By Allie Pape
Artisanal coffee is hotter than ever, and for those who love a morning (and afternoon, and evening) pick-me-up, options abound across Oakland. But for the true coffee enthusiast, a perfect pour-over cup or shot of espresso are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of eye-opening experiences. Here are some of our favorite ways to explore the wide world of coffee. Go to the source. Lots of great roasters are based right in Oakland, including the now nationally-famous Blue Bottle. For the freshest cup, it pays to go right to the source, where employees are happy to chat, give tips, and point you in the direction of the best cafes. Scarlet City, a woman-owned roastery in West Oakland, specializes in medium-roast beans that bring out the coffee's best flavor; set up a pick-up time, and owner Jen St. Hilaire will gladly share her wisdom. Highwire Coffee Roasters talks customers through their line at their Rockridge shop. And of course, Blue Bottle is open to visitors, with public talks and tastings at 2 p.m. every Tuesday and Sunday. Upgrade your coffee and donut. While a regular old glazed from the corner shop never goes out of style, two local donut purveyors will upgrade your concept of what the breakfast treat can be. Doughnut Dolly in Temescal Alley bakes soft yeast donuts fresh every morning and fills them with your choice of "naughty cream," a delicious creme-fraiche custard. Pair them with a cold-brew Jittery Joe's coffee to allow the flavors to shine. Over at Donut Savant in Uptown, a housemade take on the infamous cronut (that's a croissant-donut hybrid), called the cron't, comes in flavors like salted maple and cinnamon sugar. Under-the-radar Oakland roaster America's Best Coffee provides the java. Try a new drink. A recent arrival in Uptown, Tierra Mia Coffee gives its drinks a Latin twist, offering up creamy lattes made with horchata and mochas packed with Mexican chocolate. And for a taste of coffee as drunk by those who grow it, don't miss the Ethiopian coffee from Cafe Colucci in Rockridge, which is roasted on-site the traditional way and packs a serious flavor and caffeine punch. Looking for more ways to stay caffeinated in Oakland? Check out our list of cafes and coffee shops.