20 minutes. That’s how long it took this morning from the moment I stepped into the line to order until I was walking out with my cup and bag in hand. It’s become a one-sided game for me…how long will it take today?

My wife and I started coming to Crema as a compromise. I hate Starbucks and all that it stands for (intentionally and unintentionally. I especially despise the coffee that Starbucks produces. I need coffee, daily. My wife really likes going to Starbucks (for much the same reason everybody that goes there does…it’s always the same). My wife also likes a little something with her coffee.

So, we heard about the wonder that is Crema. And the reason we return time and time again is due to Crema’s fabulous baked goods; cheese corn biscuits, zucchini muffins, honey bran muffins, the morning bun, etc. Scratch, baked in the back daily and always delicious, Crema has some of the best baked goods in Portland. We’ve been back about 20 times now.

The coffee is…good. I personally am not a fan of Stumptown. I appreciate Stumptown’s roasting methods and what Stumptown stands for…but it’s only good to me, and not terrific. Granted, I am quite biased when it comes to coffee (which is why you will never see a blog from me on this site about a place that is strictly a coffee shop). My Dad owns three independent shops and has his own roaster…and I am taking my inheritance early once cup at a time…enough said.

But, I can at least comment on my frustration with Crema’s coffee…it takes too long. Yes, each drink is hand-made with loving care…but explain to me why they need that beautiful tri-group espresso machine if they are only going to have one barista making each drink, one drink at a time??? A well-trained barista should be able to MULTI-TASK. Today, the barista was exceptionally fast for Crema standards. It only took seven minutes once the order had been placed for my wife’s drink, a double 12 ounce non-fat vanilla latte (I had my espresso somewhere else earlier and really didn’t need any more this morning).

The other HUGE problem with Crema is that they don’t know how to manage a line. There is a single register. The place has a huge staff (at least seven employees are working there at any given time). But, if there are more then three people in line, expect to be in that line at least 10 minutes.

So, here it is…if you have the time, go to Crema. The food is always great (baked goods, sweet treats, soups, sandwiches, bread, etc). There is lots of space, free wi-fi, plenty of tables, personal French-press coffee and a nice atmosphere. But, if you are only planning to pop in quickly to get something to go, be very prepared to spend 15 to 20 minutes in line waiting…this is not a quick stop. Crema is located on the corner of 28th and SE Ankeny.

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