1888 Coffee Station at Bacheesos
“Taste this Warriors Smoothie,” encouraged Muhammad Diaw, manager of 1888 Coffee Station at Bacheesos (opened April 2), as I walked to the carry-out window nestled next to Bacheesos Mediterranean Restaurant (previously featured in this blog). “It’s got avocado, mango, pineapple, carrot, spinach, kale, orange juice, and a little bit of agave syrup – but no ice. We freeze the fruits and vegetables but use nothing water-based, so the texture isn’t marred by melting.” His brilliant smile inspired joy even before I tried the smoothie – delicious! 1888 also offers smoothies named for other East Bay teams (A’s, Earthquakes, and Raiders) and our neighborhood icon, Fairyland. “All our smoothies use almond milk, coconut milk, or are juice-based. We can omit the agave if you prefer a tarter taste, and we can omit any other ingredient if you think you just don’t like it. But it’s a great way to get kids to drink their vegetables,” he suggested, his eyes twinkling conspiratorially. A young mother with a toddler in a stroller arrived a moment later. She ordered the Warriors Smoothie and shared it with her delighted son, proving Muhammad’s point.
Top quality, locally sourced ingredients and products are featured. Firebrand Artisan Breads at 2343 Broadway provides savory and sweet pastries each day. Fresh ginger, lemon zest, and black teas come from the Oaktown Spice Shop, previously featured in this blog, at 546 Grand Avenue.
I had arrived mid-morning on a Wednesday, anticipating a slow period. Even so, a steady stream of customers from the neighborhood came by to place orders. Muhammad greeted nearly everyone by first name as he quickly prepared their usual orders, with whatever additions or variations they wanted. A worker from Lake Merritt Park selected his usual order: Spanish chorizo in a savory pastry and a cup of Dirty Chai. Another customer, Brett, volunteered, “You guys are the best. I’m here every single day. I just ask for a latte and the blackberry or apricot thing. Muhammad knows what I want [today, a blackberry cream cheese Danish]. I’ll try a savory pastry one afternoon,” Amber remarked. “It’s on my way to work. I get coffee every day and treat myself to a pastry twice a week.” Elisabeth commented, “It’s so nice to just grab something and then sit at the café or go to the park. I usually come by once a week on my day off.” Today she ordered Breakfast Sliders made with egg, mozzarella cheese, and peppers. She skipped the bacon option. Muhammad quickly filled another customer’s order of coffee and Breakfast Sliders, plus a chocolate banana almond tart and an asparagus mushroom tart. “Toasted it tastes like pizza,” he assured his customer.
“The team here comes from all around the world. We are a reflection of Oakland itself, filled with smiles and good energy. People love to walk by on their way to the park or the lake. Unlike most other coffee shops, we are lucky to have an outdoor patio that feels very European. We want feedback from everyone. We are always a work in progress. Give us a try; taste the difference,” urges Muhammad. “The customer experience is the most important thing to us.”
The Ruiz Galindo family has cultivated and roasted coffee at its hacienda in Veracruz, Mexico since 1888 (hence the company’s name). This hacienda is one of North America’s oldest family-owned and -operated coffee bean growers. They grow and roast premium Arabica coffee beans using all-natural coffee farming techniques. The company’s website assures us that all beans are hand-picked and gently roasted in small batches, and that all of its beans are estate-grown, Fair Trade Certified, Rainforest Alliance Certified, and Kosher! (I daresay the beans are also gluten-free, but I digress). Although 1888 Coffee is known in Europe, Asia, and North America, it did not previously have a coffee station in the United States. Manning Lopez, California entrepreneur and co-owner of the 1888 Coffee Company (along with Armando Ruiz Galindo, Sr. and Armando Ruiz Galindo, Jr.) partnered with Amir Asli, owner of Bacheesos, to open the first 1888 Coffee Station at Bacheesos here in Oakland.
The Fair Trade model is intended to help build sustainable businesses and develop relationships between coffee buyers and coffee growers. Fair Trade certification requires that fair prices are paid to the local workers growing, harvesting, and roasting the coffee beans. Fair Trade standards prohibit child or forced labor. Some view Rainforest Alliance certification as a more comprehensive approach to the linked goals of environmental protection, social responsibility, and economic stability. 1888 Coffee holds both certifications. To obtain Rainforest Alliance certification, a farm must meet the network’s rigorous environmental, social, and economic criteria, which are designed to conserve forests and protect wildlife; safeguard soils and waterways; support the well-being of workers, their families, and local communities; mitigate climate change and build resilience to its impact; improve the livelihoods of farmers and their employees; and demonstrate continuous progress toward long-term sustainability goals.
246 Grand Ave. (at corner of Park View Terrace, across from Fairyland Park)
Oakland, CA 94610
Monday – Friday 7 AM – 5 PM
Saturday & Sunday 8 AM – 5 PM
All previous Grand Avenue West of 580 blogs are archived HERE.