You may be new to Strada, or maybe you’ve known us for a long time. We’ve been around for over 30 years. We’re a Berkeley landmark specializing in delicious espresso drinks. And though we talk about espresso a lot, we’re proud to say we’re the originators of the White Hot Chocolate. (Just ask Guittard Chocolate in Burlingame.) We’re happy we’ve been named “Best café” many times and even one of the 50 best coffeehouses in the US. (Thank you, Complex Magazine!). Over the years many people have enjoyed our drinks on our lovely patio at the crossroads of town and gown, overlooking the UC Berkeley campus. When he was vice-president, Al Gore even dropped by to check us out.
It all started in 1989 as a family business. We wanted to offer great quality espresso drinks and keep the “express” in the espresso. This was important since we often have long lines of students and professors who need to get their drinks fast on their way to class. Quick service and expertly made espresso drinks became our signature.
We’ve kept it simple all these years, but we’ve seen trends come and go. $5 mochas served in tiny cups. Mint leaves. Independent places now owned by Investment Funds and German Conglomerates. Through all of it, we’ve stayed the same. Do we get accused of not keeping up with the times? Of course we do. But that’s the beauty of being independent. We’re happy with what we do. And we’ve made a lot of friends along the way.
From our Caffè Strada baristas who have perfected espresso-making into an art form, to the Berkeley students and professors and staff, to our community here and the rest of the world, our friends have had countless meetings, classes, and discoveries (like Ribet’s theorem, for our fellow nerds), along with their espressos, right here in this very spot. So much so that we created a whole section called Strada Stories. Check them out when you get the chance, and one day we hope you add your own.
So, pull up a chair. Or don’t. Either way, we’ve got a pipin’ hot espresso waiting for you.
The Original White Hot Chocolate
There are imitators everywhere. It’s now in every café. Where did it start? Right here at Strada. In 1989 we started experimenting with white chocolate from Guittard Chocolate, a local Chocolate maker. Soon it was outselling regular chocolate and competitors were ordering large cups of it, leaving it untouched and walking out the door to try to duplicate it. Were we outraged? Nope. That whole thing about imitation and flattery. Also, the greatness of White Hot Chocolate should be available to everyone.
Great things happen here. People meet. Lattes are sipped. Theories are discovered. It’s true. Harvard professor Barry Mazur and UC Berkeley professor Ken Ribet chatted over a cappuccino and realized that Ribet had solved the Epsilon Conjecture (Ribet’s Theorem). Check out the whole story.
Al Gore was here
Where does the man who invented the internet get his coffee? When he’s in Berkeley, he gets it at Strada. In 1997, then Vice-President Gore dropped by to check out our famous White Hot Chocolate. His interns, Cal students, had been raving about it while working with him in DC. We’ve got the photos to prove it.