A few words about my favorite local shops.  If you haven’t tried these places, drop in and test them out. I love each of them for different reasons.  I hope this list helps you find new places and new experiences!

(not in any special order…)

1.  Bica… solid espresso drinks and although their pastries are almost non-existent, it’s still worth a drop in just for the espresso.  Great little part of town to drop in and enjoy espresso after a morning of doing errands on College Ave.  The barista has been working here for ages and is really knowledgeable and nice.

2.  Cafe 504... great for a secret cozy spot to sip a latte alone or come with a quiet friend and enjoy a long chat and some housemade pasteries.  This is the only place in Oakland that I feel like I have jumped into a time warp and everything stands still, I love it!  It’s great on a cloudy day like today.  Plus the lake is a couple blocks away.

3.  Cana… try the cafe cubano (lots of sugar mixed into a shot)!  That’s the drink I crave when I’m really dragging.  Plus their Cuban music and happy faces always make my morning so happy.  I almost feel guilty writing this but it’s true, it’s like a happy free drug when I walk into this place and hear that music!

4.  Modern Coffee… awesome people and great selection on espresso as well as beans to take home.  I think a shop is ran more solidly when the two owners are there everyday and making sure all is well in the cafe.  Their espresso is solid, their cafe is small but quaint, and their pastries are awesome and made just for them by two great local bakeries.  My new love affair is Modern Coffee!

5.  Remedy… a bit too trendy and popular but I enjoy the Portland atmosphere and great espresso.  Although absolutely no Portland cafe would be this busy and crammed for seat space, just sayin.  I will say that I’m a little bit disappointed about only having one bean choice, especially one that does not fit well with my flavor preferences.  With all that said, in house pasteries are worth a try, espresso is good enough to return regularly, and I’m glad to have another serious cafe turning out espresso in town.

6.  Subrosa… you know, it can be really hit or miss.  But the days that are great include a fresh vegan donut, a super strong americano or drip coffee, and at least a “hi” from my barista. Maybe you’re more of a hipster than I am and this place won’t bother you at all.  In that case, you’ll probably love that it’s next to a record shop, a bike shop, and the famous Homeroom (a mac and cheese restaurant).

7.  Blue Bottle, Webster St.. if you can get past the crazy parking situation, get ready for a great espresso shot or americano.  And don’t forget to grab one or two things from their pastry section, one of the best tasting selections in Oakland in my opinion!  The seating is small, just like Subrosa, but it’s close to Chinatown and definitely worth a little weekend drop in.

8.  Local 123… great for a serious double espresso.  The baristas are consistent and it is a welcome place to come and stay with your laptop for hours.  They also have some yummy sandwiches if you’re around at lunch.  Talk with your barista, they are so nice and knowledgeable here!

Other honorable mentions (not the best but we go there at times): Pacific Bay Coffee Co in Walnut Creek and Whole Foods cafe in Oakland