Bay Area Coffee Adventures that go beyond coffee Shops

We look at four places within the San Francisco Bay Area to showcase the region’s array of coffee shops.



Photos from Eddie P. Gomez

Cupping classes to classes about the history of coffee in-person coffee events that were once commonplace are now a thing of the past, or slow to be revived. In a local cafe, a cozy spot is a common pastime but there are times when people are looking to explore the brew and into the scenes of coffee. Here are four exciting coffee spots to check out within the Bay Area.

CoRo Coffee

Bay Area CoRoasters began in Berkeley in 2016 as roaster however, it has since evolved into a place for community cooperation and innovation. For CoRo it is mainly about increasing access to roasting equipment, or providing the necessary business education to start cafes.

CoRo hosts cafes that serve coffees made by its partnering co-roasters as well as its members. It is, however, CoRo is also a place for those looking to learn essential business abilities. Furthermore, the location is a great place to make professional connections and creating an online network of coffee buddies which is especially beneficial for those just starting out in the field. There are plenty of ways to join this exclusive coffee community.

CoRo offers everything for everybody. The facility currently offers three levels of courses on roasting, one-on-one sessions with a roasting expert and of course access to a variety of roasters. Check out CoRo’s site for upcoming events which include more than workshops on roasting as well as business development.

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A classroom for laboratory use in the Royal Coffee’s Crown Room. Photo by Eddie P. Gomez.

The Crown The Crown Royal Coffee

Royal Coffee, a green importer, has its Downtown Oakland location, affectionately called The Crown is housed in an exquisitely renovated 1920s building that was previously an auto dealership. It is a stunning example of utilizing different spaces in order to increase the functionality.

The Crown has an espresso bar and lab, a roastery, and a tasting room. From making coffees, to learning the fundamentals of sensory techniques, Royal Coffee has plenty of ways to entertain guests. According the lab director Chris Kornman, “Royal Coffee is a major importer of coffee and this is where we interact with people in a manner that is beneficial to everyone.”

Another factor that makes Royal Coffee apart is its staff members who are trained to make guests feel that they’re in the right spot to be a part of the specialty coffee aspect that is appealing to them. Royal Coffee’s website also offers an extensive collection of digital educational resources worth a look before making a trip. Royal Coffee also offers a variety of classes that cover everything from purchasing green coffee, to understanding the process of fermentation and processing coffee.

The playground at Fellow in San Francisco’s Mission District. Photo by Eddie P. Gomez.

Fellow SF Playground

The trendy flagship store of Fellow is situated in San Francisco’s highly-rated Mission District, offering a elegant and attractive selection of brewing equipment in person. Their highly rated online store is in the forefront of the pandemic-driven explosion of home brewing.

One of the benefits At Fellow is the interactive area that they call The Playground. Customers can sit down and “brew a cup, exchange tips or take a class or simply chat.” Staff members are there to guide patrons through a coffee brewing class or to answer any queries they might ask about making their own cup of great-tasting coffee.

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Visit Fellow to look through their vast assortment of coffee items or browse their calendar to see upcoming events. June was the month of an Queer Cupping event co-hosted by various local roasters to celebrate Pride Month in San Francisco. As summer continues more occasions are scheduled to be announced.

Guests enjoying a latte art class at Jiaren Café. Photo courtesy of Jaden Zhou.

Jiaren Cafe – Coffee, Tea, Community

Jiaren Cafe in Santa Clara is a non-profit neighborhood spot that is described as a woman’s empowerment and wellness center that helps people improve their lives. They also serve tea, coffee, as well as matcha and herbal drinks. The shop offers Ritual Coffee Roasters and a variety of cakes, as well as equipment for brewing.

Jiaren Cafe also hosts a variety of community-based events, including private and group classes as well as fundraising events for partnerships to support the community. The fact that Jiaren Cafe is located with an yoga studio speaks to the variety of services that are offered. Jiaren Cafe also has a coffee for heroes program which provides coffee and snacks to first responders and other people who are part of the community. In-person classes, including painting or latte art are also offered to individuals or groups.

About the Author

Eddie P. Gomez (he/him) is a freelance writer who is based in Modesto, Calif. When he’s not in kindergarten, he travels from city to town, mastering the art of the coffee and food adventure.

This article was first published at Barista Magazine, an online magazine dedicated to baristas and coffee professionals.

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