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Richmond - Catahoula Coffee Company & Roastery ... Java that doesn't bite

That's their slogan. Their logo is a picture of a Spanish breed of dog by that name.

The place isn't officially open, but if owner Timber Manhart is in the shop, he will sell you a bag of beans.

They do small batch roasting. I tried the Lola's Blend that was so smooth and sweet that every sip caught my attention. Timber made me an espresso with that bean. Black, the taste was different, very assertive with a pleasant ... uh ... nip. Just grrrrreat.

Here's there description from the website:

"Lola Blend
Espresso Roast
A bold & complex (some say stubborn) yet unexpectedly sweet blend of organic Costa Rica & Sumatra beans. Medium roasted to bring out an intriguing snappy twist."

No kidding. Organic too. Construction is still going on. The sign went up about two years ago when I first moved to the neighborhood and finally it came to life. The cafe will be formally open in about a month.

This looks like it will be a bright, modern shop. There's a great coffee roaster up front so you can see and smell the beans roasting. Very cool ... oh yeah ... PARKING too !!!

Timber is very nice. Sort of coffee nirvanha to me. Someone who is interested in putting out a great product without attitude. It has the feel of an updated version of the old-time coffee roasters in North Beach ... but with a better brew ... at least the Lola's Blend beats similar brews .... old and new.

This seems like it could be in the same league as Ritual Roaster, Barefoot, Blue Bottle, Flying Goat ...etc.

Ironically located almost across the street from Pup Hut on San Pablo Avenue

Catahoula Coffee Company & Roastery

12472 San Pablo Ave
Richmond, CA 94805
(510) 235-0525

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  1. I second the comments on Catahoula's Lola's blend coffee. This is a very nice alternative to the often-charred coffees from Peets and Starbucks.
    Tim says he's about a month from the true opening but you can get a pound of fresh-roasted coffee anytime it seems. Just drop by and he may give you a special espreso shot...

    1 Reply
    1. re: osc3

      Yeah, the quote from the website in the OP on the beans in the Lola's blend has changed. They seem to still be working on blends. Thanks for the update. I don't seem to get by there at the right time. Looking forward to a nice cafe with a good brew in the area.

    2. The reference to a Louisiana parish in the name, and the "doesn't bite" slogan makes one wonder if chicory isn't part of the blend.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Gary Soup

        The dog breed is named after the parish.
        If they use chicory wouldn't they have to announce that? It is my understanding, based on reading in the last 2 minutes, that chicory is cheaper than coffee.

        1. re: wolfe

          Catahoula, from my one visit and the little I know, is the type of business that seems more interested in putting out a quality product just as much as people like that from the lowly Arepa lady to the lofty Thomas Keller try to do. They are not only out to make a buck ... a Chowhound kind of place.

          So if there was chickory in the product ... which there is not ... it would be to enhance the flavor and not to cut corners ... much like Blue Bottle has that clearly labeled its iced coffee as containing chicory.

          From my understanding part of the reason the place has taken so long to open was the owner wanting to get things just right. He's pretty clear when you stop by at this point that the place is still a work in progress ... but if you accept that ... come on down.

          1. re: rworange

            From the "in flux" state of affairs it wasn't clear if they had even gotten around to printing regulation indgredients labels yet.

            Adding chicory to coffee is not necessarily cutting corners; Enrico Banducci's house coffee at Enrico's ca. 1965 was a French roast with chicory added. It was plenty good and very smooth. I liked it so much I tried using Luzianne coffee at home but got nowhere near the same result.

            And BTW, wash your mouth out with soap and hope Jim Leff isn't lurking; the Arepa Lady is "Sainted", not "lowly."

      2. The cafe is now open with occasional live music (how did they fit it in?) The coffee and people are great. I get my weekly pound of freshly roasted Lola fix (sometimes more often.) Occasionally, Timber is roasting a fresh load as I come in. Watch him time the roast like he's training for the java olympics. Straight from the roaster into the bag. Fresh roasted makes a difference! Timber is a coffee fanatic, always pushing for a better roast, a great pull, and an overall great coffee experience.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JMByrd

          Thanks for the update. I've been in the cafe since it opened. Live music ... cool. I don't get there as much as I'd like because I have been using a different route to get to Berkeley and I forget. Will have to make a trip and try some of the other blends besides Lola.

          This area really needs a nice coffee shop like this since there is little outside of McDonald's. You know, even Starbucks has snubbed Richmond.

          Catahoula Coffee Co
          12472 San Pablo Ave, Richmond, CA 94805

        2. There is no chicory in Catahoula Coffee. Timber is a Catahoula dog lover. His signature blend, Lola, is also named a dog.

          2 Replies
          1. re: JMByrd

            Ah. I almost forgot about this place. It's been on my list for a while. Now I want to check it out. Does anyone have a sense of what the range of roasts he tends to offer? Darker? Lighter? How much of a range between dark and light?

            1. re: ManSeekingCoffee

              He seems to go for a darker roast. Never considered the range. He will talk a lot about his coffees. Hope you report back on what you think.

          2. Think they would offer a free cup to a visiting Catahoula Hound?

            1 Reply
            1. "No attitude" means they must grind your beans for you?

              4 Replies
              1. re: donbonus

                Yep. If they have a grinder, why not? I bought them. They are my beans to do with what I want. Why not grind them?

                Also, Timber is just a nice guy. He makes you feel like he is genuinely happy to see you. It is about getting a good cup of coffee as opposed to having to do some coffee geek type of appreciation. I mean, if coffee is your thing, cool. But don't insist everyone share that same passion. Some of us just want a well-roasted, good-tasting cup of coffee.

                1. re: rworange

                  I finally made it over to Catahoula Coffee. A little backround is that I'm a coffee fanatic (ok, lots of folks are) but I'm very particular in that I think most coffee roasters in the Bay Area overroast their beans (notably Peets and Starbucks, but lots of the small roasters too). I've also tried Blue Bottle many times--both buying their beans and brewing at home, as well as buying cups from them and the couple of other places that serve their coffee, and have always found their roasting not so really bring out the flavor of most of their beans. Catahoula, however, really gets it just right. I had a shot of espresso--the Lola Blend--at it's amazingly tasty. Most of the espresso shots I've had in the Bay Area taste really bitter, but not this. I then bought a couple of pounds of coffee to brew myself. So far I've only had the Costa Rica, which was very, very nice--perhaps a little too mild for my tastebuds (the bean, not the roast--which was perfect) but very tasty, also fair trade and organic.

                  Timber really is a very nice guy, and the prices are very, very fair. Support this business!! You won't be disappointed if you're a coffee lover and this is the kind of place that could really pick up a much-maligned neighborhood and city.

                  1. re: cjp123

                    >> this is the kind of place that could really pick up a much-maligned neighborhood and city <<

                    No kidding. That is an understatement.

                    Timber is trying to start a farmers market in the lot on Saturday. The first was held two weeks ago. No farmers market last week but while I was there Ernestina who works there said that the customer before me was a teacher at a local school. At the school, the students grow their own gardens and they were one of the stands at the first farmers market.

                    I haven't tried it yet, but someone I trust said that Timber has a truly great new roast ... Chiapas.

                    1. re: rworange

                      Oh, I forgot to mention that I finally got there a while back. I definitley give Catahoula a thumbs up (http://manseekingcoffee.wordpress.com...). I think some of the beans as brewed coffee need some refining but the espresso is really very nice. If you go there, Timber can sign you up for his mailing list where he'll let you know about the open air markets he's planning.