Customer Profile: Fred Branaman

Heidi Bennett was Julie’s first employee and original manager for the first four years of business. She’s since moved on to become a Certified Professional Life Coach, but loves the cafe so deeply she continues to work with Julie as her promotional assistant. Her latest cafe related venture is interviewing customers and employees. We hope you enjoy getting to know our community as much as she has.

CUSTOMER NAME: Fred Branaman

OCCUPATION: Electrical Distribution Technician for Alameda Municipal Power


Heidi Bennett: Hi Fred. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me! Tell me about your job with Alameda Power.

Fred Branaman: I work in the engineering department. We design high voltage / low voltage systems for new businesses in Alameda; all the new businesses and even residential solar. I’ve worked with Joel (Julie’s husband) on residential solar projects, in fact he’s going to install solar on the building we’re in (Julie’s!)

HB-So you live in Alameda?

FB – Yes, over near Philip Neri School.

HB – Do you go to Encinal Market?

FB – Yes, all the time!

HB – I’m surprised I haven’t run into you there, I go there all the time myself!

FB – Well, we do see each other all the time at Yo Jimbo’s, it’s my favorite place for Japanese food.

HB – Well, it’s mine too, I just went there for lunch! Conveniently right next to Julie’s and such nice owners. Very accommodating and sweet.

So, when did you first start coming to Julie’s?

FB – Oh, when it opened. I inspected the electrical, I knew it was going to be a coffee house and so I started meeting my friend and co-worker George here for coffee at 2:00pm each day. It started out as a business meeting and turned into more of a social occasion.

HB – What has made you a long time Julie’s customer.

FB – I like the people here, I like the atmosphere and I like the vegan food. I’ve been a vegan now for 8 years and Julie’s has really good food and options for eating and drinking vegan. Soy milk, oat milk, pastries too! I’ve really gotten to know the people that work here and some have even become house sitters while I’m out of town. I’ve become good friends with long time previous employees like Karen, Ivel and you. I even attended your engagement party here at Julie’s!

HB – This is a question I wrote with you in mind. How have your ordering habits changed over the years?

FB – I came in a coffee drinker and turned into a tea drinker. I mostly drink herbal teas and green teas now. At home I have a tea pot and in fact, I drink so much tea now that when we remodeled our kitchen I added a hot tap so I always have hot water at the ready.

HB – that’s so awesome!

FB – Coming to Julie’s turned me into a tea drinker. I share a pot of tea with friends or my wife Donna. She loves to come in and get breakfast on the weekends after hitting the yard sales. We bring friends here for dinner sometimes then head to the movies and our carnivorous friends like the food here too.

HB – I love eating the egg dishes and vegan stuff too.

FB – When I became a vegan it was easy to keep coming here because there are so many options. Peet’s has a few vegan pastries but Julie’s has house made, organic pastries, salads, soups, such a variety and so fresh! And it’s a local place, it’s not a chain, that’s another reason to love Julie’s. It’s not a corporate mentality, It’s got Julie’s personality!

HB – Yup, all over it!

F – I love the live music, it’s always nice to bring your friends and they’ll be treated well and have a good experience.

HB – What is your favorite order at Julie’s right now.

FB – The Patty Salad. I like the soups but the Patty Salad is always a winner. It’s available earlier in the day than the soup and that works for me because I start work at six thirty in the morning. The house made sauerkraut is absolutely delicious. I love getting it on the side. The vegan pumpkin muffins are great too.

HB – What do you think might surprise people about Julie’s.

FB – Hmm, the garden. I think people might walk by and not realize how big the garden is, in the back. Most of the time the weather is perfect and that’s where I’ll be, in the garden. Also, just how good the food is here. Even stuff that I don’t eat, like the grilled cheese sandwich, it’s something people absolutely rave about.

HB – do you have any special Julie’s memories?

FB – I met a woman in Marin at a silent retreat and we knew each other from Julie’s. That was just kind of cool to recognize someone who was another Julie’s regular outside of the immediate area.

Another thing is, my friend George, who I’ve been meeting with here since day one has now become a vegetarian. Trying the food here really helped him make that transition. He had some serious health issues and his doctor told him he needed to make a major change in what he was eating so Julie’s helped out in that transition. Something kinda fun is that I have a mannequin that I take pictures of at different landmarks and I brought her in so that Karen could pretend to serve her coffee and I could take a picture.

