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All the World is a Birthday Cake

We just love celebrations of all shapes and sizes at Crema Cafe.  We also firmly believe that it isn’t a celebration without cake.  Whether it’s a bite sized cupcake or wedding cake for 300 guests, that ‘lil bite of goodness is an invitation to have fun and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.  Sharing cake is pretty much the same as sharing happiness, and that’s what a celebration is all about, right?

Welcome to our Signature Cake Series, where we’ll be highlighting some of our favorite flavors and the inspiration behind them!

Of all of the cakes out there, few are as iconic as confetti cake.  I mean, c’mon! Cake by itself is a beautiful thing, but add rainbow sprinkles and it’s truly a party!  Try cutting into a confetti cake without smiling.  I dare you.

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Our version of confetti cake, the Birthday Cake, is our longest running signature cake.  In fact, it’s one of the first cupcakes we ever made after opening our doors in 2008. It’s hard to dispute its appeal – it starts with buttery vanilla cake enveloped by vanilla bean buttercream, and then gets exponentially more awesome with all of those little bursts of color.  The beauty is in the simplicity. And the rainbow sprinkles. 

While it’s consistently been a fan favorite for birthday cakes and cupcakes, we’ve seen a growing number of couples choosing confetti cake for their wedding cakes and we’re just tickled pink with the trend.  Whether it’s frosted in simple white frosting or adorned with bright colored florals, it’s bound to get a smile out of your guests when you cut your first piece as a married couple and reveal the colorful surprise beneath the frosting.

Confetti cake is also highly customizable.  Vanilla too boring for ya?  Add a filling!  We adore it with passion fruit curd.  Or, you could just leave it as-is and enjoy the simple pleasure of feeling like a kid on your 5th birthday. Yum!

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Love is in the Air!

It’s officially February (can you believe it!?) and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!  Need to find a unique gift for someone special?  What’s better than a sweet treat, made with love at your neighborhood bakery & cafe? Our bakers don’d need
Financiersan excuse to make adorable pastries (have you seen our signature heart shaped financiers?), but something about Valentine’s Day brings out the romantic in all of us.

Want something timeless and loveable?  Grab a Cupcake 4-pack!  This February’s flavors will be Lemon Chambord, Red Crema (honey soaked cinnamon cake with roobios buttercream), Chocolate Strawberry, and Carrot Cake. Finished with a ribbon and a heart stamped tag, these are guaranteed to make your sweetie swoon. $12.

 

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Looking for something more elegant?  Well, you’re in luck!  We have a trio of romance inspired French macaron flavors for your gifting pleasure.  Our gift boxes include two of each of our Valentine’s Day flavors: Pink Champagne, Chocolate Chili (aka Hot & Spicy Love), and Passion Fruit!  Packaged in our signature kraft box, they’ll make the perfect gift for that special someone.  $11.

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Persian Love CakeWe will also be offering our favorite Valentine’s Day treat: Persian Love Cake!  Saffron and rosewater infused whipped cream is sandwiched between layers of pistachio dacquoise to create a cake so light and exotic, it might make you fall in love on the spot.  We are so in love with this combination, we created a cupcake inspired by it for the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars!   Get it by the slice or pre-order a 6” by 8” cake by Wednesday, February 12th. $25, serves 6-12.

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Email us at cremacambridge@gmail.com by Wednesday, February 12th to pre-order your Cupcake 4-pack, French Macaron box or Persian Love Cake! <3

 

Fall Wedding Recap

As we layer-up and hunker-down for the approaching  winter, we want to take one fond look back at the incredible summer & fall we’ve had here at Crema, and in particular the fall weddings we’ve been so honored to be a part of!

Sweet Tables have been a growing trend at weddings and special occasions for a few years now. We love doing Sweet Tables because we get to make super-cute mini items, and guests can try a bunch of different desserts instead of just one! Some brides pick a design or flavor theme for their table, while others mix and match so they can include a little of everyone’s favorite items. p2070623784-o626548385-4 Gwen & Jake’s wedding Sweet Table at The Overbrook House in Buzzards Bay was a rustic display of all of the couple’s favorite desserts. As a former baker and chef at Crema, Gwen has a special spot in her heart for sweets, and this vintage mixer was a perfect accent piece on her table. All photos are by the incredibly talented Zac Wolf!


