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May 6, 2008 01:30 PM

33 Revolutions serving Ritual coffee is the coolest coffee house in the East Bay

This next line is said in the tone that Craig Ferguson uses when he finds something incredulous

…. and it is located in El Cerrito … I KNOW

Nina mentioned in a recent Ritual Roasters topic that Central Perk was now 33 Revolutions

The former Perk, a cluttered and slightly creepy place did a complete revolution and was turned into a lovely, airy, roomy space that supposedly has very good free wifi. There’s lots of room to spread out and work on your computer.

They try to serve organic food. Baked goods are by Semi-freddi. Pie is from Whole Foods. There are a half dozen sandwiches and salads.

The music is good. There is a small bin where a few records … yes records … vinyl … and some collectors issues of music magazines like Guitar. However it isn’t the focus of the place which has lots of comfy couches and tables.

From the website …

"We get out of bed each day looking forward to a perfectly pulled espresso or a cup of French-pressed coffee that sings of the soil in which it was grown."

The cappuccino is on the wet, side with more milk than I prefer… so next time I’ll go with the straight cup of Ritual.

El Cerrito is just rolling lately with three new restaurants opening recently.

33 Revolutions
10086 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, CA 94530

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  1. Coolest in the "East Bay"..yes, as we are getting the city's sloppy seconds....Ritual is not the Ritual it was when they were using Stumptown beans...

    Four Barrel Coffee in the house now!

    5 Replies
    1. re: donbonus

      Well, Ritual is Ritual. However, this place certainly trumps that awful Ritual shop in the city. Why coffee shops have to be as crowded and uncomfortable as possible, I'll never understand. Cole Coffee is just an insult to humanity as far as I'm concerned.

      Who sells Four Barrel?

      AFAIK, the most interesting coffee roaster in the East Bay is Catahoula in Richmond. The shop isn't as computer-friendly, but the roast is better. It is not always a successful roast but it has a lot more flavor and integrity than most of what is available.

      It is not coffee-geek coffee though. Just someone who is trying to please his own tastes and passion.

      1. re: rworange

        I think the crowded and uncomfortable thing is either a faux living room effect or they know if it's uncomfortable you'll stay for 20 min to a half hour and then leave.

        Just curious, is it the same owners from CP running 33 Revs? I ugess next time I go to the Cerrito I'll check it out.

        1. re: rworange

          The crowded thing isn't really their fault. They make some of the best coffee in the country, they're first two locations were in hip locations (check the Bayview for a more relaxed feel, I'm sure), and most of the time it's very relaxed. I wouldn't go on a Saturday night, and if you see the fogged up windows, that's a good indication to run like hell. There aren't a whole hell of a lot of places where underage kids can hang out, so Ritual fits the bill. What else are they supposed to do? Take reservations? Cut down on the seats?

          The original Melvina's in North Beach broke the mold for comfortable coffee shops, and now we're stuck with hundreds of places with Java in the name, but nowhere that serves top notch coffee, roasted in house, with an easy atmosphere. Trieste doesn't come close, and they're franchising now.

          While we're on the topic, I don't understand the point of supplying the city with beans unless they're planning on becoming Peet's. If Ritual goes the way of Blue Bottle, then sure it'll be easier then ever to get good coffee in the city, but less of a novelty. Even the Java named places will be selling it eventually. I guess we can expect that the next celebrity chefs will be Baristas, and the accent will be on the brewing techniques..... but with that, you can expect less comfort, and more presentation.

          Ritual had 2 out of 5 of the finalists at the US Barista Championship by the way.

          1. re: sugartoof

            And neither of those baristas work at Ritual anymore.
            Not saying anything about Ritual (which has v good coffees) - just clarifying the point.

      2. Thanks will check it out

        1. Woohoo! A new place to study! I've gotten booted out of Barnes & Noble café twice in the past three weeks for studying there after only an hour and a half(!) even though I HAD purchased one of their always odd tasting, expensive lattés that are half foam anyway.

          Rw, you are gold.

          1. Thanks for the report! I stopped by today and got a coffee to go. Pretty typical
            Ritual taste, not a hint of bitterness, slightly sour. I couldn't tell but I think they
            might be making it with a metal mesh filter rather than paper; it had that fine
            particulate cloudiness that doesn't usually get past paper. Still, decent tasty cup.

            And what a great space it's become. The sign out front says cafe and record shop
            and sure enough there's a pair of bins with records. A sort-of DJ booth with a
            single turntable. A piano and a conga. Since it's new the couches haven's acquired
            that "hmm, maybe I'll sit in the chair" quality that coffeeshop couches start to
            get. Chairs and tables are arranged a bit haphazardly like they're still working out
            what to do with all the space. Really friendly people running the show.

            Sandwiches seemed a little pricy, starting at $6 for a plain grilled cheese going up
            to $11 for more complicated things.

            1. Reporting live from 33 Revolutions again....
              The Ritual cafe au lait is certainly one of the finest cups of coffee that have passed my lips. Smooth but not wimpy. Semifreddi's apple turnover is what it is, which is good.
              The place is really nice -- I should emphasize that as hip as it is, it isn't too cool for the neighborhood. A number of the customers on this visit and my previous one are middle-aged and older (besides me!) and the younger ones are not all super-hipsters. I think anyone would feel comfortable hanging out here. Also, while the music is a feature of the place, it's not so loud as to be annoying. Right now we're listening to some old Dylan. At 10 AM, there are about eight people in this room, which would still feel uncrowded with three times that many. Some people are on the phone and others having a conversation without all of the rest of us feeling like we're part of it. And it's a couple of blocks from BART!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Nina

                >> I should emphasize that as hip as it is, it isn't too cool for the neighborhood. <<

                Yeah, perfect description. I stopped by Sunday. One nice thing is that the side door on Central is open, so there are easier parking options if you are running in for a cup of coffee ... they may not be legal, but easier.

                Even the sugar is organic and free-trade.

                That's not to say that they don't need to work out some opening kinks, but it is a nice fit for the area.