HB – You are describing much of what we wanted to provide when Julie’s opened. A community space where you feel comfortable and want to bring your friends to share the experience, and you can come here by yourself and feel a sense of community.

FB – It brings the younger people in, it brings everyone in, it feels open to all.

HB- Any tips for people new to Julie’s.

FB – Yes, take a look at the menu. You’ll find specials listed on the boards, but the menu is full of fun. Ask about the teas. Everyone is knowledgeable, accessible, and can teach you about water temperature, steep time etc. It’s a friendly and approachable way to learn about tea.

HB – Thank you so much Fred, it was a pleasure to sit and spend time with you!

Heidi Bennett is a Certified Professional Life Coach and lives in Oakland, CA. She enjoys frolicking with her rescued Tibetan Spaniel, Poki, getting to ride her beach cruiser to yoga, singing with her brother in an old time bluegrass band, meeting friends for tea at Julie’s, and hosting barbecues with her husband. Learn more about her coaching practice at:




Customer Profile: Jennifer Serr

We are excited to present the first of our customer interviews!
Jennifer Serr of
Sewing with Jennifer Serr shares her Julie’s stories with Heidi Bennett, long time friend and colleague of Julie’s…read on!

Customer Name: Jennifer Serr

Occupation:  Owner and lead instructor at the Sewing Room in Alameda

City of residence: Alameda

Heidi Bennett: When did you start coming to Julie’s?

Jennifer Serr:
About 8 years ago

HB: What has made you a long time customer?

JS: Julie’s feels like an extension of my home. It’s really comfortable. I like what’s on the menu, it’s really healthy and there are plenty of Gluten Free options.. Julie’s always has the tea I want, prepared the way I want and then served to me and it’s just perfect.

HB: So, that makes it better than home!

I really like the décor, the music, the people. I’ve met lot’s of people here that I’ve had long relationships with. I met Sue here and after chatting we realized we lived on the same street, we had daughters that were interested in similar things, and we had a lot in common. I met you (Heidi) and I met Julie. I continue to come back and have meetings with groups, and meet new people all the time. In fact, there’s five people in here right now that I know, so it feels very familiar and cozy.

HB: What do you think might surprise people about Julie’s?

I think it might be the food. How carefully thought out the food is and the intention of wellness behind it. It’s delicious but it’s also meant to nourish you in many ways.

HB: How have your ordering habits changed over the years?

Well, they definitely have changed over the years, because when I first started coming in I only ordered tea. Then, when she started offering more food, I started having the food, and then when she started offering the wine, I started drinking the wine. It’s definitely evolved with Julie and what she’s offered. This tea I’m drinking for instance, the Pu-erh, I asked for a strong tea and it was suggested to me and now it’s my staple tea.

HB:What is your favorite order at Julie’s?

If I come for breakfast it’s the granola or the baked eggs. For lunch I love the Bunny Salad. For dinner it’s would be soup or salad. I’d love to see a heartier, warm polenta dish, and an occasional meat dish as a dinner offering.

HB: Do you have any favorite Julie’s stories?

 JS: Julie and I were caught in a fashion exchange that ended up being covered in Alameda Patch. Julie bought a shirt from me in my Etsy store and I brought it in and the editor of Alameda Patch was here so it became a local news blurb.

HB: Any tips for a someone new to Julies?

JS: Try new things! Oh, and take your cell phone calls out front 

HB: Thank you for taking the time to share your Julie’s experience, Jennifer!

JS: My pleasure, I LOVE Julie’s!

Curious about Jennifer’s Sewing Room and sewing classes?
Find her at:

Julie’s Fresh and Seasonal Food Menu

…offers a little something for everyone!

Whether you’re craving protein, have a sweet tooth, eat vegan or prefer your desserts gluten free, there’s something delicious waiting for you at Julie’s coffee and tea garden.

Julie’s ever expanding menu offers a variety of seasonal specialties with changing soup, salad & warm sandwich specials that invite everyone to the table. In a café that feels both homey and modern, a place to find comforting house-made porridge along with effervescent house-made kombucha, Julie’s menu is inclusive rather than exclusive.

