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13 March, 2015

The Indie Coffee Passport – East Bay

Comments : 4 Posted in : Announcements, Coffee Shops on by : The Gourmez

Last week, Marc Callado, who launched Shift Local in 2012 with his fiancée Mari, swung by my About Me page to let me know about an amazing opportunity for lovers of coffee on this side of the Bay.  When I say this is a bargain, folks, I say it as someone who knows just how much a standard drip coffee can run these days, much less a pourover or espresso drink of any form. I’m a freelance writer, I work at home, I know coffee. Even more so, I know the value of local coffee shops.

indie coffee passport

The Indie Coffee Passport costs $25 + tax, and it is good for 22 drinks at the participating cafes. 22 drinks! That’s an amazing deal! And with that work-at-home cred I just established, I also know how important getting out of the house is, which is the fun part of this bargain. Because each of those 22 drinks represents 22 locally owned coffeehouses in the East Bay, and you can redeem 1 drink at each of them. Maybe you are someone who takes comfort in always showing up at the same café…I am not. I try somewhere new nearly every week, and the Indie Coffee Passport would increase my motivation to do so, if that’s even possible.

And what’s better? Those coffeehouses are easily accessible. As Marc wrote, “These 22 shops are all independent coffee shops in 8 East Bay cities along Highway 580 and BART. The idea is to get people to try out and experience the blossoming independent coffee scene in the East Bay and also to explore a variety of interesting neighborhoods in Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany, Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda, Hayward and Dublin.”

A pourover from Eko in Hayward, which I reviewed last year and is participating in the Passport.

A pourover from Eko in Hayward, which I reviewed last year and is participating in the Passport.

Walking distance from BART?! This promotion couldn’t smell better to me if they dipped it in tri-tip seasonings and set it on the grill. As I can attest from using the Santa Cruz Winegrowers’ Association Passport, simply getting stamps on my passport will keep me entertained. (Yes, it’s that easy.)

Coffee Passport


That’s a scan of the passport, which folds up to business card size to fit easily into a wallet so that it’s easily accessible. And yes, that’s the full list of participating cafes as well, nicely divided by city.

The Catch? You can only use the passport through August 31, 2015. Why? Because this is a promotion, my dears, designed to introduce you to the wonderful coffeehouses you’ve overlooked so you’ll go back again, again, and again in the future. And you can bet there will be very little money made on the endeavor. At a little over $1 per drink and considering printing and mailing costs, the coffee shops are basically giving them away. Knowing all that, I honestly think the end date of August 31 is generous. I know I’ll be drinking that amount of coffee times a million in the next 5 months, and that’s likely an underestimation.

The Catch #2? You can only pick from a menu of 6 drinks at each cafe, but those menus have quite a range as most of the cafes are wisely showing off some of their signature drinks. Chrysanthemum tea, frappuccinos, iced coffee, and peppermint mochas are a few of the offerings I’ve seen. You will find something that works for you at each of them, even if you don’t drink coffee. The full list of participating cafes and their menus is right here.

Are you in?  Purchases go through their website here. You will eventually be able to purchase them at some of the participating cafes, but that’s not an option quite yet. While you’re at it, why not also check out Marc and Mari’s Shift Local site and sign up for the newsletter?


This dynamic duo is coming up with lots of ways to make buying local fun, and I’m excited to see what’s next. I’ll sure be caffeinated enough to enjoy it.


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