Two and a half years ago, I made the drive from Philadelphia to Oakland. And this upcoming Monday, Will and I are going to making the drive back! Yes, if you haven’t heard already, we are going to move back to Pennsylvania, at least for a few months. Now that we’re leaving, I’ve been discovering a ton of places that I want to explore and eat at. I keep wondering to myself, “HOW have we been here for three years and we never went to THAT place?!” But then I remember – cooking at home saves money, and we actually like to cook! I guess it always happens like that, though. You sort of hate the place you live but then once you’re about to leave, you start meeting new people you could have been friends with and you start finding new favorite restaurants. Womp womp.
One of the things I really loved about being in Oakland is that it actually reminds me a lot of Philadelphia. I find the people in Oakland are more down to earth, and there are pockets of culture all around the city. Many neighborhoods here also remind me of specific neighborhoods of Philly, which is pretty cool. Oakland has a lot to offer, and is a great place to visit or live. There are so many local businesses and definitely many coffee shops in Oakland! I love spending time working in cafe’s, and this year, I’ve learned to enjoy my coffee black, which also means I’ve learned to appreciate the flavors of different types of coffee. There are so many places one could visit, but here are a few of my recommendations for coffee shops in Oakland 🙂
I stumbled across this coffee shop on a walk around the area as I waited for Will to finish a doctor’s appointment. It’s spacious and a great place to come work on your computer, read a book, or meet a friend. If you stay in and get a coffee mug (instead of a to-go cup), you get free self-serve refills! They have two or three canisters that are different types of coffee, so you can try a mug of each flavor if you really wanted to. I’m not a big fan of coffees that are too sour or acidic, and apparently, neither is the store owner, who serves an Indian roasted coffee that is known to be the least acidic. I’ve found the coffees at Black Spring to all be really great! They are also known for their Malabar drink, a shaken drink involving 2 shots of espresso, sugar syrup, and milk. Even though I didn’t get to frequent this shop as often as I’d like, I would consider Black Spring to be one of my favorite coffee spots of all time. 2930 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609 (Pill Hill Neighborhood, near Piedmont Ave)
The Yelp reviews for Timeless is sort of hilarious because they’re a punk vegan cafe that keeps the whole vegan thing on the down-low while serving a lot of the punky attitude. They have offerings like chicken pot pie and pizza rolls, all of which are vegan. Many unsuspecting visitors get mad because the milk and creamers are non-existent and replaced with almond, rice, or oat milk. Even if you’re not that into coffee and vegan meats, Timeless’ baked goods are what’s worth stopping by for. They have a selection of homemade cakes, twinkies, cookies, and donuts…a little pricey per piece (a slice of cake is around $5 and the gluten-free moon pie is almost $7!), but the portions are good enough to split a slice of cake between two people. 4252 Piedmont Ave 94611 (North Oakland/Piedmont Ave Neighborhood)
I’ve actually never been to any of the Blue Bottle coffee shops in Oakland, but I have tasted their coffee! I’ve only had homemade versions of their espresso, which is probably the smoothest I’ve ever tasted. They are based in SF and have locations all over the Bay, and if you like visiting locally famous businesses, Blue Bottle should be on your list! Their coffee is known to be so good, you don’t have to add anything to it. I’m not sure about their regular drip coffee, but I definitely found their espresso to be ultra smooth and delicious. If you’re looking for a coffee souvenir, stop by and grab a bag of their beans to make yourself at home. Forewarning – Blue Bottle ain’t cheap, but hey, it’s an experience. 300 Webster St 94607 (Jack London Square)
I only recently discovered Farley’s East because this is where my weekly knitting group meets! I actually stopped by this week and discovered they had hot mulled cider for the season! Very exciting, and also very delicious. They also have some food items like soup, salads, and sandwiches, and it’s a really great place to meet up with people and chat. Actually, they reserve the downstairs tables for this very reason, as pointed out with the “No Laptop” signs on the tables. Don’t worry if you need to get work done, though – upstairs is reserved for that 🙂 33 Grand Ave 94612 (Uptown)
If you’re not into coffee, Sophie’s Cuppa Tea is a high-end tea shop that has a very large selection of teas. Apparently, they’re closed every Spring to travel to China and visit the farms where their tea is sourced from. When you walk in, the knowledgeable store owner will ask you what type of tea you like – do you like floral notes, or fruity? Do you like red or green tea? If you don’t know, that’s okay, he will recommend something for you. They don’t add any milk or sugar to their teas because their mission is to help people discover the fine taste of tea, the way it’s “meant to be tasted” – although it can come off as a little bit pretentious, their passion definitely shines through their business. Definitely a tea lover’s playground. 2078 Antioch Ct 94611 (Montclair Neighborhood)