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Next up was Jen & Oliver’s Pie Bar at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. This Labor Day weekend wedding was UNREAL – Amy Kimball Events turned the ballroom of the Fairmont into a rustic shabby-chic venue with just the right mix of elegance and down-home whimsy. When Amy approached us and said that Jen and Oliver wanted to do a variety of pies instead of the traditional cake for their wedding, we knew we had a really fun project on our hands! Jen and Oliver spoke our language when it came to pie and tart flavors and they selected some of our all-time faves: chocolate-espresso, coconut cream, key lime meringue, peach, berries & cream, and strawberry-rhubarb. YUM! We mix-and-matched tart sizes and shapes to give the desserts a rustic, eclectic look, and we worked in lots of wood and metal elements and chalkboard signs give the table a warm, inviting feel.  For design embellishments on the tables we pulled in the raw ingredients from the desserts, like a huge mason jar full of fresh strawberries, little jars of coffee beans and fresh limes on the tables as sign-holders. Jen & Oliver’s big day (including the pie bar!) was beautifully photographed by Lauren Killian of Person + Killian Photography.

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Now we don’t want to give the impression that we’re not just as psyched about cake as we are about Sweet Tables & pies, so here are two of our favorite wedding cake projects of the past few months!

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Daniella and Jay had a true fairytale wedding at the Boston Public Library in September. Their dream-of-a-wedding-planner was Eliza Rafferty of The Catered Affair. Getting married in the library’s courtyard at dusk, Daniella and Jay set the tone for a romantic, elegant and intimate evening. Their style is sophisticated yet creative and relaxed at the same time. The vision that Daniella had for their wedding cake fit this same description to a T; Daniella wanted a “naked cake” meaning that one could see all the exposed cake and buttercream layers from the side, and then between the tiers she wanted fresh flowers. This look is absolutely STUNNING. Daniella and Jay are chocolate lovers so our devil’s food chocolate cake was the obvious choice. Since they had a large wedding of almost 300 guests they needed to get a side cake in addition to the main attraction, so it made complete sense to get two different flavors so guests had options.IMG_4054                                             Decadent Chocolate Bourbon and luscious Chocolate Peanut Butter were the winners…drool. To end the night on a sweet note, Daniella and Jay sent guests home with custom Crema-made bicycle sugar cookies, an homage to the years they spent living abroad and biking in Amsterdam! Photographer Ned Jackson did an incredible job of capturing the day (and the deliciousness).

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Elaine and Josh were married in October at Habitat, a wildlife sanctuary in Belmont – what a hidden gem! This couple was looking for a trio of wedding cakes, similar in style to these cakes we did for a wedding in Beverly in August 2012:

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What we believe truly sets our cakes apart is the fact that the quality, freshness and flavors of the cake are equally important to the overall look. Elaine and Josh agreed, and they chose three different types of cakes for their trio: Chocolate-Covered Espresso, Vanilla & Lemon Crème, and Hazelnut Chocolate.

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Photo by Dreamlove Photography Photo by Dreamlove PhotographyAs we do, Elaine and Josh love the look of natural, just-frosted cakes.  Elaine also asked about doing one of the cakes with “naked” sides, which of course came out incredibly beautiful! Poppy Florals had exquisite succulents and dahlias on hand for us to place atop the cakes, which tied them in perfectly with the natural garden look of the venue. The lovely photographs are thanks to Dreamlove Wedding Photography.

 

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A HUGE thank you to Gwen & Jake, Jen & Oliver, Daniella & Jay, and Elaine & Josh for allowing us to be a part of your wedding days!  <3

 

 

 

Fall time is the best time!

Fall is most definitely our favorite time of year here at Crema! Between Octoberfest, Head of the Charles and Harvard football games, there is so much happening and we are thrilled to be here in the square for it all. We’ve got Halloween this week and Thanksgiving will be here before we know it!

Pour over Spooktacular!

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On Halloween we will be serving Chemex pour overs of our current guest coffee – Coava’s El Comun, Costa Rica – paired with a homemade chocolate walnut bark from 9:30-11:30am. We will be discussing the Chemex brew method, flavor notes of the coffee and having an all around good time drinking fab coffee and having fab conversations. We will also have brewing equipment for sale to get you all set up for making amazing coffee at home!

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Lets talk Thanksgiving!

We have a delicious line up of Thanksgiving desserts available…tarts, banana bread, and cookie + brownie platters. Order now and pick up between Monday (11.25) -Wednesday (11.27)! Ordering couldn’t be easier, just throw us an e-mail at cremacambridge@gmail.com with your order request and phone number and we’ll call you back to discuss and confirm.

