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Apr 30, 2008 10:35 AM

Coffee House/Cafe "Crema" now open in Harvard Square!

Just saw that Crema, a self-proclaimed "independent coffee house/cafe" has opened finally, in the space previously occupied by the small Au Bon Pain location in Harvard Square (the BIG au bon pain near Out of Town News is still going strong).

Initial reviews are positive, my coworkers just bought salads and sandwiches at lunch and gave them a thumb's up, way up.

All of those who want to support local biz in the Square, you have a new opportunity!

Looking forward to trying their espresso, since their name references it so clearly...



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  1. Hi Jardinia, Where was the small Au Bon Pain? Was that the one close to "Housewares Square," near Putnam Avenue, Bowl & Board etc.?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chipper

      Hi Chipper,
      It is next to/near the Bertucci's on Brattle St. Kind of across from the hardware store and near EMS.

      1. re: eastiefoodie

        Awesome. Thanks Jardinia. Someone just spoke highly of their lemon curd cupcake on the cupcake thread - I'm there! :)

        1. re: Chipper

          OMG. What did I do to deserve those lemon curd cupcakes?? Thanks again Jardinia! I can't wait to go back and get some more! :)

    2. I stopped in briefly during the May Fair last weekend. I liked the look and feel of it and the pastries, which I did not try, looked very appetizing and the sandwich choices sounded good too. I have to admit, however, that I was disappointed in my espresso. It was too bitter and it took about five minutes for the barista to produce it, even though there were no other orders ahead of ours. I wouldn't mind a wait if it were a perfect espresso, but there's no way they're going to process lots of orders if it takes 5 minutes per espresso. Hopefully they'll get the hang of it with more practice. I really do want to support this place, however, so I will return and try the food and order another espresso to see if they've improved.

      1. I've been hitting Crema fairly frequently, and overall, I really like it.

        Coffee - I've only had the house dark roast and it's really good. I haven't tried the Terroir or any of the specialty coffee drinks.

        Baked goods - these have been really good to downright mediocre.

        homemade english muffin - I really like this. Very light and fluffy. They could be a little more generous with the butter though.

        Scones - hit or miss. The hits have been the pear ginger scone and the lemon apricot scone. The huge tasteless miss was the oatmeal pecan one. ugh. Such a disappointment.

        Quiche - I've only tried the spinach/feta one and it was tasty. Very nice crust with the right mix of egg to stuff. I wish the slice was a little bigger though.

        Egg sandwich - pretty good. I got this on the english muffin. The scrambled eggs were nice and fluffy and I think I got it with cheese and something else. It was undersalted and then I spilled the salt packet on the eggs. So, my taste was skewed. But, I did like my undersalted bite.

        Also, re: the crema on the espressos. According to one of the baristas, they want to start making little designs and/or in the crema. It will be interesting to see these if they do have time to make them.

        Overall, very friendly service and a nice comfortable space. I particularly like the "bar" area next to where they make sandwiches and the upstairs area. I don't like the common table in the front. I suspect, when the weather gets nicer and they open the front windows, it will be very pleasant in the front.

        3 Replies
        1. re: beetlebug

          thanks for the tip about the homemade english muffin--really fantastic, esp. since i'd never thought of an english muffin as having any potential before. very light, lightly toasted served with just butter and raspberry jam for $1.25. whattadeal.

          (great espresso's too!)

          1. re: beetlebug

            I forgot to add that I've also tried the cocoa banana muffin. Nice big chunks of banana mixed in with the strong chocolate flavor. It's intense (in a good way).

            1. re: beetlebug

              I had one of those muffins and it was delicious! Paired very nicely with my Red Crema drink, a Roobios (sp?) Latte with honey and cinnamon.

              The grilled cheese with bacon and tomato added is also amazing.

              (Full disclosure, one of the owners is a high school friend of my youngest brother and her parents are friends of my parents...)

          2. Place link:

            Crema Cafe
            27 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138

            2 Replies
            1. re: finlero

              Very nice appearance inside, and a nice location. Co-owned by the owner of Felipe's, the Mexican burrito shop in the Garage in Harvard Square. Wide selection of hot and cold drinks, pastries and sandwiches. Coffee, however is nothing special. There's nothing wrong with it, but this is not a "Chowish" destination for coffee or tea.

              1. re: lipoff

                If I were downtown would I make a special trip to Crema? Probably not. But, if you pass through the square and would like a pick me up, this is a nice alternative to Starbuck and Peets. Especially if you want a little snack to go with your coffee. Personally, I don't care for the snacks at either of those chains, although I do love Peet's coffee and the new pressed coffee at Starbucks.

                Also, it's one more way of supporting a local establishment v. a chain. It's getting more and more difficult to do so in the square.

            2. I just finished an egg sandwich on and English Muffin which was really good. The English muffin is lifght and fluffy, almost no crunch even though it was toasted.The scrambled eggs are very creamy, which is unusual in my experience. It could have used a little salt, but I'm happy to add that myself.

              The cafe au lait is fine, but not really an au lait since there is foam everywhere. I wish I could get a good au lait here.

              3 Replies
              1. re: EmmaFrances

                > I wish I could get a good au lait here.

                EmmaFrances, was curious how you felt about Peet's? I've always really liked their cafe au lait. Also, the Starbucks in the Garage has a Clover machine; although I haven't been to that branch, I've really enjoyed getting my pressed coffee as a misto. Keeping it totally local, have you tried Simon's on Mass Ave? They have a reputation for being serious about their coffee, including how they steam their milk.

                1. re: finlero

                  Oh, someone pushed my CaL button. I hate ordering a cafe au lait as a misto, but do it anyway and it usually comes out ok. I would like the meet the ad wizard that came up with that one and give him a piece of my foot up his keister. [serenity now!]

                  Simon's does a decent cafe au lait but it usually seems a tad weak to me and doesn't retain its temperature well (now I am being picky). Peet's has been hit or miss for me. I've been equally unimpressed with Cafe Crema, but it still gets me my fix, and I like the space, the people and the food there.

                  Is there a truly fantastic cafe au lait in Boston?

                2. re: EmmaFrances

                  Glad you didn't spill the salt (the way I did).

                  I do wish that they would put salt and pepper shakers on the tables. I hate using those little packets because I always have an accident with them.