Crema in the Junction
- Lazar Aug 17, 2008 08:48 AM
This morning as I was coming into work (yes I know it is Sunday, but we all have deadlines) I was going to make my obligatory run by Tim's to get a coffee. Driving west on Dundas (past Keel) I spied the cafe Crema out of the corner of my eye on the South side of Dundas.
Curiousity got the better of me and I pulled over, parked, crossed the street, and walked in. Apparently they have been there about 4 months, and I am ashamed to say that I never noticed them before. The cafe itself is fairly new looking, and in great space. But what really sold me, was the fact that at the end of the coffee bar, next to the cash register was a Clover. YES, A CLOVER!!!! I love Clover coffee, probably because I find the machine really neat, but that aside, I was thrilled to see one there.
I asked if they were at all affiliated with Manic coffee (the only other coffee house I am aware of the has a Clover, but correct me if I am wrong), especially when I saw one of the barristas finishing off an order with some latte art. I was told that they were friends with Manic, but they are not affiliated, although they admitted a similar setup.
Next visit, when I have more time, I will stay and try some of there nibbles and get the whole Crema experience.
Now, if Alessandro from Il Gelatiere will open a shop in my neck of the woods, the circle would be complete.
....oh, almost forgot, the coffee was great, and the are located at 3079 Dundas West, at the corner of Dundas and Quebec Ave.
Wow, great find Lazar! I will certainly go there this week and ask lots of questions about their beans and food and report back.
(On a different note, I too agree that Il Gelatiere is excellent. I always joke that they have sold their souls to the devil to achieve such perfect gelato -- especially when the other parlours like Solferino and Dessert Lady have unappetizing half-melted product this time of year!)
Ok, so I did a comparison today between Crema Coffee Co. and Cherry Bomb, within a few hours of each other.
Crema has a lovely modern interior. 8 tables plus two armchairs and lots of comfy bench seating with gorgeous throw cushions. Food (baked goods) is from 4 sources: in-house, Wanda's Pie in the Sky, and two others. Beans are roasted in Vancouver by 49th Parallel. They also sell 49th Parallel in take-home bags with roast dates printed on the bottom (some as old as one month ago) including Esmerelda for $30 a bag. I enjoyed a regular latte (organic) for $3.69. Good latte art. Good blueberry raisin bran muffin (house-made). Decent washrooms down a flight of stairs. I enjoyed wandering around the Junction afterwards, and stopped in at Sweet Potato (an "all-natural" grocery store) and had a Beretta organic burger at Bronto Burger (not much taste, sadly). I would definitely return to Crema. They are open 7 to 7 Mon-Fri and 8 to 6 on weekends. I'd rate the latte a solid 8 out of 10. Next time, I'll try the Clover, but normally I never drink drip coffee which is why I compare lattes everywhere I go! I forgot to notice if they use one or two shots in the latte but I would guess two. Crema only uses biodegradable cups, lids, etc. I also tried the African Summer iced herbal tea ($3) which needed liquid sweetener. Crema's phone number is 416-767-3131 in case you need it. http://www.49thparallelroasters.com/c...
Cherry Bomb uses Dark City, roasted twice a week at Dark City in GTA. Cherry Bomb grinds the beans daily and offers 4 kinds of beans (plus one decaf) for espresso-based coffee (one medium, one dark, one Kona for $1 more, and one 5-blend). I got the H5 blend (5 beans, blended just for Cherry Bomb) for 50 cents upgrade. Two shots is standard. They carry Wanda's Pie in the Sky as well as their own in-house baking. I got a medium latte (everything is done in to-go paper cups, presumably because there is such limited seating at the window bar) and delicious almond macaroon (house-made) for $5 total. Good latte art. Blend was not as chocolatey as I hoped, but still a solid 8 out of 10. The drip coffee makers at Cherry Bomb looked like the kind you'd see in an old-school diner (most people have better ones at home). Not confidence-inspiring. http://www.darkcitycoffee.com/catalog...
Overall, however, I still much prefer the lattes at Bulldog.
I also wanted to try Tinto (they use Birds'n'Beans beans) but really needed to have a good sleep tonight, and besides, I can have B'n'B anytime since it's in my 'hood!
While I'm on the topic of Roncesvalles coffee shops, I must say DO NOT go to Alternative Grounds. Mediocre latte with over-the-top thick foam, and even the saran-wrapped biscotti take on the sweaty stench of the interior. I really wanted to like them because they support L'Arche Daybreak (the core members at Daybreak's pottery workshop make Alternative Grounds' coffee mugs!) but this is a Non-Chow destination. Buyer Beware!
i went to crema several times in the past couple of weeks and they've been consistently good. i usually make my own coffee at home with the pc brand great canadian coffee (i know i know) but too many early mornings called for good strong coffee.
crema doesn't have any lactose-free milk so i ordered a soy latte. i've had the low fat milk latte before and the low fat milk one wins hands down. soy milk just doesn't have the same mouth feel as cow's milk. i also don't find that soy milk blends well with coffee. each espresso-based drink was made to order (grinding the beans per order) with very pretty foam art. the only downside to this is that there might be a longish wait if there are several people in line. a large soy latte was just under $5. i also had the drip coffee (large is $2) and this was excellent. no bitterness at all.
they also have some loose leaf tea available and cold drinks. beans are for sale as well.
i think crema finally has an oven installed so maybe they're starting to bake their own pastries. i had a really gigantic and moist pumpkin muffin (topped with some toasted pumpkin seeds!). their blueberry scones are very delicious too. pastries were around $2.50/each. there was an assortment of muffins, scones, biscotti, brownies and cookies.
crema has free wi-fi too. i highly suggest going to crema if you're in the junction. beats starbucks and second cup any day!
one of the baristas has a blog about crema: http://www.ummonshadow.com/shadowblog...
I live in the neighbourhood and go to Crema all the time. I drink their Americano's and didn't realize how good they are until i had one from another coffee shop. The staff is lovely and so are the snacks.
A wonderful addition to the Junction!