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New bakery offerings, fresh swag and catering options galore!

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This fall we’ve added a bunch of new items to our bakery, retail and catering offerings – and we’re pretty stoked about it! Who can eat just one French Macaron or Truffle?! We’ve decided to tackle this ‘problem’ by putting together packs of Macs and Truffles. Each box contains 6 French Macarons or 5 Truffles. The current flavors are Lavender, Chocolate Bourbon and Earl Grey Macarons. Grand Marnier and Hazelnut Rose Truffles. They make perfect little gifts or are perfect for a midday snack attack. We also have our delicious granola packaged up and ready for you to take home or to the office.

As for retail, ’tis the season to get your Crema swag on! We’ve got t-shirts to keep you lookin fly, hoodies to keep you warm and tumblers to take your beverages with you in style.

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fruitncheeseloresAnd lets not forget about catering! We’ve added some tasty new savory options to the menu – Pretzel bites with various dipping sauces, a Charcuterie Plate, a Fruit & Cheese Platter and Canapés. As always everything is freshly made right here in our kitchen. Check out the new menus here. We have TWO catering menus to choose from, Casual and Celebrations…pick your pleasure!
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Oh and also…

Just a few quick reminders:
- We now have almond milk as an option for all milk beverages
- We have introduced the DELICIOUS maple latte
- Ciders, Chaiders (cider + chai), Almond Earl Greys and Ginger Steamers are perfect fall beverages

Crema Flash Mob Proposal!

It’s the summer of love and we’ve got mad love flowin’ through the cafe! On Sunday August 18, we hosted a flash mob for one of our managers – Amy. It was amazing. Check it out:

Our summer staff party wasn’t exactly what we had planned…the rain thwarted our field day activities, but that didn’t stop us from bangin out one heck of a party! With hula hoops in hand, we took the party to Charlie’s Kitchen…where Marley and Claire proceeded to create our own Crema Karaoke. And if I do say so myself, we have one talented crew. I mean, from Jordan and Nate captivating us all, to Meghan doing the tequila dance and Merissa and Marley rounding it out with One Direction…it was a pretty solid show. And just when we thought karaoke would be the highlight of the night…BAM! we are hit with the #YearOfLove idea of the summer! Claire threw around the idea of a flash mob at Crema, Marley got ridiculously excited and Amy decided a flash mob proposal was the perfect way to propose to Kate. And just like that, the Crema flash mob idea was born.

MVI_3685…Now, as we all know, many brilliant, even genius, ideas are started semi-drunkenly in a bar and are never seen to fruition. This is not one of those ideas. The flash mob proposal happened, and it was AWESOME. Claire choreographed the dance (in full on leotard gear!), taught us all the moves, hosted 3 practice sessions and held a full dress rehearsal. It was legit. And then it was Sunday, August 18th – the day the deed was to be done. Everyone showed up excited, a little nervous (though no one was as excited and nervous as Amy, obviously!) and ready to dance it out for the ultimate summer of love proposal. After a bit of a parking debacle, Amy entered the cafe and everyone took their places. Claire magnificently distracted Kate, and Amy went to start the music. And BOOM, just like that the dancing started, Kate had no clue what was going on. The entire front of the cafe was filled with spectators and everything happened just as planned. Right on cue, Amy came out, some tears may have been shed, she got down on one knee, pulled out a ring and, drumroll please……..Kate said YES! Everyone cheered and the smiles on Kate and Amy’s faces were priceless.

MVI_3686To round it out, the celebrating continued at Charlie’s, the very place the flash mob proposal idea was born. Seems pretty appropriate.

Amy, thank you so much for letting Crema be a part of your special day! We are so happy for you and Kate! Congratulations!! (and let us know if you need any catering for the wedding, because, ya know, we do that sort of thing ;) )

Introducing Sharitive! Start giving on Crema’s dime!

Last month we partnered with Sharitive, and on May 1st the app launched in the cafe. We are super pumped about the partnership and are excited to see Shartive grow here at Crema and beyond! I (Liz Cohen) sat down with Lizzie Bildner, founder of Sharitive to talk about the app, giving, community and the future. Here’s a preview: It’s awesome. 

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The Crema crew loves Sharitive!

LC: What is Sharitive and why should people get involved?

