Blue Bottle Coffee’s original Oakland location is closing after 11 years – San Francisco Chronicle

DL AUG SEPT 21 COVER

People sip coffee and chat outside Blue Bottle’s Webster location in Oakland, which is closing this weekend.
The Blue Bottle Coffee near Jack London Square was popular for its takeout-only coffee bar, open since 2009.
Blue Bottle Coffee is shutting down its cafe near Oakland’s Jack London Square, the former site of its headquarters and roasting facility, after more than a decade.
The cafe at 300 Webster St. will be open through Sunday.
The coffee chain’s lease ended in 2019. Knowing the rent would rise, the company moved its roasting operations to Sacramento and its offices to Old Oakland that year. But the landlord allowed Blue Bottle to continue serving coffee out of the space month-to-month until a new tenant for the entire warehouse came along, according to CEO Karl Strovink. Now there’s a new tenant.
“We are extremely grateful to our cafe regulars and the Jack London Square community who supported us at this location for so many years,” Stovink said in a statement, encouraging regulars to walk the half mile to the Old Oakland cafe.
It’s the end of an era for Blue Bottle — but the coffee company is a radically different one now than it was in 2009 when it opened the Webster Street space.
A Blue Bottle employee roasts coffee at the company’s roasting facility in Oakland in 2018. Blue Bottle moved its roasting to Sacramento the following year.
Back then, it was Blue Bottle’s first Oakland location and its first major roasting operation with offices, a cupping room and a commercial kitchen in addition to the tiny coffee bar that drew customers from all over the East Bay. (Blue Bottle started in 2002 at an Oakland farmers’ market before expanding in San Francisco.) Led by founder James Freeman, it influenced the minimalist, third-wave cafes that now dominate the Bay Area, which typically source beans directly from farms and treat them as an artisanal product.
Since then, Nestle has purchased a majority stake in Blue Bottle, and the coffee company’s locations have grown to about 100 around the world.
Janelle Bitker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @janellebitker
Janelle Bitker joined The San Francisco Chronicle in 2019. As the food enterprise reporter, she covers restaurant news as well as Bay Area culture at large through a food lens. Previously, she served as a reporter for Eater SF, managing editor at the East Bay Express, and arts & culture editor at the Sacramento News & Review. Her writing has been recognized by the California Newspaper Publishers Association and Association of Alternative Newsmedia.

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