Crema’s new coffee spot starts buzz Upcountry
Sleepy Upcountry just got a little more caffeinated.
After a couple years of catering and home deliveries, Crema Maui, a boutique espresso bar, recently opened its first location in Pukalani. Owner Andrea Riggins, along with partner, Asher Boyle, launched the spot in September — and it’s already generating quite the buzz.
“It’s been absolutely wonderful, better than I could have ever anticipated,” said Riggins, a Kula resident. “We’ve been so welcomed by our community.”
Nestled in Kulamalu Town Center’s Marlow pizza restaurant, Crema offers what Riggins calls high-quality, third-wave coffee. Maui-based Social Hour Coffee Roasters helps create Crema’s blend of local beans. And Crema sources all-organic ingredients. The results are carefully crafted, well-balanced cups that prioritize quality over quantity.
“You’re not going to get an overly sweet or overly bitter drink because we take such care in all of the intricacies of pulling a nice espresso shot or steaming really creamy milk,” Riggins said.
Crema pour-over coffee packs a classic, flavorful taste. Its specialty drinks rotate and popular ones include the honey lavender latte and the rose cacao latte.
Barista Morgan Wood said the team focuses on streamlining simple, elegant drinks.
“We keep it simple but have fun, exotic flavors,” she said. “All of us care about the quality of the drink we put out. We focus on doing one thing and doing it right.”
Crema has six employees and the location last week installed a top-of-the-line Italian handmade espresso machine.
After a soft opening Sept. 14, Crema’s coffee shop expanded in October to seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Riggins said her small business officially dates back to 2019. It opened that summer as a boutique espresso catering company, serving private events such as weddings and corporate gatherings, along with a handful of public events.
Then the pandemic hit.
“Everything went on lockdown and so we brainstormed how we could expand our business and still be able to offer coffee,” Riggins said.
She and Boyle launched bottled cold brew coffee deliveries around the island and bagged their own coffee blend of bean. With a social media following and word-of-mouth interest, people started to realize they could have “quality craft coffee delivered to their door during uncertain times,” she said.
Crema sometimes collaborated with other local companies, including Tight Tacos, to do packaged deliveries, such as coffee and breakfast burritos. The team also showed up at Upcountry’s Wednesday farmers market.
The delivery work grew into 2021, and so did the audience.
“As our following continued to build, we felt the demand for quality coffee and quality service,” Riggins said. “We had been friends with the owners of Marlow for quite some time and knew they were opening their restaurant in the area. Because there wasn’t any real coffee in Kulamalu, we thought it would be a great opportunity to share space with them and offer quality coffee in a space that people could come and get to know one another.”
Family is important to the owners, who have four kids: Levi, 12, Isis, 10, Lily, 3, and Finn, 8 months. Both Riggins and Boyle juggle time between Crema and home, often with children in tow.
With their family-run business, Riggins said it’s Crema’s aim to provide a space for people to get to know one another over a good cup of coffee.
“We’re creating a neighborhood,” she said. “It’s not only our home, but it’s your home, too.”