daily californian logo

BERKELEY'S NEWS • MARCH 27, 2023

Welcome to the (March) Madness! Read more here

Blue Bottle branches out into Berkeley

article image

JASMANY FLORES | SENIOR STAFF

SUPPORT OUR NONPROFIT NEWSROOM

We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

OCTOBER 13, 2016

Artisan coffee chain Blue Bottle Coffee is set to open its new Berkeley location Saturday.

The cafe, located at 2118 University Ave., will offer various coffee drinks as well as menu items such as avocado toast and poached eggs. The company sells and serves responsibly sourced coffee beans within 48 hours of roasting, and is known for its pour over coffee and New Orleans-style iced coffee.

Although Blue Bottle Coffee has locations as close as Oakland and as distant as Tokyo, this is the company’s first cafe in Berkeley — and a return to its roots. The company’s founder started his business selling coffee at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market, according to Alexandra Chan, regional director of retail for Northern California.

“We feel we’ve come full circle,” Chan said. “There’s just a really strong connection to the neighborhood.”

Blue Bottle Coffee reached out to community centers and schools before opening in Berkeley and will continue to emphasize community relations, possibly hosting events such as latte art competitions and pop-up shops for local businesses, Chan said.

“Ideally we’ll become a place where people can gather,” Chan said. “Our best locations are the ones where you walk in and everyone knows your name and asks how your dog is. Both baristas and guests crave that connection.”

Architect Lincoln Lighthill said he specifically designed the Berkeley location’s interior to promote interactions between the baristas and the customers. The counter is divided into smaller stations to “increase the feeling that you’re getting something handmade,” he said, while the “engine block-sized” espresso machines are hidden beneath the counters so baristas can talk with customers face to face.

UC Berkeley graduate student Elizabeth Gilbert said during a preview event Thursday that she appreciated the Berkeley location’s many tables.

“That’s what students usually look for — where they can come and spend a lot of time,” Gilbert said.

Though patrons at the preview event said the cafe will be popular among students, campus senior David Tsai said that the popularity may only last a few months.

“People on Southside will say, ‘Oh, it’s not worth it’ ” to make the trek to Blue Bottle Coffee, Tsai said, and will instead choose somewhere “closer and cheaper.”

A small cup of coffee costs $3.50 at Blue Bottle, compared to $1.95 at Starbucks and $1.50 at Yali’s Café, which are both located on nearby Oxford Street.

For campus senior Travis Buckman, the higher price is worth it for a “unique coffee experience.”

“You can go anywhere and get a cup of coffee for $2, (but) when someone sits down and takes the time to talk with you about your choice, the different experience makes it more valuable,” Buckman said. “I don’t have high standards but I do understand and appreciate the process of making good coffee.”

Contact Lillian Holmes at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @LillianQHolmes.
LAST UPDATED

OCTOBER 14, 2016


Related Articles

featured article
Ike’s Place, a popular Bay Area sandwich store, opened a new location in Downtown Berkeley on Wednesday.
Ike’s Place, a popular Bay Area sandwich store, opened a new location in Downtown Berkeley on Wednesday.
featured article
featured article
After a brief two-month hiatus that left many campus and community members confused, a local business reopened its doors as Berkeley Coffee Company on Saturday in Shattuck Square for a soft opening, across the street from its prior location.
After a brief two-month hiatus that left many campus and community members confused, a local business reopened its doors as Berkeley Coffee Company on Saturday in Shattuck Square for a soft opening, across the street from its prior location.
featured article
featured article
Beloved by UC Berkeley students and community members for its late-night service and comforting ambience, People’s Coffee and Tea has closed, opening up space for two new food hot spots and leaving many former patrons at a loss.
Beloved by UC Berkeley students and community members for its late-night service and comforting ambience, People’s Coffee and Tea has closed, opening up space for two new food hot spots and leaving many former patrons at a loss.
featured article