The 10 Best Coffee Shops In Oakland, California

Photo of Danika Peterson
9 February 2017

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.

Espresso Drip | © Blake Richard Verdoorn/Unsplash

Blue Bottle Coffee

Cafe, Tea , $$$
Blue Bottle Coffee
Blue Bottle Coffee | © jen/Flickr
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.

Coloso Coffee

Bakery, Cafe, American
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.

Awaken Cafe

Cafe, Wine Bar, Pastelaria, Bar, American, $$$
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.

Modern Coffee

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.

Modern Coffee | © Misha Burke

Actual Cafe

Cafe, American
This local café in Oakland’s Golden Gate neighborhood has a little bit of everything. It’s one of the favorite coffee, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch spots. Actual welcomes artists, bike riders, and musicians and supports the community by helping to develop sustainable solutions. On the weekends, they celebrate by being laptop-free to create a lively place for people to connect and enjoy the scene. What makes Actual Cafe exceptional is their celebration of community as well as being a part of it.

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.

Bicycle Coffee Company, 364 2nd St, Oakland, CA, USA

Cole 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.

Cole Coffee, 307 63rd St, Oakland, CA, USA, +1 510 653 5458

City Light’s Cafe

Cafe, American
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

Cafe, Italian, American
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

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.

Timeless Coffee, 4252 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA, USA, +1 510 985 1360

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