LB: Sharitive is a mobile app that creates a new way to help give back to your community. The app allows you to allocate a portion of the money you are spending at Crema to a local non-profit. It’s the feel good app that makes giving easy (and doesn’t cost you a dime)!

LC: So Sharitive is a fool–proof way to give, huh? How does it work?

LB: Exactly! Check-in on your smart phone, make a purchase at your favorite local business (Crema!) and funds are automatically loaded into your account. Login and donate Crema’s dollars to your choice of our vetted portfolio of nonprofit partners. You also have the option to match donations with your own money and/or sign up to donate your time.

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Lizzie helping a customer get setup with Sharitive

LC: I love it! Could this get any more convenient? I think not. So, how do you get started with Sharitive?

LB: To sign up, visit www.sharitive.org/app (in your browser, not the app store…yet). Bookmark Sharitive to your home screen so that you can easily access it. Every time you make a purchase at Crema, whether it’s your morning coffee, lunch, afternoon snack, or all three, use the code at the register to check-in. Immediately, you’ll see a dollar added into your Sharitive account that has been donated by Crema on your behalf. At any time you can donate those dollars to our nonprofit partners or even choose to match that gift; plus over time you can track all of your donations and see the impact you have had on your community.

LC: So, every time I check-in with the code at Crema, a dollar is added to my account that I can then donate?! That’s awesome. I think Sharitive is a really great gateway for consumers to start thinking about engaging with the non-profit community in a way that fits easily into daily routine. What’s your favorite thing about Sharitive?

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LB: Sharitive is designed to connect community stakeholders in a conversation around support for their community’s most critical issues. By making a purchase at Crema with Sharitive, you’re not only supporting your local business, but you are then empowered to further give back to your community. By partnering with Sharitive, Crema doubles their charitable impact in the community by not only giving back but by engaging their customers in giving back as well. Our nonprofit partners, with the reception of new Sharitive funds, then deliver their incredible programming back to the community. It’s really this triple win cycle that I think is our secret sauce.

LC: Where did the need for Sharitive come from?

LB: The need for Sharitive is two-fold. First, there are financial limitations that often cause people to disengage with charitable giving because they don’t have time to identify organizations they are interested in or the capacity to donate. Second, businesses field an enormous amount of community and charitable requests, resulting in what we call “ask fatigue.” Sharitive addresses this need by creating a community-giving platform that allows businesses to easily engage and empower their customers to give back, on the businesses’ dime.

LC: Sharitive takes the work out of giving by setting up a system that breaks down the barriers that often stops or slows the giving process, that’s pretty amazing. How did you come up with the idea for Sharitive?

LB: The idea for Sharitive came from my own experiences with the very barriers I listed above. When I first moved to New York City in 2009, I was overwhelmed by the cost of living on my incredibly small salary, and the amount of time and effort it took me to identify and become connected to a local nonprofit that I cared about. I began thinking of ways to address what I saw as shortcomings in the charitable and community engagement space. After a couple years of mulling different versions over, I decided to finally do it and launched Sharitive in the fall of 2012.

LC: Sounds like you’ve done a great job nailing down your idea and making it a reality. What inspires you now and what has inspired you in your journey to creating Sharitive?

LB: I’ve drawn inspiration from a lot of sources – I worked in the arts and loved experiencing the ways that artists communicate ideas to an audience; I then worked closely with other founders at a branding startup where you can’t help but be inspired by the intensity and passion that founders bring to their ideas. Now with Sharitive in action, I’m inspired most by the people I work with. Plus, the seemingly endless number of ways that we can address social issues with the use of new technology keeps the wheels turning constantly. I think that’s what makes the social innovation space so exciting and rewarding.

LC: What does the future of Sharitive (and the future of charitable giving) look like?

LB: Right now, our biggest challenge is developing a more seamless way to integrate Sharitive into a consumer’s experience. I think there will be a continued interest in garnering new funding via online, mobile solutions. However, I think the success of fundraising in the future will depend on an organization’s ability to demonstrate impact (and impact defined in other ways than just the overhead rate) as well as their ability to close the loop after a donor gives, which right now, I think could use some serious improvements. That’s another shortfall Sharitive is trying to solve.

LC: Why did you choose Crema to be Sharitive’s launch partner? Why do you think Sharitive will be successful here?

