A brisk 7-minute walk from the Country Music Hall of Fame, tucked away in a rather unlikely location near a Shell station, is Crema, Nashville’s premier micro-roaster. The dirt parking lot is reminiscent of some Tennessee back road and the building is unassuming. Upon stepping into the café, however, that impression disseminates with the greeting of a friendly barista and the scent of roasting coffee. Crema is both café and roastery, and the space is home to the operation behind their award winning coffee.
The shop is small, but constantly bustling with regulars and newcomers. The wooden trim and tables give a sense of comfort while the Hatch Show Print posters on the wall embrace Crema’s Nashville roots. Bags of green coffee- many sourced through direct trade relationships- give a more holistic perception of what goes on in the space.
The team of baristas at Crema work carefully and efficiently. When the barista calls your name, she places your drink on a small pedestal right next to the stainless steel of a La Marzocco GB-5 espresso machine. When I visited, I ordered the Corazón espresso, which is 60% Edlina Microlot Guatemala and 40% Kabirizi Rwanda. It was savory and tangy, warm with a sour edge. I also tried a pour-over of Colombia La Cristalina. After smelling the aroma, my first response to this coffee was one of nostalgia because I was transported back to childhood and the Mexican restaurants my family frequented. This coffee had a very tea-like body, but it still managed to give my mouth a saturated feel. It was citric in taste and toward the end was crisp and nutty. Crema’s tasting notes for this coffee are pink lady apple, almond butter, and lemon.
Crema is a fantastic café that not only takes great care in their craft of roasting and
brewing, but also in educating the customer. They regularly have coffee
classes that are open to the public, including espresso extraction, coffee roasting, and latte art. If you’re ever in Nashville, Crema should be at the top of your list of places to visit.