Mixed Berry Smoothie, which overfilled the chilled, tall malt glass. Thinner than most we’ve tried, it was undeniably berry, though the raspberry flavor pushed through stronger than the others. The smoothie wasn’t icy, rather, it had a milky consistency. It was also a little on the sweet side.
We wrapped up our meal with the Whole Wheat Turkey sandwich – a basic cold cut deli sandwich as a good price. Although the the whole wheat bread resembled white bread and lacked on flavor itself, it was light and soft. Two red, small, yet unmistakably fresh slices of tomato, red leaf lettuce and the rich provolone were nice additions to the thinly sliced turkey with a small smear of mustard to boot. Overall although flavorful, we longed for larger amounts of each ingredient, as the sandwich was rather flat.
The staff at Cafe Crema was welcoming. The same individuals making our meal brought it out to us on colorful floral patterned plates. After a single purchase, your name is automatically registered in the computer system and from then on out, they simply refer to you by your first name.
– Quentin Misiag