LB: Because Sharitive is so closely tied to community, I wanted to launch at a location that was intricately connected to one. As anyone who goes to Crema knows, it functions very much like a community anchor for both the University community and the larger Harvard Square community. It was great luck and timing that Marley and Liza were looking for a new way to give back and engage with their customers. Crema really has become an incredible partner to Sharitive.

I think Sharitive is already successful in Crema exactly for that reason. Crema’s customers are local and are supportive of the local community, so the concept of being thanked for that loyalty and support in a way that further enables them to give back to that very community, just makes sense. The challenge for us will be expanding beyond and seeing whether that attitude and idea translates.

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LC: Yeah! Liza and Marley have been talking for a while about ways they can use Crema to help give back; Sharitve is a perfect fit! How does Sharitive build community?

LB: Sharitive enhances a community, rather than builds it. Our program allows different community participants to interact and engage with one another. As we grow, we’ll be hosting different types of events such as meet and greets with our nonprofit partners, site visits, panels, etc. We’re trying to take a holistic approach to community by emphasizing person-to-person, rather than technology-driven, interaction.

LC: I love that idea! Face to face interaction is so important for creating a real connection and helping people stay engaged and feel a part of something meaningful. Sharitive launched with Crema on May 1st. Now that it’s been a month, can you talk a little bit about how it went? Were there any surprises?

LB: Absolutely! We definitely went through every emotion and obstacle possible during the launch. Enthusiasm, energy, rejection, you name it! What was incredible however is that if I had to estimate the number of positive responses we received, I would put it at about 75%, which when you think about cold calling, is really high! I credit the community for that. The biggest surprise at the end of the month was realizing that of the $271 dollars we generated, only a quarter was donated. When I followed up with our users to remind them of remaining funds in their accounts, the majority responded to tell me that they were saving up. I think that is so cool and can’t wait to see how those funds are allocated over the next couple months. For more detailed information on numbers and thoughts moving forward, check out our recent May Recap on our blog (www.sharitive.org/blog).

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No Party is Complete Without a Parting Favor!

Who doesn’t love a goodie bag? It’s like getting a gift for going to a party…how awesome is that?! Not to mention the throwback to your childhood – remember when you got a little bag of treats at the end of every birthday party? Here at Crema, we believe goodie bags shouldn’t just be relegated to the world of childhood. Let’s keep the tradition alive! When it comes to favors, we’ve got a couple Crema staples that we’ve found to be crowd favorites.

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Nothing says “thanks for coming” like homemade candies and cookies in unique, delicious flavors made specifically for your event. From champagne lollipops after an engagement party, to lime & smoked salt candies with tequila nips for Cinco de Mayo, we’ve got ideas to match whatever kind of shin-dig you’re throwing down.

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One of our favorite and most popular favor options is a duo of French macarons. It’s easy to customize flavors, colors & packaging for these cute little cookies, and they make the perfect little snack for guests to take on their way.

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Every goodie bag is customized to match your event; whatever flair you can imagine, we can make it happen. Next time you find yourself planning an event, let us help you make the goodie bag dreams of childhood a reality once again!

Happy 5th Birthday, Crema!

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Crema is turning five years old this week! I know I know, it’s hard to believe that this bustling little cafe here at 27 Brattle is leaving her toddler years and becoming a big girl. So in honor of Crema’s birthday I (Liz) took a few minutes to sit down with co-owners Liza Shirazi and Marley Brush to talk about Crema and all that she has become over the years.

[I also want to mention that all shirts worn in this post will be for sale in the cafe starting Monday, April 29th! Get pumped!]

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I’d like to start off by saying while we were having this little chat out in front of the cafe, there is a group of men hanging out and laughing; this same group of men – the Car Talk crew – have been hanging out (and laughing) at Crema since the doors opened in 2008, how appropriate!

Liz: Wow guys! Crema is turning FIVE…SO COOL! You must be a couple of proud mamas! That’s definitely a fist pumping accomplishment. I have a few questions about all things Crema so lets get this thing goin! First off, what is the biggest difference between Crema now vs. Crema in her first year?

Marley/Liza: Definitely the organization of the whole thing. The staff and customers know more what to expect and that has been a huge shift. The staff is more involved and they are more invested, it feels like the staff is more of a family. We have also learned to trust our employees more. It used to feel like we were pulling a boulder up a hill, but now that we have put people in appropriate positions, we are able to depend on them in ways we previously could not. We have learned to empower others to take initiative and help us run Crema so that not every problem needs to fall on us. It feels great to be in a place where the cafe can run smoothly whether we are there or not. It really does feel like a family here now-a-days.

