monkey road cappuccino

You’ll never be at a loss for finding a good cup of coffee in Oakland as there’s a wealth of places to choose from such as Cro CafeAwaken CafeBica CoffeehouseHighwire Coffee Roasters and Peerless Coffee, to name a few. As an avid cyclist, a good jolt of caffeine in the morning helps energize me for a long ride. (I’ve combined my love for cycling and coffee by leading an annual Coffee Ride with my friend Pamela. Last year we pedaled to longtime local favorites Blue Bottle, Farley’s East, Arbor Cafe, Cole Coffee and Actual Cafe with a stop at Berkeley’s Local 123.) Here’s five cafes throughout Oakland that make a fine brew. Let us know where you go for a cuppa joe in the comments. 

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Look no further if you want tasty vegan baked goods, sweets, savory dishes and more. While they don’t prominently advertise the fact that they’re a 100% vegan cafe, Timeless eschews animal-based products — but my almond-milk cappuccino (made with Sightglass Coffee) was just as wonderful sans dairy. Check their Facebook page to see what they’re serving up for their daily lunch and weekend brunch specials.

Timeless Coffee Roasters + Bakery
4252 Piedmont Ave. [Map]
Oakland, CA 94611
Ph: (510) 985-1360
Hours: Mon-Sat 7am-6pm; Sun 8am-6pm
Facebook: Timeless Coffee Roasters + Bakery
Twitter: @Timelesscoffee
Price range: $ (Entrees $10 and under)

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Located right next door to the Tribune Tavern in downtown Oakland, Modern Coffee serves up coffee and sells beans from local purveyors such as De La Paz, Ecco Caffe and Chromatic Coffee. They didn’t have any treats available when I popped by in the late afternoon, but Starter Bakery, Hopkins Street Bakery and Boogie Woogie Bagel Boy provide baked goods for weekday 9-5 workers in search of a quick breakfast.

Modern Coffee
Tribune Tower, 411 13th St. [Map]
Oakland, CA 94612
Ph: (510) 835-8000
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-5pm
Facebook: Modern Coffee
Twitter: @moderncoffee
Price range: $ (Entrees $10 and under)

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A tiny nook that’s adjacent to one of my favorite neighborhood bike shops, Manifesto Bicycles, SubRosa keeps it simple with a limited menu of tea, pastries and beverages made with Four Barrel Coffee. You can also buy bags of Four Barrel to go or take home craftsy items such as Pendleton wool cozies. Enjoy your espresso in the sunshine and lounge in the parklet that’s located directly in front of the shop, or if you prefer a quieter seating, head to the secluded tables in the back of the cafe.

419 40th St. [Map]
Oakland, CA 94609
Ph: (510) 653-2030
Hours: Mon-Thu 7am-5pm; Fri 7am-6pm; Sat 7:30am-6pm; Sun 8am-5pm
Facebook: SubRosa Coffee
Price range: $ (Entrees $10 and under)
Cash only

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As a bakery, coffee, wine and beer bar and an Indonesian art gallery, Grand Lake District’s Monkey Forest Road is a jack-of-all-trades. Its spacious, relaxing atmosphere has plenty of places for customers to retreat to with their laptops and macchiatos; there’s even a small patio nestled within their parking lot. They offer a diverse daily selection of gourmet baked goods — including vegan and gluten-free options — and brew coffee from the Santa Cruz-based Verve Coffee Roasters.

Monkey Forest Road [CLOSED 1/14]
3265 Grand Avenue (between Elwood & Santa Clara Avenues) [map]
Phone: (510) 327-2400
Coffee Bar Hours: Everday from 7 am – 6 pm
Facebook: Monkey Forest Road
Twitter: @MonkeyForestRd

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In the former home of Remedy Coffee, talented pastry chef Christina Bondoc and Rick Yarussi (a self-described coffee geek and professional engineer by trade) oversee this excellent newish spot in Temescal. Barkada means ‘group of friends’ in Tagalog, Bondoc’s native language, and the cozy atmosphere of their cafe is conducive to coffee klatches or working remotely from home. Barkada brews beans from West Oakland’s Scarlet City Coffee Roasting and an assortment of delicious sandwiches, salads, pastries, breads and cakes are all made fresh daily from mostly local, organic and seasonal ingredients.

Barkada Bakery + Cafe [CLOSED 7/14]
4316 Telegraph Avenue (between 44th & 43rd Streets) [map]
Phone: (510) 239-7314
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 am – 8 pm; Sat.-Sun. 8:30 am – 8 pm
Facebook: Barkada Bakery + Cafe
Twitter: @BarkadaBakery


Jenny Oh

Jenny is a long-time contributor to Bay Area Bites, KQED's popular food blog. She formerly worked as an Interactive Producer for the Science & Environment unit. Jenny graduated with honors from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Film and Television program and has worked for WNET/PBS, The Learning Channel, Sundance Channel, HBO and the University of California.

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