Where to find the best caffeine kick around Berkeley

Ketki Samel/File

Coffee indulgence is often deemed essential to the college experience. Sometimes you need to escape the libraries or the dorms and venture into a space where you can have a restful conversation or a healthy study flow. Whether you fall victim to caffeine addiction or just like sitting in a coffee shop, UC Berkeley has a beautifully diverse café selection to consider.

Artís Coffee

1717 Fourth St. Berkeley, CA 94710

With its “sustainably and ethically sourced” ingredients and by roasting “coffees live and on demand,” Artís endeavors “to inspire a new generation of coffee lovers” with the belief that coffee “weaves together geography, culture and flavor into a single cup.” Located on Fourth Street, Artís commands a substantial space with ample seating, a quaint interior design and a serene atmosphere. Known for its vanilla lattes that delicately whisk you into tranquility, going to Artís is like a getaway vacation from campus. 

Cole Coffee

6253 College Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705

Down on College Avenue is Cole Coffee, a local café formerly known as Royal Coffee Café and Retail Store. Its coffee is stronger than that of other cafés around Berkeley and is easily accessible with the 51B bus line — it’s also pleasant to walk through the neighborhood in the morning on your way to Cole Coffee. Even though the seating is sparse and it has no Wi-Fi, Cole Coffee is worth it for the kind baristas and quality roasts! 

1951 Coffee Company 

2495 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94720 or 2410 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

1951 Coffee Company was established in 2015 and “is a non-profit … organization that promotes the well-being of the refugee community in the United States by providing job training and employment to refugees, asylees and special immigrant visa holders.” With stores on Channing Way, College Avenue and inside Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, 1951 consistently provides a convenient and chill spot to grab a quick caffeine kick. The one on Channing has quick service, tolerable seating and acceptable music. Some tips are to get their stamp card and try their popular honey oat latte! 

Brewed Awakening

1807 Euclid Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709

One of the closest cafés on the north side of campus is Brewed Awakening. Although it often gets hot in there and the lighting isn’t exactly the best, Brewed has a refreshing iced hazelnut latte, is openly spacious and is seldom busy. It isn’t the best, but isn’t the worst. 

Romeo’s Coffee

2499 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704

The only reason to go to Romeo’s on Telegraph Avenue is for the excellent venue. Fashioned with comfortable cushioned chairs, high windows and clean varnished tables, Romeo’s is the ideal study environment. Coffee is forgettable, but the names aren’t. “Scandalous!!!!!” and “Light My Fire” aren’t exactly mouthwatering. 

Caffè Strada

2300 College Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704

With countless laptops stolen every year, it’s a wonder why Strada is still frequented. Almost invariably crowded, with sticky tables and stale coffee, there is nothing desirable here. They waste their venue’s potential and there are many other cafés more worthwhile. On the outside it looks charming, but don’t be fooled — it’s a trap!

This concludes my rankings, I hope this makes you excited to traverse this college town and fuel your coffee addiction. Go have café hopping adventures outside of the city as well, such as in San Francisco, because everyone needs to dip from campus once in awhile. It is also important to note that there are many other cafés around Berkeley that weren’t mentioned, but should still be explored!

Contact Cameron Opartkiettikul at[email protected].