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xx, Mel

my favorite bay coffee shops

my favorite bay coffee shops

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I've been wanting to write this for so long! Every time I go to make a list of my very favorite spots to get my caffeine fix, the one at the top of my list closes. We lived mere feet from an amazing cafe (coffee in the morning, bar at night) that went out of business after just a few years and I literally cried because I never got to say goodbye to the barista friends we made or have my last bowl of french fries (slash best chipotle aioli ever). Even before that, my first favorite morning stop was this adorable little bakery slash coffeeshop that had amaaaazing gf goodies. It was my spot that made berkeley feel like home when I first moved, you know? Also closed. SO SAD.

Having appropriately mourned these losses, however, I'm ready to share my new and once again updated list for the bay area - primarily east bay (berkeley), with some SF and other spots mixed in. A lot of visitors ask me for my recs in these cities so hopefully you find it useful as well!

I do want to start with a few disclaimers though (as I usually do when I make recommendations on anything food related). I am not a foodie, as you may know from my other posts on such things - and today I am here to let you know, I'm also not a coffee snob. I don't do starbucks (or even peets really). Cheap coffee makes me feel bleh, so my recs will all be real coffee. But I am far from pretentious and also don't know a lot about roasting and regions and other stuff coffee aficionados could tell you all about for days... SO if that's you, maybe take these with a grain of salt because I think they're good, but you might scoff? Great. Moving on.

Also, take into account that aesthetics play a huge role in my choices so spots will definitely score higher in my book if the experience and design are on point! I'll be sure to note contributing factors beyond just great coffee. 

Finally, I'm sure you've heard of the ever famous Blue Bottle...you might be surprised to see it doesn't make my list. I have to say, I'm really confused as to how it's so popular. I find their drinks small, cold, and overpriced...they just aren't that special! I'm disappointed every single time I go there, so I can't in good conscience recommend it. 

Okay enough rambling - on to the list!

 

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My absolute number one favorite is Cafe Reveille. Sure, they're super extra but that's why I love it! The pink tables, florals and succulents, and delicious menu make them my favorite Saturday morning excursion or quick break from work. One just opened up in Berkeley, which made me jump for joy! As mentioned above, I shed actual tears when my other go-to coffee shop closed so this is just the greatest thing to happen to the East Bay. There are also several SF locations that are equally as magical. I used to work near the small corner shop on Columbus (this one's called Reveille Coffee Co but they're basically the same thing) and there was also a truck that stopped near my office! I miss it more than anything. If you find yourself down near Long Bridge St. the counter and decor are just about the cutest things you could ask for in a coffee shop. 10/10. 

BEST FOR:
Great instagrams, ambiance, brunch/lunch to go with your coffee

GO TO DRINK: 
Vanilla latte with almond milk, hot or iced

I'D ALSO RECOMMEND:
The acai bowl is one of the best I've ever had! Bring your pup to sit outside at the new spot in Berkeley, or pet other people's ridiculously stylish dogs if you don't have one of your own.

 

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Any place that carries Sightglass roasters I'll immediately make a beeline for. Lucky for us many places in the Bay boast a cup of Sightglass! Even better is the giant, beautiful warehouse near my office that has two floors of delicious goodness, space to work, and an affogato bar that's perfect for hot summer days. There are a couple other spots in the city but this one is hands down the best.

BEST FOR:
Getting work done, coffee dates

GO TO DRINK: 
Vanilla cold brew (life-changing)

I'D ALSO RECOMMEND:
The almond cake is a perfect pair for the cold brew. Bring your laptop for an awesome place to work for the afternoon!

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A Berkeley gem for ya! My favorite hidden treasure is this wonderful place called Flowerland, there is the cutest little airstream that serves Highwire coffee amidst all kinds of plants and flowers and gardening supplies. On weekends one of the best things to do is grab a warm latte and stroll the paths looking for new succulent friends to take home. The main coffee shop sans plants is on San Pablo, but while the vibe is cute they always turn the air up too much and I'm always cold! So, this is one of my preferred to-go spots. There's never a big line so I can grab and go easily. 

BEST FOR:
Walks and talks with friends at Flowerland, grab and go at the main shop!

GO TO DRINK: 
Vanilla latte with almond milk, hot or iced

I'D ALSO RECOMMEND:
The gluten free muffins are the most incredible little bites ever! Ask for the one made from sweet potato, it tastes like Christmas melting in your mouth. 


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Plot twist: I actually always order chai at Artis! Their coffee is also good but their chai is the best chai ever, especially iced with a splash of almond milk. This is another of my Berkeley faves. There used to be one in the city but I think it has since closed. The area around this spot is so cute though, 4th street has tons of shopping and food. We'll come down here to work for a bit with our laptops and then wander around, coffee in hand!

BEST FOR:
Grabbing coffee to stroll 4th street

GO TO DRINK: 
Iced chai 


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Finally, I've only been here a handful of times but I want to go more often! They don't have pastries I can eat which is a bummer, but their coffee definitely makes up for it. That said, I always order espresso drinks in a to go cup here because while their latte mugs are pretty, my coffee gets cold in them so fast! Their vanilla also isn't my favorite (too subtle for me) so that's why they make #5 on my list, but overall a solid spot for the East Bay. 

BEST FOR:
Amazing latte art, a spot to post up and work

GO TO DRINK: 
Vanilla latte (are you even surprised at this point)


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Let me know if you try one of these spots, or if you have a different favorite! Happy caffeinating friends!


Healthy Breakfast Muffins

Healthy Breakfast Muffins

Perfectly Packed: Italy & Spain

Perfectly Packed: Italy & Spain