Bites: Cafenated Coffee coming to Gourmet Ghetto, Cult Crackers’ gluten-free matzah

Cafenated Coffee founders Mak and Parisa Jamasbi stand in front of bags of their coffee.
Cafenated Coffee founders Mak and Parisa Jamasbi. Photo: Cafenated Coffee

BERKELEY GETS CAFENATED A new tenant has taken over the space on Vine Street formerly occupied by Berkeley’s ‘clean-food’ café, Mission Heirloom. Cafenated Coffee Company — from husband-and-wife team Mak and Parisa Jamasbi — will open a coffee-focused café in the space in the coming weeks.

Cafenated was founded last year, starting as an online retailer of single-origin coffee made with beans sourced from women farmers at coffee coops in Central America, South America and Africa. The co-owners live in Oakland, have a facility in San Leandro and roast their beans at Berkeley’s CoRo Cofee Roastery. Neither founder has a food industry background; both have worked in the tech industry for years, with Mak also running an online car shopping platform. When Mak was in Guatemala for that business, he and Parisa connected with friends and family, who introduced them to women coffee farmers. After hearing stories from the farmers about the challenges of getting their coffee into the U.S. market, the Jamasbis started Cafenated to help them sell direct to consumers in the States. Even before starting Cafenated, Mak has been a home coffee enthusiast for the last 15 years, experimenting with brewing techniques and creating his own blends from green beans, so when the opportunity to start a coffee business presented itself, the couple decided to jump on it. For the past year, Cafenated has been an e-commerce business, selling mostly to people in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Russia and Japan. But the Jamasbis soon realized they wanted a physical location to showcase their coffees.

They knew they wanted to be in Berkeley. “Since we roast in Berkeley, it was only natural to find a location that’s close to the roaster,” Mak said. They came upon the old Mission Heirloom location in the Gourmet Ghetto and immediately knew it was the place they wanted, not only because of the space itself (which includes an inviting 2000-square-foot outdoor garden space), but the history of the area. “Berkeley has a strong coffee culture, a great appreciation for coffee. Peet’s started there; there’s a great heritage on Vine Street,” he said. When asked whether he felt worried about overly saturating the neighborhood with coffee, which not only has Peet’s, but Guerilla Coffee and will soon be home to Wrecking Ball Coffee’s new café, Mak was not worried. “That’s fine… [The Gourmet Ghetto is] a hot spot for coffee, and I think we’re unique as well,” he said.

When it opens, Cafenated will offer coffee drinks, including seasonal and less common specialties like Swedish iced coffee and Vietnamese egg coffee. It will use Sonoma-based St. Benoit Creamery milk to cream its espresso drinks, or oat milk, for those who want a non-dairy option. There’ll also tea, pastries from Berkeley’s Starter Bakery, yogurt from Sonoma’s Laura Chenel, sandwiches and salads from Oakland’s North Beach Deli, and a simple breakfast menu that is still being determined. The Jamasbis plan to host cuppings and other coffee-focused workshops at the space, as well. And yes, there will be wi-fi. (“Of course, I’m a technology geek!”) The couple hopes to create a space that will be comfortable for the community to relax, work and gather.


The Jamasbis are remodeling the space, taking out most of the refrigerator cases and retail space areas, and adding more seating, communal tables and arm chairs. The couple hopes to finish construction by mid-April, and open with a month-long soft launch in late April. If all goes as planned, they’ll celebrate an official grand opening during the last week of May. Cafenated Coffee House will be at 2085 Vine St. (near Shattuck), Berkeley   

WALK THIS WAY Speaking of the Gourmet Ghetto, there’s an upcoming food-focused event in the neighborhood that might pique your interest, especially if you’re a wine enthusiast. The sixth annual Gourmet Ghetto Wine Walk, taking place 5-8 p.m., April 24, features local and regional wineries offering tastings at about 20 participating neighborhood shops, restaurants and wine shops, which will offer small bites to accompany the wines and special deals during the event. Participating wineries include Berkeley’s Broc and Urbano Cellars, Richmond’s Carica, Lodi’s Lynda Tranel Vineyards, and more. Tickets are $25 in advance ($30 at the event) and include a commemorative Gourmet Ghetto tasting glass and raffle entry for wine country prizes. Proceeds benefit the Berkeley Public Schools Fund, a nonprofit that gives classroom grants to teachers. Tickets will be available for pick-up on the day of the event at 1495 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.