Chef Nichole Dezek joined the Julie’s team last fall and has been busy adding depth of flavor and expanding our menu to include even more variety. She’s inspired by the change of the seasons, local produce and making delicious food (such as gluten-free almond, cranberry cake!) for a variety of palates and dietary needs.Following are a few of our unique menu items we’re excited for you to try….
Rotating Specials are updated on our website daily.

The Patty Salad
Our Patty Salad is very filling and features warm, vegan’gluten-free rice & bean patties on a bed of baby greens with veggie garnishes and a special dressing. The flavors and dressings change so check the specials board for our daily offering.

Three flavors will be offered:
-“Red Lentil Curry” with currants, red bell pepper and tahini dressing
-“White Bean Sage” with fennel, cherry tomatoes and mustard sage dressing
-“Spicy Black Bean” with cilantro, bell pepper and avocado-lime dressing

A protein-rich and flavorful lunch option


 Cheese Plate
Julie expertly pairs artisan cheeses with a variety of interesting sides including citrus marinated olives, house roasted almonds with sea palm or fruit compote along with a crusty baguette. Cheese plates go well with a variety of our beer, wine and cocktails.

Vegan Paté
Rich, savory, creamy walnut-lentil paté  is served with toasted focaccia, drizzled with olive oil and served with sliced cucumber. Our vegan paté is delicious, filling and pairs well with our raw kale and seaweed salad.

Pop in when you’re feeling hungry and see what’s cooking at Julie’s!

We thank you for your continued support of  local art and commerce, community, coffee and tea.



SECRETS EVERYWHERE – Art From Upcoming Public Scavenger Hunts
show and scavenger hunt runs March 14-May 5 at Julie’s

OPENING PARTY featuring an in-house scavenger hunt!
Friday, March 14th 7-9pm

A message leads to a park bench.
Beneath the park bench is a puzzle.
The puzzle gives a phone number.
Calling the phone number plays a coded message.
Decoding the message gives the combination to a lock-box hanging off a pier.
Inside the lock-box…

Secrets Everywhere is an ongoing scavenger hunt leading participants to the locations of hidden art.
Follow the path, solve the clues, take home the art you find!
The goal is to remove people from their mundane daily routines and lead them out toward adventure.
It is free to participate!

Adam Davis is an illustrator in the San Francisco Bay area. He specializes in children’s illustrations, video-game and music related art. He has worked as a sign artist for Trader Joe’s, a poster artist for Grand Fanali Presents, a full-time touring musician and stay-at-home Dad. He recently completed a dinosaur themed project, funded by The Awesome Foundation, placing one hundred small, hand-painted canvases around the bay area, leaving clues as to their whereabouts. This was the catalyst for the creation of Secrets Everywhere.

Jan/Feb Art

Been (1)

photography by Manjot Bal

Manjot has been exposed to multicultural values and ideas through her education and her line of work. She is a graduate of Computer Science and a Post Baccalaureate of Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute. She takes pride in SFAI’s rich history and its extensive engagement in the historical, theoretical, sociopolitical, and creative concerns of the contemporary moment.

Her works essentially focus on creating a parallel world, but at the level of the human psyche. She believes that once the outer skin is peeled off, one finds astounding similarities on how a human mind perceives the world despite any differences in race, color, or geographical factors. What fundamentally impacts the mind is how it has been nurtured.

With juxtaposition of elements of dreams, thoughts and what the human mind endures, Manjot intends to create surrealist images that stimulate both the eye and the mind. These works are often accompanied by words of her own. She bases her works on a simple principle, “The body can never reach as far as the mind will. Neither can it endure what the mind does.” She attempts to explore these atrocities and the ecstasies of the mind through her photographs.


Opening Reception:

Friday, Jan 10th, 7-9pm

Show runs Jan 10- March 10






New Bottled Brews

hazelnut-brown-label        19-original-colonies-mead-label

We are excited to announce that we are now serving two of ROGUE FARMS’ delicious brews:

19 Original Colonies Mead
This magical Mead is made with Rogue’s own honey. Situated across from 40 acres of Rogue hops, 19 colonies of bees were carefully kept and fed. The honey was then extracted, filtered and brewed as jasmine tea-infused Mead. Effervescent, floral and refreshing.
5 Ingredients: Rogue Hopyard Honey, Wild Flower Honey, Jasmine Silver Tip Green Tea Leaves, Champagne Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water

Hazelnut Brown Ale
From the hazelnut capital of the world, this nutty twist to the traditional European Brown Ale not only boasts a rich flavor and smooth malty finish, but back-to-back GABF Gold Medals as well. Amazing pared with our famous chocolate chip cookie!

