Java Rama has survived the proliferation of Peet’s and Starbucks because it’s just as good and its atmosphere is way cooler. Housed in a turn-of-the-century Victorian building, the cafe has two-story-high ceilings, rich dark-wood floors, and walls painted brick-red. This is a place to bring the Sunday New York Times and hang out all morning. The gentle hiss of the espresso machines and enticing smells of scones, croissants, carrot cake, and chocolate-chip cookies brought in daily from Alameda’s own A.J. Baking Co. and Zoe’s Cookies in Richmond make it hard to ditch in and out. You want to sit and relax, especially since the coffee is delicious and local too — from Emeryville’s own McLaughlin Coffee Co. For decaf folks, there are dozens of teas and bubbly seltzer water that can be sweetened with Italian syrups in flavors like pomegranate and huckleberry. It’s a low-key neighborhood coffee joint with a couple of Internet stations in back, a place to while away the hours without feeding some corporate beast.
Peet’s Coffee and Tea