Awaken Cafe: Greenie Award Winner listed on Oakland Unwrapped!

The Bar at Awaken Cafe

The Bar at Awaken Cafe

For OneCalifornia Foundation, all nominees, finalists, and winners at the Indie Awards are winners because their work ties into the work of the foundation: helping to create this vibrant, diverse, and thriving community that is Oakland! We love the work these businesses and artists do, and think it’s great when it just so happens that their work intertwines with ours! This year, the winner of the Greenie Award was Awaken Café–who, besides brewing a mean latte, serving tasty organic treats, and supporting local musicians and artists, sells their coffee and so much more on our online marketplace, Oakland Unwrapped!


Awaken Café opened its doors last year, but it took lots of hard work and conscious community investigating to bring this community-oriented and eco-conscious café to fruition. Before whipping up its first latte, co-founders Cortt Dunlap and Kari Christensen conducted a community survey to see what residents would ideally want in a café, instead of opening another coffee shop in the vein of Starbucks. Dunlap and Christensen also introduced the idea of a Café Creator Card to Oakland, allowing residents to buy high-valued coffee cards to Awaken Café. From this innovative idea, not only did Dunlap and Christensen get money from community members to cover the initial costs of opening a business, the cards gave the café investors an excellent return on their investment–organic coffee and treats from Awaken Café–as well as the opportunity to participate in Awaken Café meetings to voice their opinions on how they want the café to grow and what they want the café to offer the community.

Although Awaken Café might primarily be known for its coffee, food, chill ambience, and art shows on First Fridays, at the Indie Awards Awaken Café received the Greenie Award, which recognized its recipient for its “sustainable practices.” In Awaken Café’s case, this meant reusing materials from the former owner of the location in its remodel–from the old door as a menu to salvaged redwood ceiling beams–to recycled materials for the counter and bar. It also meant serving all food and drinks in compostable or recyclable containers and giving customers a discount for bringing in their own coffee mug. In fact, everything can be recycled or composted at Awaken Café–no garbage cans are on site! Awaken Café does not just practice its eco-conscious ways; it is recognized and certified by community networks, as Awaken Café is a member of Sustainable Business Alliance, the Green Chamber of Commerce, and the Green Café Network. It was for all these reasons that the judges awarded Awaken Café with the 2009 Greenie Award.

To learn more about Awaken Café, check out their website or stop by! After all, they are open seven days a week.  And to see them on Oakland Unwrapped, where you can buy coffee, cool t-shirts, art and CDs by local artists featured at the café, as well as Café Creator Cards, visit the Oakland Unwrapped! website.

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