Liz: Yeah, I definitely feel that! There is so much love going on in this place! How is Crema different than you imagined it would be?

Marley/Liza: We imagined it would be a small neighborhood cafe, and we had NO concept of the volume we would experience – that made the first two years very difficult. We were constantly adjusting operations to accommodate the volume. We expected to be able to have our hands in every part of the cafe, everyday. We learned the hard way and had to hire, train and adjust constantly on the fly. After months of exhaustion and burning ourselves out, we realized we’d better start delegating more. To give some perspective, we started with two bakers…we now have seven.

Liz: So you guys pretty much had no life. I respect that; looks like all the hard work is definitely paying off! What is your favorite part of Crema?

Marley: I love, truly love, everything about Crema. Having such an amazing staff, and not only them doing such a great job, but them taking initiative and truly caring takes mental exhaustion and stress off of us and that makes me love it that much more. It doesn’t feel like an uphill battle anymore, Crema has become this awesome, fun thing. I love the food, the people, the space. Just being here in this space ALWAYS feels good to me.

Liz: What is your most memorable customer interaction?

Liza: I’ve had customers come up to me and tell me how much this place means to them and that this is their second home, that is always so gratifying and means so much to me. There was also a customer that asked me how we hire our staff. He said he asked because he was in the business and knows how hard it is to get consistent, happy staff – and that we have the best staff he’s encountered! That was a very special moment – it made me feel so proud of all of us here at Crema. And then the other day there was this girl that looked like a student and she was running around the cafe as if she was in her own home, I can identify with her because when I was a student I had ‘my cafe’ and it’s heartwarming to see people utilizing Crema as ‘their cafe.’

Marley: Having people who used to come in but have moved away and then come back when they are in town – it’s awesome to be the place people come back to when they are here. Also, this being the Year of Love, we have these great ‘Choose Love’ t-shirts that we found from a motivational speaker, Houston Kraft, out in Seattle. The other day a customer came in and asked me how I know Houston. I explained to him that we have a ‘choose love’ (read on to hear more about the year of love) initiative going on here at the cafe and had found Houston’s shirts via the Instagram hashtag #chooselove. Turns out this customer is from Seattle and is friends with Houston! It’s interactions like these, finding unlikely connections, that are so memorable to me.

Liz: Connection is totally where it’s at! What is your proudest Crema moment?

Liza/Marley: It’s been incredible to have started something and worked so hard to get to a place where the cafe can run with or without us there. When we used to go away even for just one day, it was crazy when we got back. Now we can both leave and come back and nothing is different. We are so proud of the people we have now and the investment people have in the cafe, we cherish the love people have for the cafe.  

Liz: What risks did you take in the beginning that are paying off now that we are in year 5?

Liza: We had no clue how big of a risk this was. It’s like when you have your first baby – so I hear – you have no clue how much it will change your life and how much work it is. It was a blessing that we went into this with blinders on.

LM_allstarMarley: I think our friendship was the biggest risk, we didn’t want our friendship to suffer. We had no clue how personally challenging running the business would be and there have been moments that have tried the friendship. I’m so proud that we have stuck together and are even better friends now than we were before. I’m so proud that we have this bond.

Liz:  What are your thoughts on turning 5?

Marley: Well, I’m 29…a lot of people my age have a 5 year old child, I have a Crema, and I couldn’t be happier about it. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Liza: I never thought about the extended future, we stayed in the present and didn’t really think about 5 years, it was just like let’s get through today. Thinking about the future now is so exciting, before we couldn’t think past the day or week.

Liz: What advice would you give anyone looking to start a business?

Marley: If you have zero hesitation and are ready to devote your life to it, do it. It will pay off.

Liz: What is your favorite food/drink of all time at Crema past and present?

Marley: Hmmmm….The turkey jicama is definitely at the top of my list at the moment. Almond earl grey’s bring me back to college, even just the smell of them. Meghan [our head pastry chef] made me black velvet cake for my birthday and that’s my current fave from the bakery. It’s hard to pick because I love it all so much. To this day I still wake up thinking about our egg sandwiches. OH! and our English muffins are pretty stellar (Liza chimed in to agree on that). If I have a sad morning and I need to pump it up I go for spinach and feta croissant.

