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 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 EK-43 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|
|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||Cards||Amex, Visa, Mastercard|
|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|
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