Krea Opens in Istanbul’s Caddebostan Neighborhood

When I think about what distinguishes a great coffee shop, a lot hinges on what I call “the owner effect.” It’s easy to tell when a café is a cash grab from a predatory investor or a hobby business from a disinterested founder. These places rarely offer a compelling customer experience.

Perhaps I’m influenced by my own background as a barista, but I find the best cafés are the barista-driven passion projects from coffee professionals who have finally managed to open their own place. Krea in Istanbul’s Caddebostan neighborhood, is undoubtedly the latter.

Krea is the first retail venture for Istanbul coffee veterans Orkun Üstel and Ergin Yüksel. Üstel (pictured) is perhaps best known as the two-time Turkish Brewers Cup champion and the cofounder of Kafein Kültür, a wholesale coffee roastery that, not surprisingly, supplies Krea’s coffee. Yüksel has long been a fixture in the Istanbul coffee scene, with a CV too long to mention (he’s made us coffee at no less than three different Istanbul cafés.) Üstel and Yüksel first worked together in the early days of Kronotrop, and it’s exciting to see the friends open a place they can call their own.

When I visit Krea, Yüksel brews me a pour-over of Kafein Kültür’s Finca Villa Betulia, Colombia. The cup exhibits everything I’ve come to expect from the roaster: a clean, bright cup with generous fruit and great sweetness. Krea also offers a variety of house-baked pastries. I tried the savory buckwheat cake– one of three gluten-free options– and it did not disappoint.

Üstel has created a loyal following of home baristas and coffee nerds with his YouTube channel and frequent coffee events. Krea will serve to host many of these events in the future. In the meantime, coffee lovers looking for a barista-driven café in Istanbul should look no further than Krea.

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