Kream | Coffee

My espresso at Kream Coffee in Phoenix, from my visit in 2018. It was served in a gorgeous, earthenware cup with little plugs for handles on the sides.Kream Coffee is part of the small, but growing, speciality coffee scene in and around Phoenix. It’s another of those places which I came across during my second visit to Phoenix last year, prompting me to make an excursion outside of my usual Scottsdale haunts. In this case I went just north of downtown Phoenix, where Kream is somewhat incongruously located inside a design shop on North Central Avenue.

However, don’t let that put you off. If anything, it’s a bonus, since it makes for some very pleasant surroundings, while when it comes to the coffee, Kream is top-notch. A multi-roaster, it draws on a cast of five roasters, some of the best in the US, to bring you awesome espresso and batch-brew, where there’s a different single-origin every day. The espresso, meanwhile, changes once or twice a week. You can also buy retail bags to take home with you.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Kream | Coffee on North Central Avenue in Phoenix on a bright day in March 2018...
  • ... and here on a particularly rainy day (yes, it does rain in Phoenix) last weekend.
  • Back to March last year, and the front of For the People, the design store housing Kream.
  • The A-board is right by the side of the road to catch the attention of passing motorists.
  • And here it is in roughly the same spot a year later.
  • The A-board pretty much sums it up, I feel.
  • There is some outside seating at Kream: a long bench and a couple of chairs...
  • ... although it looked more enticing last year in the sun! Check out the sun lounger.
  • That said, you don't have to go inside if you don't want to. There is a takeaway window...
  • ... at the right-hand end, which even has three stools sheltered from the elements.
  • The takeaway window seen from the other side, with a better view of the window itself.
  • The building, by the way, dates from 1953, which is quite old for Phoenix!
  • Let's go in, shall we?
  • The design store (For The People) occupies the entire rear of the buidling.
  • Meanwhile, Kream occupies the sunlit front, tables running from the door on the left...
  • ... to the counter on the right.
  • Another view of the counter in the front corner to the right.
  • You can, by the way, sit at the counter itself on one of three stools.
  • The previous photos were from 2018. When I returned last weekend, things had changed.
  • For example, the hexagonal coffee tables are now round and over by the counter...
  • ... along with a sofa, replacing this table, which has now moved to ...
  • ... join the other two round tables over by the door, forming a set of three.
  • The seating has also been expanded. As well as the seats along the front, there are...
  • ... sofas in the design-store part. Although these are for sale...
  • ... you're very welcome to sit there and drink your coffee if you like.
  • Alternatively, you can still sit at the counter if you prefer.
  • This is the counter from 2018, with the batch-brewer at the back...
  • ... and the single-group Synesso Hydra espesso machine, along with the EK-43 grinder.
  • A view of the business end of the Synesso.
  • The drinks menu was behind the espresso machine in 2018, but now it's been moved...
  • ... to behind the till & considerably simplified. There should be cards with the beans for espresso & batch-brew (drip), but they'd just changed & the barista hadn't put them up.
  • Talking of the till, there's some chcocolate and retail bags on display off to the left.
  • Meanwhile, you'll find the retail shelves on the wall behind the till, seen here in 2018...
  • ... and here last weekend.
  • Back in 2018, I had this Colombian from Colorado's Sweet Bloom...
  • ... as an espresso, served in this awesome earthenware cup.
  • I loved the little lugs which stood in as handles.
  • On my return last weekend, I once again had an espresso, once again from Sweet Bloom.
  • Even the cup was the same, the only difference was the coffee...
  • ... which this time around was a Kanzu from Rwanda.
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Kream Coffee has occupied the front of the design shop, For The People, since 2015, the two companies sharing the same ownership. The building, which dates from 1953, is set well back from the busy road, one of a group of several shops interspersed with various residential areas. There’s limited parking directly in front of the store, but plenty of other parking nearby.

The single-story building has floor-to-ceiling windows all along the front, with the door on the far left-hand side. A long bench runs along the front of the windows and you can order outside too, since there’s a takeaway window on the far right-hand end, along with a three-person bar, all under a neat lean-to type structure.

Inside, the store goes a long way back, open to the A-frame roof, creating a great sense of space, aided by the light from the east-facing windows. Kream, meanwhile, has a wide strip along the front, making the most of the natural light. A line of three, three-person round tables starts immediately to the right of the door, followed by a single, long sofa, facing the windows, with its back to the store.

This leads onto the counter in the front corner on the right. A simple affair, there’s a single-group Synesso Hydra espresso machine and EK43 grinder to the right, with three stools lined up in front of it. Alternatively, order at the till, which is off to the left, then take a seat at the one of the tables. If they don’t appeal, then your final option is For The People itself, where you’ll find a pair of sofas, back-to-back near the door. These are actually for sale, but you’re welcome to use them while you drink your coffee.

Talking of which, Kream uses a cast of five roasters: George Howell (Boston), Kuma Coffee (Seattle), Camber Coffee (Washington State), Sey Coffee (a recent addition from Brooklyn; the barista’s current favourite) and Sweet Bloom (Colorado), which, coincidentally, was on espresso for both my visits, the first coming in March last year and the second last Sunday, in January 2019.

On that first visit I had a single-origin Colombian espresso (a washed coffee from Rodrigo Sanchez in San Adolfo). This was naturally sweet and bright, although I’d describe it as more of a caress than a punch, the coffee being very well balanced. On my return, I had another espresso, this time a Kanzu from Nyamesheke in Rwanda, which was excellent with just a touch of acidity.

A word about the cups, by the way, which are gorgeous, earthenware models, with little plugs on the sides for handles. They alone are worth making the trip! I’ll leave you with some praise for the barista, who, have only met me once before when I visited nine months ago, recognised me almost as soon as I walked in!

5102 NORTH CENTRAL AVENUE • PHOENIX • AZ 85012 • USA +1 602-377-7349
Monday 07:00 – 17:00 Roaster Guests (espresso + batch-brew)
Tuesday 07:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Sofas; Chairs, Bench, Bar (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 17:00 Food Cakes
Thursday 07:00 – 17:00 Service Counter
Friday 07:00 – 17:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 07:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with login)
Sunday 12:00 – 16:00 Power Limited
Chain No Visits 11th March 2018, 6th January 2019

Liked this? Then take a look at the rest of Phoenix’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Phoenix.

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