Bridlington: home of fish’n’chips, fairground rides and faded-glory staycations. Poke my eye out with a fish fork if there isn’t a fabulous, modern speciality coffee shop in its midst.
When readers and friends suggested we visit a speciality coffee shop in Bridlington, I couldn’t quite believe it. Lovely as this Yorkshire coastal resort is, it’s a long way from Soho. But I can confirm that artisan coffee has made its way to this part of the world, and it’s to be found at Crema Espresso, a terrific place run by an up-and-coming barista, the excellently-named Oakley Wheelwright.
Oakley is running his own coffee shop at just 22, and doing a sterling job. Scottish by birth, he moved south with his parents at age 10, and was home educated.
His parents own the building. After running a vegetarian café for a few years, they changed tack to start up ‘Little Organic Bakery‘. They share the building with Crema Espresso. We love artisan baking nearly as much as we love artisan coffee, but sadly the Wheelrwrights were having a day off when we visited (fair play – it was a Sunday).
After working in coffee for a few years, Oakley opened Crema Espresso in November 2011. Some businesses in Bridlington are struggling, Oakley tells us, but Crema Espresso has gone from strength to strength.
Already, Oakley is award-winning. In 2013 he scooped an ‘outstanding’ 5-cup award, plus best latte in the UK, from the Beverage Standards Association.
We were delighted to see that there was no dumbing-down of the coffee, as often happens when a speciality coffee shop opens in a touristy backwater (sorry Brid, I love you really). Thankfully, Oakley has stuck to his guns – and they are impressive guns, Mrs Cosy tells me. I don’t know what she means.
That’s not to say it’s pretentious. Quite the opposite. Crema is down-to-earth, friendly, and in some ways – the decor, the building, the back-lit Hovis sign – quite traditional.
Our coffees were excellent. I had a flat white, well presented and delicious. Beans come from the likes of Square Mile and Workshop (top quality London-based roasteries), the brilliant newcomer North Star in Leeds, and New Town Coffee in Edinburgh.
Oakley is also a big fan of tea. He suggested Genmaicha from Canton Tea Co, which we watched brew on our table as a counter ticked down to zero, signalling the perfect immersion time. It had surprising and delightful roasted popcorn notes – another reminder for me that I really should drink more tea. I am an honourary Yorkshireman, after all.
There’s no shortage of space. The back room is a little less coffee shop, a bit more tea room, but it leads to a sunny (sometimes) outdoor terrace.
There are a range of snacks on offer – I presume even more so when the adjacent bakery is open for business.
We were blown away by Crema Espresso and its friendly, talented owner. If speciality coffee this good can thrive in Bridlington, something has gone terribly right.
Definitely one for your next Yorkshire coffee shop crawl.
12 Wellington Road
We visited on 16 February 2014.