When I first moved to Berkeley, I wanted to get a job at Royal Coffee because the owner of the coffee shop I worked at in Carmichael was friends with the owner and it seemed a lot like home. That never happened because I got sucked into the campus job vortex, but I kept drinking their coffee.
The coffee shop is now called Cole Coffee and it’s still pretty much the same - great, fresh roasted beans. If we can’t drink Boulevard Coffee, Cole is a pretty good second. One of the reasons we really like them is that their beans are good quality and their dark roasts are actually dark. Nothing irritates me quite like people who complain they don’t like dark roast coffee because the beans taste burnt, but really they’re just used to stale, burnt beans from some mass market roaster. (OK, a close second might be people who thing that all dark coffee needs to be roasted should be burnt and that anything else is just weak.)
This trend has only become more of a thing in recent years with third wave roasting, where there’s a new school of coffee snob that thinks roasting should be sparse and anything more than that is just criminal. And while I do like those roasters and coffee shops (as evident in this blog), sometimes you need a different kind of cup.
Cole definitely fits that bill. The beans are high quality and roasted to a very rich flavor and fresh (despite lacking the “roasted on” date stamp). On a fine Saturday, my partner and I walked up there as the end of a long stroll through Berkeley. Usually we just get beans from the bean shop, but we decided to actually get a cup in the cafe.
We both got pour overs of Kenya Peaberry. The cafe was really quite busy with a mix of families, cyclists making a pit stop, people working, and a guy sleeping in a chair in the window. We sat outside and talked about the Safeway construction, watch buses and thought about the world.
The cups of coffee were good, which was expected. A lighter roast, it was fairly acidic but not so much that it hurt going down. It was a bright taste. We liked it so much we bought a pound from the bean shop to take home.
I don’t usually get a chance to get coffee made at Cole, but it’s a solid choice. Not super trendy but reliable and delicious. You can’t really ask for much more than that.
Shop: Cole Coffee, Oakland, CA
Drink: Pour-over, Kenyan Peaberry
Companion: Partner, Joe