Artis Coffee: coffee nerdism at its finest

Annie Chang/File

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Self-proclaimed coffee nerds (or coffee snobs) will appreciate Artis Coffee’s ability to transform what could have been a normal coffee shop into a streamlined, hipster and interactive space in which to learn more about coffee. The display of coffee apparatuses, from Chemexes to French Presses, possesses a striking similarity to a hands-on science or art museum. Out of all the famous gourmet coffee shops in the Bay Area, including Ritual Coffee and Four Barrel Coffee, Artis Coffee is one of the only shops that not only produces excellent coffee but strives to educate its customers about brewing, history, taste and roasting. Artis Coffee does not overlook any detail in that process and therefore gives customers the best possible cup of a pourover, latte or Blossom-brewed coffee.

Annie Chang/Staff

Annie Chang/Staff

Artis Coffee separates its shop into two main sections: a coffee bar and a live-roast bar. The coffee bar serves the typical espresso and specialty drinks, such as cappuccino, macchiato, chai, mocha and hot chocolate, while the live-roast bar is where the shop shines. On the menu, the Blossom-brewed, hand-crafted and cold-brew iced coffee are the special caffeinated drinks that coffee connoisseurs most enjoy.

The Blossom-brewed drink comes from the Blossom Coffee Brewer, made in the Bay Area. At Artis, the brewer is the first of its kind in a cafe setting and produces a taste that is between that of an Aeropress and a Clover. The Aeropress technology, developed in 2005, produces a less-acidic, bitter taste with espresso-level strength. The Clover, also developed in 2005, mixes the French Press method with vacuum-pot brewing to end up with brewed coffee made like a single cup of espresso.

Hand-crafted coffee is brewed with your choice of V60, Clever or Kalita. As described on the Artis Coffee website, a V60 is a pour-over method that produces coffee with light body and sweetness by adjusting grind size, coffee-to-water ratio, brew temperature and brew time. Clever and Kalita are both single-cup, manual-brewing methods.

Now, that’s enough coffee and technology jargon. Moving onto coffee beans, Artis roasts its own beans from Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America with light (light-bodied and clean), medium (balanced, sweet, smooth and aromatic), medium-dark (spicy and full-bodied) and dark (smoky-sweet and light-bodied) roasts. Customers can purchase any combination of beans in any amount to obtain their favorite flavors. If you are unsure of your favorite bean or bean combination, go to for a “Discover Your Flavor Profile” quiz to determine what to buy.

The live roasting in Japan inspired founder, Alex Lowe, to bring back this concept and start Artis, a certified Fair Trade USA coffee roaster and retailer. Fair trade here means the minimum price of the coffee is higher than the commodity price, increasing worker wages.

The shop brings in green coffee beans from around the world and live roasts them in store with an electric fluidized-bed air roaster to highlight certain notes in coffee. For bagged coffee, customers choose from single-origin, pre-blended or custom blend. The single-origin and pre-blended blends range from Indonesian Timor to an Artis Espresso Blend. To spread knowledge and passion of coffee, the store has a complimentary cupping every Saturday at 10 a.m. Coffee tasting involves aroma and body. Aromas are notes that include vanilla, jasmine or even cherry and blueberry, whereas body can be smooth, buttery, oily, lush, watery or rough.

In addition to coffee paraphernalia and tasting, the store partners with coffee-related projects that focus on education, environment and entrepreneurship. Artis, furthermore, dedicates 100 percent of all sales to the project. This year, they are partnering with the International Women’s Coffee Alliance. The organization partners with coffee-growing women to improve gender equity and safety.

Artis Coffee focuses on personalizing every cup and bag of coffee and on educating customers about the art of coffee. The modern shop turns coffee into a form of art and technology that is more than caffeine in a cup that wakes you up in the morning.

Artis Coffee is located at 1717 B Fourth Street, Berkeley and is open from Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Contact Annie Chang at [email protected].