Best Coffee Shops in the Bay Area

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I know, I know: a post about trendy coffee shops.  How cliche, right? I guess I can be a bit hypocritical, because I'm always rolling my eyes at the self-proclaimed "coffee obsessed!!" bloggers.  I don't know why it gets to me.  Every time I see something like that, I just want to go "We're ALL slightly coffee obsessed! How can any creative not be?!" Haha, I don't know, I guess it just is a pet peeve of mine.  

Still, I'm a sucker for a nice indie coffee shop.  A sweet vanilla almond milk latte topped with some cute, quirky art? You can bet I'm forking over my $5 for it, and snapping a Instagram pic, too.  Hence the slightly hypocritical remark. ;) 

Since moving to the Bay Area about a year ago now (which you can read more about HERE), I've become a lot more social than I used to be, and hence have had a lot more coffee dates with friends than I used to.  I've worked my way around my fair share of coffee shops through the Bay Area, and have definitely found some of my favorites.  As I keep exploring, I'll add more to this list, but as of right now (Dec. 2016), these are my favorites.  


1. Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters

 2271 Union St, San Francisco, CA

I absolutely LOVE Wrecking Ball.  I'd even go as far as to say that it's my favorite coffee shop ever.  Yep, it's that good.  I swear, their lattes are just the best.  So rich and smooth and creamy.  Plus, they don't sweeten it with sugar, which is a plus.  Instead, they use simple syrup, which is much more health-conscious than refined white sugar.  The only downside to WB would be that it's usually always busy.  Expect to wait in line for a bit, and expect to not find anywhere to sit.  The shop is rather small, so it's better to grab and go find a nearby stoop to sit on.  But, it's popular for a reason- because it's so dang good! 

 

2. Coffee Shop 

1321 Locust St, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Coffee Shop is another great, yet popular coffee house in the East Bay.  I'd been wanting to check  out this shop for ages, but only recently went in.  It's a huge shop, but as expected, it's very crowded.  It's best to come at an off-time to try and get a table to sit at.  

Their coffee is absolutely amazing! They have regular coffee as well as pour-overs...one day I hope to have enough time to stop in and try one. Their lattes are sweet and strong- and the perfect after-meal dessert! Coffee Shop is conveniently located right across the street from one of my favorite vegan restaurants, Veggie Grill, so whenever I stop by and get some mac and cheese from there, I have to stop by Coffee Shop, too.  

 

3. Craftsman and Wolves 

746 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

By far the most edgy and hip cafe of the bunch, Craftsman and Wolves definitely has a cultish following.  They're famous for their egg-filled muffins (which I've obviously never tried) and they can gather HUGE lines and crowds, especially during brunch time on the weekends.  The best time, I've found, is to come in the evenings- that is, if you don't mind that all their pastries will be gone.  But, if you want to try their pastries (which I would totally want to if I could) first thing in the morning is definitely when you want to go! Also... they win for best latte art, hands-down.  Look how cute this Jack Skellington latte is that I got last Halloween! Not only is their coffee great, but for you non-coffee drinkers, they have a sipping caramel (think: hot chocolate but caramel) that is soooooo good! 

 

4. Basque Boulangerie 

411 Hartz Ave, Danville, CA 94526

Let's be honest: if there's one combination better than bread and butter, it's truffle fries and coffee. And this cafe not only has great coffee, but amazing truffle fries.  I actually stumbled upon this cafe quite randomly.  I was finishing up at a blogger event, and wanted a quick snack before I hopped back on the road.  This place was less than a block from where the event was, so it was super convenient, and super good.  

 

5. Temple Coffee Roasters 

 239 G St, Davis, CA 95616

Okay, I'm breaking the rules here a bit.  This cafe isn't in the Bay Area, but it is in Northern California, so does that count? Haha, I love Temple.  When I used to live in Sacramento, I used to come here all the time with my friends.  They have a couple locations in the Sacramento area, and each one is amazing! It's super quiet (usually), relatively inexpensive, and so good.  Plus, they often have yummy vegan baked treats, which is always a plus, if you want a sweet little treat.  

 

6. Artis Coffee (Hayes Valley Location)

537 Octavia St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Artis is yet another teeny tiny location packed with big flavors.  Their coffee is so smooth and silky and creamy (and, not to forget: photogenic).  I swear, there is something about San Francisco coffee that makes it taste so much better than other coffee.  I don't know what it is, but this city has the best damn coffee, and Artis is no exception.  The only downside would be that there's a lot of...interesting...people that like to lurk outside the cafe.  But hey, it's San Francisco, what else would you expect? ;) 

 

7. Tertulia Coffee

1951 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

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If I had to pick the best coffee shop in the East Bay... this would be it. It's less of a coffee shop but more of a local art gallery that also sells coffee, but it's really a wonderful space.  It's a bright, clean, modern space right in uptown, about a block from the Fox Theater and Uber's new headquarters. I believe it's on the newer side, as I hadn't recalled seeing it before the time of this initial writing.  But hands-down, Tertulia hits all the marks for me. Not only is it gorgeous and situated in a prime location, but the coffee is SO good.  It's rich, creamy, and delicious.  However, since they are newer, their menu is very small still, and the only milk sub they offer is almond milk (so if you're a nut-free vegan, you might not want to come here).  But, if you can hang with the almond milk or traditional cow's milk (which of course I don't advocate for) then I definitely think coming here for your daily coffee is worth it. Plus, their lattes are only $3- score! 

 

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8. Algorithm Coffee Co. 

1122 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702 

Another East Bay favorite, Algorithm is the epitome of the pretentious coffee shop that you just can't help but come back to.  It's a little bit on the pricier side - I think I paid $5.75 for a soy milk latte- but it's great coffee and a really chill atmosphere.  It's a dark, modern-rustic greyscale building with just enough sunshine to keep it warm and friendly.  When I went in, it was full of students working on homework, so I'll definitely be coming here to get some studying done when I transfer to Cal.  The coffee itself is the perfect balance of bitter and sweet- bitter enough so you can taste the actual coffee, but sweet enough that it doesn't need sugar. While I do enjoy my coffee black every now and then, it's not my usual preference, though I'm sure their black coffee is just as good.  


Hope this list helps you, whether you're planning on traveling to the Bay Area or just looking for a new place to check out.  Like I said above, I'll be adding to this list as time goes on and I continue to explore new spots.