Liza: The first time I had the Persian love cake I knew it was an instant Crema classic. I ended up having the Persian love cake for my wedding cake! That is definitely one of my Crema faves. As far as beverages, a soy red Crema is my comfort drink of choice.

Liz: What does the Year of Love mean to you?

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Marley – Soooo the Year of Love to me means choosing love in every moment, even in the most difficult situations. It is always choosing a loving response and reacting positively and from the heart. The Year of Love was a very personal intention that I set and to have people at Crema be so receptive to it has been awesome and has made it even more powerful in my own life. It’s just such a good thing, I mean who doesn’t want more love? Everyone messes up, don’t worry too much about it, be loving with yourself and others – that’s what the Year of Love is all about.

Liza: You can always choose how you communicate and the energy you put out, and if you elect to choose love you cultivate a more nurturing and productive environment. The Year of Love is about being your best self and bringing the best out of the people around you.

Liz: You guys are awesome. And on that note, I think this interview is over, it has been lovely!

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We all have favorite desserts that bring us back to a special place and time. Whether it be a beloved grandmother’s birthday cake recipe, apple pie that sings of autumn, or something exotic that you’ve experienced in your travels. Then there are pastries that are so steeped in mystery and tradition that they’ve become things of legend. Let me present to you, the cannele bordelaise!
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Cannele Bordelais, or Cannele of Bordeaux, have several origin legends. According to one legend, the cannele originated in an 18th century convent in Bordeux. Rumor has it that the convent received donations of egg yolks from local winemakers who used egg whites to clarify their wines. The nuns then used the yolks to create delicious custardy cakes. Another legend claims that the convent collected flour from the local docks to make little cakes for poor children. These pastry ancestors bore little resemblance to the modern cannele, but the recipe was perfected over the next two centuries until the modern version was born in the early 1900s.
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The recipe is difficult to get right, but we’ve spent months on a quest for the perfect cannele. It all begins with metal molds, which we coat lightly with a mixture of butter and beeswax. We make the batter, and then let it mature in the fridge overnight. Then, long before dawn, we fill the chilled molds with the batter and bake for just under two hours. The result? A dense little pastry with three distinct textures. The exterior should be crisp and mahogany colored with a caramel aroma and flavor. Inside, there is a thin cake like layer and a soft, custardy center flavored with rum and vanilla bean. It’s a labor of love, but boy is it worth it!

#SCAA2013 weekend!

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We’ve got a HUGE weekend coming up! This weekend not only does the Boston Marathon descend upon us, but the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) will also be in town! We’ve got runners from all over the world and coffee industry folk all headed to the city for what is sure to be an epic weekend; coffee fanatics and runners, I’d say that’s a pretty stellar combo! In anticipation for the coffee crazed weekend we have a few exciting things happening that we are super stoked about.
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On Thursday morning Mark Barany from Kuma Coffee will be in the cafe from 8-11am doing a ‘meet the roaster’ and brewing up Chemex pour overs of his delightful Yirgacheffe. This coffee from Kochere, Ethiopia has a flavor profile of honey sweetness, strawberry lemonade acidity, graceful jasmine and bergemot notes and rose tea. Mark will tell you all about it…and make you an amazing cup!

Starting Thursday, we are featuring not one, but TWO guest coffees! We’ll have the Mt. Kikizi, Burundi from Kuma Coffee and The Ndiara, Kenya from George Howell Coffee brewing. The Burundi is an elegant cup with notes of spice and citrus; it’s one of my favorite coffees right now. The Ndiara is a Kenyan that will BLOW YOUR MIND. It’s bursting with flavor and is really out of this world, you do not want to miss this VERY special coffee.

YukroOn Saturday the Caffeine Crawl will be stopping at Crema and we can’t wait to brew George Howell Coffee’s Yukro (Ethiopian) for the lucky crawlers! If you are signed up for the crawl you can expect a great time tasting this coffee and discussing the intricate flavor notes. If you aren’t signed up, snag some tickets here! 

As per usual we’ll be pulling George Howell Coffee’s Alchemy espresso – the current blend is 50% Montecarlos Bourbon, 30% Brazil and 20% Pulcal, Guatemala.

The city will be bustling with coffee awesomeness, be sure to check out #SCAA2013 on twitter for all news, updates and events going on! If you stop by, shout us out @cremacambridge on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram!

For any of you runners taking on this prestigious race, we’ve got plenty of food options to fuel you over the weekend and replenish your energy post-race on Monday!