2012 GABF – Gold
2011 GABF – Gold
2011 World Beer Championships – Silver
2010 World Beer Championships—Gold

Learn more about Rogue Farms:


beyond borders
Beyond Borders
metal sculptures from Haiti

In the small artisan villages of Haiti, the air rings with the sound of metal banging against metal.  This traditional cottage industry art of converting cast off steel oil drums into metal sculptures has been passed down through four generations in Haiti in and around Port-au-Prince.  It is a true mark of man’s imagination and his resourcefulness in the face of dire economic circumstances.

Using 55-gallon steel oil drums, the artist first removes both ends of the drum, reserving those pieces for smaller sculptures and the popular 23 inch round lid designs. Next, he stuffs the drum with straw, igniting it to burn out any residues while also removing any paint on the drum. When it has cooled, he slices it down one side and pounds it into a flat four-by-six foot piece of metal “canvas.” With a stick of chalk, the artist then draws his intended design on to the metal sheet. Finally, he applies a hammer and chisel to the task; cutting, shaping, and contouring the piece to its completion.  No electricity, machinery, welding or repetitive stamping in used to create these metal sculptures.

The 100 artisans who work with Beyond Borders are folk artists in the classic sense.  They use materials around them in new and inventive ways to create wonderful pieces of art.  At the same time they are able to create better lives for themselves and their families through trade.  By purchasing a handcrafted item from Beyond Borders, you can be absolutely sure that the artist who made it has been well-compensated.  We commend your support of socially aware and environmentally sound trade practices.


Each metal sculpture comes with a weather-proof coating that will wear over time outdoors, resulting in an appealing rusty natural patina.  If preferred, the shiny metal finish can be maintained by simply applying a spray-on enamel clear coat every year or two, and the sculpture will continue to look the same as the day you bought it.

Find that perfect gift at Julies

Think of Julie’s when looking for the perfect gift.
-Bulk Coffee & Tea
-Tea brewing accessories
-Garden Art
-Hand-blown glass globes, hummingbird feeders & solar garden light stakes
…just to list a few. Gift cards too!

teapots & cups          Hand-blown glass orbs

Psychic Readings Tuesdays 4-7pm

Join Mary Spicer – Professional Psychic & A Good Life Development Coach
at Julie’s Tuesdays 4-7pm

Life can be confusing, expert advice can bring clarity, understanding, and BIG picture awareness when making decisions in your life. I am honored to provide clear, compassionate, accurate, useful guidance to my clients. I use my years of training as an intuitive, energy healer and professional psychic to help bring awareness to what your body and energy is expressing in order to help you understand, heal, and gently shift the circumstances in your life. Together, in session we work to inspire self trust, compassion, solutions, confidence, motivation, a larger perspective and inner awareness. A good re-visioning of personal, business and creative issues and confusion can create clarity, self honoring and bring deeper meaning to your life.

$35 for 15 Minutes Sessions * Cash & Check Accepted * Bring a Recorder or Notebook
To Schedule an Appointment please email
For more info, testimonials, mini-meditations and The Mary Spicer Radio Show Archive go to

Four Shillings Short – Celebrating the Celtic New Year with music, stories & poetry on Oct 25th

559796_10152255720337519_219534450_nEvery year we are excited to bring back the talented, hilarious and highly entertaining Four Shillings Short!

Friday, October 25th 8:00-9:30pm (doors open at 7:30)Four Shillings Short play a fantastic array of instruments (over 30) including Hammered Dulcimer, Mandolin, Mandola, Bouzouki, Tinwhistles, Recorders,  Medieval and Renaissance Woodwinds, North Indian Sitar, Charango, Bowed Psaltery, Banjo, Bodhran, Guitar, Percussion, vocals and even a Krumhorn.

Celebrating their 18th year together, the husband/wife duo of Aodh Og O’Tuama from Cork, Ireland and Christy Martin from California, tour in the US and Ireland, are independent folk-artists with 10 recordings, perform 150 concerts a year and live as the Troubadours of old traveling from town to town performing at Music festivals, theatres & performing arts centers, coffeehouses, folk societies, libraries and schools.

Julie’s will offer a menu of harvest time specialties.
$10 suggested donation for the band.