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Top 4 local coffee shops in the Bay

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Filter drip coffee with Ethiopian coffee from the Bulga mill, at Local 123. Image by Annie Chang (staff).


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OCTOBER 18, 2013

For those of us who get tired of frequenting Caffe Strada and Cafe Milano and need to spice up our coffee variations, there are more slightly hidden but still outstanding coffee shops in Berkeley and San Francisco that may suit your fancy.

Cafe Babette. Image by Annie Chang (staff).
Cafe Babette. Image by Annie Chang (staff).

1. Babette Cafe (2625 Durant Avenue, Berkeley)
This cafe is tucked inside the Berkeley Art Museum. The owners, Joan Ellis and Patrick Hooker, who previously owned a bakery and catering service, incorporated their experiences into this small, heartwarming cafe. The cafe is always bustling with a diverse assortment of guests, ranging from hipster students to workaholic professors. Babette serves Ritual, Verve, and Catahoula coffees. Ritual Coffee is a San Francisco-based coffee roaster that sources its beans directly from farmers that the roasters know. Even though $4 for a latte might be too much to visit every day, it is definitely worth stopping by every once in a while.

2. Guerilla Cafe (1620 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley)
Right next to renowned coffee shop, Philz Coffee, Guerilla Cafe can definitely hold its own. Setting a completely different vibe, the cafe, serving Blue Bottle Coffee, displays work of local and international artists. It attracts an assortment of people, from tourists to students. The cafe gives off a dark, but artsy feel and is also a good stop for food to complement the coffee while taking a relaxing day off at Gourmet Ghetto. Guerilla Cafe stands out for coffee because it is one of the few locations in Berkeley that serves Blue Bottle Coffee, besides the Berkeley Farmer’s Market.

Filter drip coffee with Ethiopian coffee from the Bulga mill, at Local 123. Image by Annie Chang (staff).
Filter drip coffee with Ethiopian coffee from the Bulga mill, at Local 123. Image by Annie Chang (staff).

3. Local 123 (2049 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley)
This place is one of the few cafes that serves Four Barrel coffee. Four Barrel is a San-Francisco-based roaster that maintains a personal relationship with its sources. The company is committed to “direct trade, transparency, sustainability, and exceptional quality” (Local 123 website). Local 123 provides not only delicious coffee but also a warm intellectual environment filled primarily with working people. The location is a bit far, but Local 123 is definitely worth going to for its unique coffee and soft lyrical music.

4. Blue Bottle Coffee (66 Mint Plaza, San Francisco)
Blue Bottle Coffee is an Oakland-based company that does not serve coffee that has been out of the roaster for more than 48 hours, and all of the coffee is organic, pesticide-free, and shade-grown. There are six Blue Bottle Coffee locations in the Bay Area, including one slightly hidden in Mint Plaza near Powell Bart Station. This coffee shop is filled with simple modern decorations, new age music, a vintage San Marco lever espresso machine, and also boasting the only halogen-powered siphon bar in the U.S., which was imported from Japan.

Contact Annie Chang at [email protected]

Contact Annie Chang at 


OCTOBER 18, 2013