If coffee makes the world go round, then local coffee shops keep us and our communities moving forward. Whether you’re searching for a spot to work, to read, or to catch up with an old friend, the coffeehouse offers the perfect setting and complements it with fresh coffee, smiling faces and local art.
In Oakland, we have a lot of all three and we’re proud of that. To help you find your new favorite hangout, we rounded up a handful of the city’s best coffee shops. Some roast their own coffee, some are brand new to the scene and one even writes joyous notes on every single cup they serve.
1429 Broadway | Facebook
Awaken Cafe is a hip spot in downtown Oakland, but it’s much more than just a coffeehouse. In addition to being one of our favorite places for espresso drinks, this place is also a live music venue, craft beer and wine bar, and organic restaurant all rolled into one. Because the cafe very purposefully has no WiFi available, Awaken won’t be a good place to work online, but the environment has flourished into one of engagement, conversation and fun which makes it a great place to come together with our community.
5701 College Ave | Facebook
Directly across the street from the Rockridge Bart station, this community-oriented coffee shop is exactly what we imagine when we say “local coffee shop.” The cozy spot serves five different permanent roasters and one rotating roaster, which changes every three months. The setting is accented by rotating art displays created by artists from near and far, and the food is provided by Oakland originals Firebrand Artisan Breads and Southie.
Bay Area locations | Facebook
Without a doubt, Blue Bottle is the Bay Area coffee giant, and that’s definitely okay with us because this giant is still driven by small, local business ideals and they began right here in Oakland in the early 2000s. Their story begins when the founder, freelance musician and coffee lunatic opened his roaster using just a minuscule six-pound batch roaster. Back then, he promised to sell coffee within 48 hours of roasting and, today, the team is still driven by their knowledge of great coffee and its peak flavor.
Blue Bottle operates more than 15 cafes in the Bay Area, including five in their hometown: Old Oakland, Piedmont, W. C. Morse, Webster Street and one coming soon to Uptown.
6253 College Ave
Though it was previously known as Royal Coffee, a coffee shop has been operating on this little corner in Rockridge for more than 17 years and was the setting for the pioneering of pour-over coffee. And Cole Coffee continues that Royal Coffee legacy with the same fresh roasted beans and eclectic atmosphere we’ve all come to love. Their cafe serves a small menu of breakfast, lunch and pastry items made by or made with ingredients from Bay Area companies. You can also go just around the corner to see their Bean + Retail Shop which offers the largest selection of fresh whole beans in the East Bay.
33 Grand Ave, Oakland + 1315 18th St, San Francisco | Facebook
Farley’s serves coffees roasted in-house and teas from San Francisco locals, Five Mountains Tea. In addition to the freshly roasted coffee, our favorite thing about visiting both Farley’s locations are the adjacent parklets. The San Francisco and Oakland cafes maintain small park areas as part of the Pavement to Parks program in an effort to establish a comfortable, urban environment to relax and enjoy our communities. And Farley’s parklet in Oakland is the first of its kind in Oakland!
396 11th St | Facebook
Brand new to the East Bay coffee scene, Fig & Poe just opened their Downtown Oakland cafe in August of 2018. The family’s inspiration came from the idea of pure simplicity and creativity which drive the coffee, the food and the atmosphere. By partnering with local farmers and with local companies like Ritual Coffee, Firebrand Artisan Breads and Arise Bakery, they can promise their foods and drinks are made with nothing artificial and everything delicious.
Five locations | Facebook
Photo courtesy of Highwire Coffee Roasters
Highwire Coffee Roasters was started by three friends who believed a coffee company could be a force for good. Today, their coffee shops have become places where people have jobs and spaces that nourish them, a place where everyone on their team has a voice, and a place where values like sustainability are promoted. And this company so local and so sustainable that two of their locations can be found at year-round farmers’ markets in San Francisco and Oakland. Their other cafes are in Oakland and Berkeley, and they also operate a beautiful coffee window at Flowerland in Albany. Inside the Rockridge cafe, you’ll find yourself surrounded by modern, rustic decor and art while sipping on coffee roasted by the Highwire team and brewed to perfection.
2139 MacArthur Blvd | Facebook
Bright, welcoming, colorful and delicious are all words that could be used to describe Hive. In addition to free WiFi, a kids play corner, organic loose leaf teas and pastries from Starter Bakery, the team crafts their own sandwiches and salads with mostly organic ingredients and gluten-free options. They also recently began roasting their own coffee!
Three locations | Facebook
Modern Coffee has three locations in Uptown and downtown Oakland. And because this team believes coffee shouldn’t be complicated or expensive and because they believe all coffee shops should be warm and inviting, their coffees and shops are some of the best of the Bay. For coffee, they source from the best roasters from as close as Chromatic Coffee Co. in San Jose and as far as Maquina Coffee in Pennsylvania. And every other item on the menu—from the Starter Bakery and Firebrand Artisan Breads treats to the Tipu’s Chai out of Montana—is hand selected for taste, quality and enjoyment.
2327 Broadway + 3098 E 10th St | Facebook
Photo courtesy of Red Bay Coffee
Red Bay Coffee was founded in 2014 by Keba Konte, a renowned local artist and successful food entrepreneur who is passionate about both creativity and sustainability. Their coffees are roasted in small batches with love and available in single origin because they believe in creating lasting, meaningful and fair relationships with their farmers. In addition to a stylish, converted shipping container in the heart of Uptown Oakland, they operate a wide open, industrial roastery, bar and garden in Fruitvale.
1528 Webster St | Facebook
Photo courtesy of Slojoy Coffee Roasters
Slojoy is a small, local company that is both unique and outstanding. They serve their in-house roasted coffees out of a walk-up window on the outskirts of downtown Oakland. And every cup has handwritten notes because, in their words, this team is as serious about spreading joy as they are about making good coffee. Swing by for a joyous coffee to-go or grab a seat at one of their community tables to catch up on your reading or catch up with friends.
419 40th St + 4008 Martin Luther King Jr Way | Facebook
This hyper-local coffee shop is independently owned and operated, and they offer two distinct locations in Oakland. Their coffee is roasted by Coffee Manufactory, a local company dedicated to direct trade with small and sustainable coffee farms around the world. And the same care that goes into that coffee extends into the Subrosa cafes where you’ll find artwork done by local artists, delicious handmade pastries and frequent events that celebrate our community.
4252 Piedmont Ave, Oakland + 2965 College Ave, Berkeley | Facebook
Timeless Coffee is an all vegan coffee roastery, bakery and chocolatier. Did you fall in love already? Because we did. This Oakland company operates their roastery and cafe right here in Piedmont and has a second cafe in Berkeley. At each location, you’ll find a warm, inviting space where you can enjoy freshly roasted coffee, handmade pastries, mouthwatering foods, and homemade chocolates that you can feel good about.
Do you have a favorite Oakland coffee shop?
Tell us about it in the comments!