411 2nd Street, Coralville, IA
(Next to Randy’s Carpets and Zephyr Printing)
Monday-Saturday: 6 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m.- 10 p.m.
With today’s “get it done yesterday” mantra, many of us find it difficult the time to take just a few minutes to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures. Open just over a month, Cafe Crema, a new contemporary-style coffee house located on the bustling 2nd Street (aka Coralville Strip) promises to bring Iowa City area coffee addicts a unique twist to their morning brews. Featuring siphon coffee makers, brews resul tin smoother textures than conventional electric drip coffee makers – all without wallet-busting prices. Prices at Cafe Crema tend to range from $2 for any one of the 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 atmosphere shies from other area coffee houses as the space is open and illuminated with immense amounts of natural sunlight during the day on the east and west walls and the neon-filled atmosphere that bellows from “The Strip” just a few feet away. 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, a perfect spot for late-night poetry readings or karaoke nights. However, the low ceilings may make the space feel cramped for some patrons. Additional features of the coffee house include an eight-person bar, booths in the rear and best of all, free Wifi. Cafe Crema is entirely sound-proof, as no road noise is detectable, making it a great after school hang out or for last minute study sessions.
With a wide variety of loose leaf teas ($2.50-$3.50), basic and specialty coffee drinks ($3.00-$4.00), steamed hot chocolate, a small array of baked goods, smoothies and even bubble tea and turkey sandwiches, Cafe Crema resembles more of a quick-service restaurant than coffee house.
After an initial wait of about fifteen minutes, we chose to order the Red Raspberry Rooibos hot tea ($2.50), Whole Wheat Turkey sandwich complete 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 spot on subtle raspberry after tastes and wasn’t too tart.
Next up was the Mixed Berry Smoothie, which overfilled the chilled, tall ice cream sundae glass in which it was poured. 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 resembled a milky or cream-based soup consistency. The only noticeable downside to the smoothie was the high level of sweetness however.
We wrapped up our meal with the Whole Wheat Turkey sandwich – a basic cold cut deli choice priced well. 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.
Finally, the customer service at Cafe Crema seemed extremely knowledgeable and welcoming, as 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.