Bottles of Blue Ox wines at the winery's Berkeley tasting room.
Bottles of Blue Ox wines. Photo: Blue Ox Wine Co.

BERKELEY BABE And, while we’re talking about sipping wines in Berkeley — a new wine tasting bar opened in Berkeley’s wine district, just steps from Donkey & Goat and Broc Cellars. Blue Ox Wine Co. was founded in 2017 by Josh Hammerling and Noah Kenoyer (who met while working at Broc). Blue Ox wines include a California sparkling wine, rosé of Carignan, sparkling Valdiguié and Cabernet Pfeffer. Blue Ox’s tasting bar is open from noon to 6 p.m. on weekends. Blue Ox Wine Co., 1350 Fifth St. (between Gilman and Camelia), Berkeley

Organic, gluten-free and grain-free matzah from Berkeley's Cult Crackers.
Organic, gluten-free and grain-free matzah from Berkeley’s Cult Crackers. Photo: Cult Crackers

“NOT YOUR BUBBE’S MATZAH” With Passover beginning in a few days, peak matzah season is upon us, and Berkeley-based wholesale business Cult Crackers is making a special variety of the Jewish unleavened flatbread that’ll appeal to those adhering to gluten-free or grain-free diets. Cult Crackers, which is headquartered at Berkeley Kitchens and is best known for its addictive organic Swedish seed crackers, is now offering small batch matzah made from organic cassava flour, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, coconut oil and Himalayan salt. One big thing to note — it is not kosher. Cult Crackers is selling this artisanal matzah online and at the North Berkeley Farmers Market for the next two Thursdays (from 3-7 p.m., April 11 and April 18).

A sign for Lucky Bird Southeast Asia, a new restaurant coming to downtown Berkeley.
A sign for Lucky Bird Southeast Asia in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Sarah Han

QUICK BITS Tipsters alerted Nosh of two eateries coming soon in Berkeley. We’re still gathering details, but wanted to share what we know:

On Southside, organic juice shop, Juice Originz has closed. Nosh reader Sean Rouse spotted a sign in the window announcing the coming of Savory Kitchen in its place. We have no further information at this time about what type of food will be served or when it will open. Savory Kitchen will be at 2493 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley

In downtown Berkeley, the window at the former Sol y Luna taqueria has a sign up for Lucky Bird Southeast Asia. Prakin Chaipan-Gamble, who owns Lanna Thai in Livermore and whose daughter co-owns Daughter Thai in Oakland, is listed as the owner of the business, which gives us high hopes for what’s to come. Stay tuned for more details. Lucky Bird will be at 1926 Shattuck Ave. (between Berkeley Way and Hearst), Berkeley


HOP TO IT New York-based beer mag Hop Culture returns to the Bay Area for the second coming of its Juicy Brews WestFest. This year, the event takes place from noon to 4 p.m., April 20, at Drake’s Dealership in Uptown Oakland. Head brewers, founders and representatives from 20 craft breweries from around the U.S. will be on hand, offering unlimited 2-ounce pours of newly released and limited-edition beers. Participating breweries include locals like Drake’s, Alvarado Street Brewery, Temescal Brewing and Rare Barrel, as well as farther off beermakers, like Great Notion in Oregon, Resident Culture Brewing Company in North Carolina, The Answer Brewpub in Virginia and Dancing Gnome Beer from Pennsylvania. Food will be offered for sale by Drake’s Dealership, Calavera and local food trucks. Tickets are $60 and include a limited-edition taster designed by artist Sam Taylor. Proceeds benefit West Oakland’s City Slicker Farms. Drake’s Dealership, 2325 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th), Oakland

Attendees visit booths at CUESA's Jack London Square Farmers Market.
Jack London Square Farmers Market. Photo: CUESA

NEW JACK VENDORS Three new vendors have just made a home at the Jack London Square Farmers Market on Sundays. South Berkeley’s worker-owned coffee roaster, Alchemy Collective, sells coffee drinks and beans to brew at home. Watsonville’s Ledesma Farm, a multi-generational family operation, offers organic produce. And Oakland’s Something Better Foods from chef GW Chew (the founder of The Veg Hub vegan restaurant in Oakland’s Dimond district) is cooking up animal-free comfort foods, like Philly “cheezesteaks,” pulled “pork” sandwiches and other vegan eats at the Sunday market. The Jack London Square Farmers Market takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sundays.