When it comes to coffee, best is a relative term. coffee shops have become the daytime bars, and everyone has their own opinion of what makes them good. In Oakland, cafés are as diverse as the various neighborhoods and so is the coffee. Roasters and baristas are creating communities with an appetite for coffee and supporting local business. Here’s our top 10 favorite to try out.
Blue Bottle coffee
There aren’t many natives in the Bay Area that aren’t familiar with the little blue logo of Blue Bottle coffee. The coffee shop has become a staple not only in Oakland but also in the city and all over the bay. The company promises only to serve beans that are roasted in house within the last 48 hours. Their locations are modern and open, with communal seating throughout, and have become as much a part of the community as your local Starbucks.
This little café is relatively new to the Oakland’s uptown coffee scene. Coloso coffee is forgoing pour over drip coffees for batch brewed drip coffee and espresso. The owners, Jose Posadas and Renzo Gianella, want to respect their customers time by serving up quick cups and staying open seven days a week. Coloso also serves pastries from the delicious Sandbox Bakery in San Francisco. The cafe’s smaller interior has a minimalist feel but isn’t quite large enough for work, so expect to grab and go. Despite the shop’s small space, it has a great and relaxed atmosphere.
The Awaken cafe is a little bit of everything, including an award-winning espresso bar, beer and wine bar, and event space, so it’s not all coffee and sleepless work-from-homers. The walls of the café are lined with local artists’ work, every Wednesday the shop hosts a karaoke night, and many other days of the month are home to open mic and local musicians. The Awaken cafe is one of the great gems of Oakland and what makes the town home.
There are a lot of coffee shops in the bay, but none quite like Modern coffee in downtown Oakland. Modern coffee is Oakland’s premium coffee tap room (caffeine addicts have to love the way that sounds). Along with the menu of brewed-to-order cups and coffees to share, there’s a list of ‘ coffees we love right now’ from the owners. Customers can also buy bags of beans from roasters like Chromatic, Counter Culture, Linea Caffe, Stumptown and Verve. Modern’s two locations are quaint shops with plenty of space to work, hang out and enjoy a little bit of Oakland.
Bicycle coffee Company
At the Bicycle coffee Company, bike riding is as much their passion as coffee. The coffee company started out roasting beans in a wok at a kitchen in the Inner Sunset and has now become a multinational roasting name. Their single café is located in downtown Oakland, and it’s as unique as the company. The shop is simple and open with the roasting done in almost the same room as where the coffee is served. There is outdoor seating with tables shaped like the bicycles their coffee is delivered on. If you like their coffee, you can buy bags of their beans and growlers of their amazing iced coffee.
Cole coffee is a staple in the Rockridge neighborhood in North Oakland. They’ve been roasting and brewing coffee beans for nearly 27 years. It’s a small shop with a fast-paced environment during those busy College Avenue days. The café is a nice size with comfortable sofas and outdoor seating to enjoy the diverse culture of the area. Cole’s is a great alternative to the local Peet’s and Starbucks; typically, they have shorter lines and coffee you’ll be glad you tried.
City Light’s cafe
City Light’s cafe is like a little parklet off of the Cathedral of Christ the Light. It’s located on the Cathedral plaza and has a beautiful view of Lake Merritt. City Light’s proudly serves Verve coffee and has an excellent breakfast and lunch menu. Their chicken pesto spiral, or wrap, hits the spot for a quick lunch. The café has a modern atmosphere with plenty of outside seating.
Farley’s East is among the shops that transformed the dim Uptown Oakland area to the flourishing neighborhood its known to be today. It was the first café in Oakland to build a parklet and create a great urban outdoor experience. Each month the three various locations invite non-profits to share their mission and donate proceeds to support their work. Farley’s is open to artists and customers who want to hang out and chat over a flavorful cup of coffee. The café is simple but has the warm neighborhood ambiance you want from your local coffee shop.
Timeless coffee is a little retreat amidst the hustle and bustle of Piedmont Avenue. Rather than design a café of commotion, Timeless wants its patrons to enjoy the little pleasures in life. Their in-house roaster creates some of the most delicious espressos and coffees to order. In addition to selling a great cup of coffee, Timeless also offers a menu of scrumptious breakfast and lunch entrées and it’s all 100 percent vegan. Timeless is the neighborhood café, a place to hang out, enjoy, and share in Oakland’s spirit.
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