WRITTEN BY Christina Manukyan
Christina enjoys exploring and writing about different walks of life. Among her favorite topics are traveling, art, self-improvement, design, entertainment, and food. When she is not working on her a…See full bio
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The East Bay has no shortage of places to grab an outstanding cup of coffee. East Bay coffee shops have contributed to the third-wave coffee movement and resurgence of local coffee culture. As long as we have reasons to get our dose of daily java, the East Bay will always be abundant in coffee shops—and nothing peps you up in the morning more than the irresistible aroma of coffee. The enchanting smell of freshly ground or brewed coffee awakens all your senses and fuels your body. Craving a cup? Here are the best coffee shops in the East Bay to get your refreshing cup of joe.
Location: 1321 Locust Street, Walnut Creek
Coffee Shop has been named the best coffeehouse in the East Bay by Diablo Magazine for four consecutive years—and for good reason. This is the place in Walnut Creek to savor the tantalizing and exotic flavors of artisanal coffee. The Coffee Shop sources its beans from small-batch, specialty coffee roasters along the West Coast, and you taste the difference in every sip.
Nothing provides morning motivation more than the “Local Favorites” section of the menu. The coconut orange iced latte with oat milk is absolute bliss; instead of featuring only coconut flavoring, the drink is also laced with toasted coconut flakes. Other flavorful beverages on the “Local Favorites” menu include the minted iced cold brew, iced latte, and honey lavender latte.
Need another reason to pop by? Every Friday at 6 p.m., you can enjoy live music during the open mic night. Aside from its cozy interior, Coffee Shop also offers a lovely patio where you can sit with your dog and sip a cup of joe after exploring Walnut Creek. (And if you venture over to the neighboring cities of Danville, Lafayette, or Alamo, you can find Coffee Shops there, too.)
Location: 1528 Webster Street, Oakland
Grab a cup of coffee from the walk-up window nestled on Webster Street in downtown Oakland, and leave feeling renewed. Slojoy Coffee Roasters is among the rare places that remain committed to the real essence of coffee culture: spreading joy. Owners Christopher Stites and his wife grew their home-roasting hobby into a bonafide business that gives back to the local community.
Slojoy’s traditional coffee drinks and accompanying motivating messages—scrawled on the paper cups by hand—still serve the initial purpose of sparking happiness and inspiration through coffee. Grab a pour over to-go to fuel your Bay Area entrepreneurial lifestyle, or enjoy a casual evening meet up with your friends over a honey latte or Americano with oat milk.
Location: 2327 Broadway, Oakland
Among the renowned Oakland coffee roasters is Red Bay Coffee. This East Bay gem has a unique ambience and story behind it. Keba Konte, a Bay Area artist and entrepreneur, combined his love of art and coffee to create this standout coffeehouse. He also supports unity and diversity by hiring and serving people of all backgrounds, striving to preserve equity for those who have been left out of the coffee industry, including women, people with disabilities, and people of color.
Try the limited-releases such as Bahirwe, a natural coffee from Kayanza Province in Burundi. This specialty green coffee has a tempting aroma and tasty notes of pomelo, dark chocolate, and brown sugar that are irresistible. People rave about the scrumptious charcoal latte, which is almost too pretty to drink and is rumored to have magical detoxing powers. You can also go for the smoothest decaf ever: Ocho Libre. This Colombian single-origin decaf espresso contains flavors of grape, dark chocolate, and cane sugar (and even works as a drip coffee).
Between the specialty coffee and morning treats available at Red Bay, you have all the reasons you need to head to Uptown Oakland.
Location: 3597 Mount Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette
Philz Coffee boasts spacious coffee shops and brews every cup of custom-made coffee one at a time. You won’t find ordinary espressos, pre-brews, cappuccinos, or Americanos here; instead, you can choose from over 20 customized blends. Among them is a dark and bold collection of coffees, including a tantalizing Turkish coffee with cardamom, which imparts a bold and bittersweet taste. If you prefer a medium roast, the Silken Splendor is a balanced blend with notes of citrus and toffee. But Philz’s signature drinks are the iced Mint Mojito laced with fresh mint and the velvety Mocha Tessora with lightly sweetened cocoa.
No matter what you order, you’ll be sipping high-quality coffee with a positive impact. Philz sources all its beans from small, local farms and supports organizations like the Food4Farmers and World Coffee Research. Pair your beverage with the scrumptious avocado toast topped with eggs. (And since Philz has numerous locations throughout the region and beyond, chances are you’ll find one wherever your Bay Area explorations take you.)
Location: 2195 North Broadway, Walnut Creek
Bondadoso Coffee & Tea Collective is another household name in the East Bay coffee world. This multi-roaster coffee shop specializes in espresso drinks, cold brew, and tea on tap. The inviting, down-to-earth ambience of the café also makes it a perfect spot for meeting up with friends and escaping into the realm of relaxation and coffee. To complete your coffee experience, try one of Bondadoso’s signature drinks such as the chai latte, which is made with organic chai, cinnamon syrup, and steamed milk. If you prefer sweeter flavors, go for the aromatic rose latte or the delicious lavender oat-milk latte.
Location: 476 Ninth Street, Oakland
Blue Bottle Coffee is another top destination for coffee aficionados. While there are several locations, the Old Oakland coffeehouse is beautiful inside and out. The clean, spacious, and hip storefront brims with tantalizing coffee aromas—plus, Blue Bottle founder James Freeman sold his first bag of roasted coffee at the Old Oakland Farmers Market. While Freeman started out roasting beans in a 183-square-foot potting shed, he’s grown his business into one of the biggest brands of specialty coffee and now has shops throughout America and Japan.
Blue Bottle aims to help educate customers about coffee and find their perfect coffee match; the company provides a “personal guide to deliciousness” on its website, which asks 10 questions to help you find the coffees that are suited to your taste. Among Blue Bottle’s famous offerings is its smooth, velvety, and bold cold brew with notes of chocolate—it’s guaranteed to give you the energy you need during the day. The Night Light Decaf is another work of art. The fusion of coffees from Sumatra and Central America creates decadent flavors of crème brûlée, and vanilla, key lime flavors.
Location: 364 Second Street, Oakland
Established in 2009, Bicycle Coffee Co. is an Oakland roaster with a minimalistic and fun style: Drinks are delivered to your table via custom-made bike trailers, and the roasting is done on-site, so you can enjoy the coffee-making process and the aroma at the same time. The outdoor seating area is a real showstopper, too, complete with tables shaped like bicycles. Appearances aside, the coffee here is beyond delicious and made with beans from small estate farms in Guatemala. The must-try coffee here is the famous espresso blend, which features a unique combination of beans and a special dry-processed coffee that provides a zesty, fruity finish.
What are your favorite coffee shops in the East Bay? Tell us about them in the comments below!
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