Allegro Coffee Roasters is set to open a craft coffee shop in the Whole Foods Market store at 10th and Gilman in West Berkeley which is slated to open on Nov. 4. It is Allegro’s second location after Brooklyn where it also has a shop within Whole Foods.
Allegro Coffee Company was founded in 1977 in Boulder, CO, and was one of the first certified organic roasters in the country. It was bought by Whole Foods in 1997 and, since then, Whole Foods has offered Allegro’s coffee as its signature house roast. Allegro continues to operates as its own business entity from its Boulder HQ.
At the new Berkeley store, Allegro will be roasting and grinding beans on-site. The coffee shop will be at one end of the store with a separate roll-up door for those who want to drop by for coffee and aren’t necessarily shopping for groceries. Whole Foods spokesperson Beth Krauss said there will be “a nice breezy seating area outside the venue too.”
Jeremy Stone will be running the Allegro shop at Whole Foods. “Coffee is a nearly all-encompassing passion of mine,” he said, “and I love to bring new coffees and techniques to people to help them find their perfect cup. I spend my free time haunting coffee shops, chatting up baristas and roasters, and sharing what I learn with my friends.”
Allegro’s house blend is Espresso 924, a mixture of beans from Guatemala, Malawi and Ethiopa. The coffee was named in honor of Berkeley’s 924 Gilman, the famous volunteer-run music venue which has spawned a number of well-known punk rockers and bands, most notably Green Day.
Allegro will serve the usual range of espresso drinks, including cappuccinos and lattes, as well as Nitro cold-brew coffee on tap, hand-brewed Chemex, French Press, and a Hario V60 single cup pour-over. The shop is using organic Clover dairy products from Northern California.
Much of the roaster’s small-lot, single origin coffees are sourced on a seasonal basis by Darrin Daniel who travels to small, responsibly-run coffee plantations and co-ops around the world to bring blends back to Allegro. The video below, shot by Dark Rye, shows Daniel on a sourcing trip in Peru:
The new Whole Foods store is part of a commercial renaissance in Berkeley’s Gilman neighborhood. Across the street from where it will open next month is a new complex housing Office Depot, which moved to make way for Whole Foods, along with new businesses including Soccer Pro, Road Runner Sports, Dolly Doughnut, and the soon-to-open Farm Burger. Allegro also has local competition in the form of Philz Coffee which opened its second Berkeley shop there in July.
Whole Foods’ original Berkeley store, at the intersection of Telegraph and Ashby, has a coffee cart set up outside the store operated by members of the Whole Foods bakery team. It serves Allegro coffee’s basic blend rather than “the more specialty/craft experience offered by Allegro at Gilman” according to Krauss.
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