Oakland Coffee Trail: Awaken Cafe


It was a blustery morning again today. The wind was whipping and destroyed many Oaklander’s umbrellas. (I saw three umbrella’s in a similar state laying on the ground today.) I’m not sure why people just leave them laying on the sidewalk instead of dropping them in a garbage can, but I suppose anger could be a factor. Today’s storm activity is supposed to be the most powerful of the series of storms that are passing through this week. The clouds are breaking up right now, but I think there may be some afternoon activity yet to come.

I was downtown this morning to listen to a panel discussion presented by the Oakland Merchants’ Leadership Forum, and just as that meeting wrapped the rain stopped so I took advantage of the good weather to walk home via Awaken Cafe. It’s a modest sized cafe (inside seating for about 10 people, max) on 14th Street between Broadway and Franklin. They pull drinks using beans from Taylor Maid Farms. (Trish Skeie of Taylor Maid is credited with coining the term third wave coffee. Spend a little time perusing the Taylor Maid website for lots of interesting stuff about coffee. The geeky coffee aficionado could spend several hours reading the stuff they’ve posted.) Besides offering drinks made with Taylor Maid beans, the cafe sells those beans whole. You can start with a can of your favorite blend and then return with the can in hand for a refill from their bean dispensers. According to the baristas I spoke with this morning they turn over their product pretty quickly so the beans should always be relatively fresh.

As with the other cafe’s I’ve visited, I expect to make a return visit to Awaken Cafe to fully appreciate their work. On my first visit I ordered a double Americano and was not disappointed. The Taylor Maid beans produced a lush, chocolatey beverage. Not as rich as the Verve Streetlevel Americano I enjoyed so much at Modern Coffee, but full of flavor. Awaken has been open for a couple of years and they have plans to expand to the old bar next door sometime in 2010. That space will offer organic wine and beer, provide more gallery space and offer more room to hang out. I really enjoyed the ambiance of the little cafe. There’s an old door hung sideways on the back wall displaying the drink menu. At the bottom of the menu is this quote:

“Who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakens.”
— Carl Jung.

Good advice. As Anna says, “either way you look, it’s good.”

Drink good coffee, my friends.

Signum, brella

Wednesday January 20, 2010 — Mark —