When you envision an ideal neighborhood, what amenities do you imagine exist there? Is there a top-notch farmers market on the weekends? Are there good restaurants that are within walking distance? Is your doorstop a stone’s throw away from a picturesque lake? How about a warm, inviting café that consistently delivers on the promise of high-quality coffee and tasty house made edibles?
If you are one of the residents who live in East Oakland, then feel free to count your (many) blessings. While living next to beautiful Lake Merritt is arresting in itself, the inclusion of a very good coffeehouse is sublime. After a leisurely stroll (or heart-pounding run) around the lake, stop by Café 504 for a bit of caffeine therapy and a smile.
Perhaps you may have the honor of being served by ever-smiling owner Jamie Fasanella-Reimer, or one of her well-trained and equally hospitable baristas. Even if you are meeting Jamie for the first time, she has a knack for making you feel as if you have been friends for years. Not only is she adept at pulling espresso shots from her La Marzocco Linea, Jamie also deftly churns out items from Café 504’s organic and sustainable food menu.
Café 504 carries Blue Bottle and Sunshine beans; in the coffee world, it is not common for one café to have two roasters taking up residence. Providing products from two roasters allows Café 504 to showcase a variety and depth of flavors that benefits its customers. Currently on tap (for espresso) is Blue Bottle’s 17ft Ceiling and Retrofit; coffee makes a showing in a house blend (2/3 light roast : 1/3 Italian roast) developed with Sunshine and Blue Bottle’s Three Africans. A sampling of the Retrofit espresso yielded hints of dark chocolate and cherry. It was spicy but smooth, and full-bodied. A hot cup of Café 504’s house blend began with nutty and caramel notes, culminating in a full, complex finish. It is safe to say that the other Oakland neighborhoods would be jealous to discover that not only is there an unassuming café tucked away in Cleveland Heights, but it is a very capable one indeed.
If you are an Oaklander with a penchant for the coffee bean (and maybe an airy strawberry-basil muffin), then make your way to Café 504 to satisfy your coffeehouse cravings. Jamie will show you just how good a neighborhood café can be.
504 Wesley Avenue
Oakland, CA 94606