7:30 a.m. Thursday: Best Organic Coffeehouse 

Montero's Coffeebar

Even before Berkeley distinguished itself nationwide with its proposal to make fair-trade coffee mandatory at every java house in town, Montero's (owners of two quite decent Mexican restaurants in Berkeley) took a chance that Berkeleyites would respond favorably to a new organic coffee shop. Situated next to Montero's on University Avenue, the tiny walk-up coffee counter isn't exactly in a high-traffic pedestrian zone. But it's the first coffee shop that many locals in surrounding neighborhoods can actually walk to, and there are a few nice little bistro tables to sit at behind the shop. It's right on the way to North Berkeley BART, and is probably the only coffee shop in town with consistently plentiful parking for those zooming down University on their way to brave the morning commute. Best of all, Montero's Coffeebar serves up a fine coffee specimen and employs some of the nicest baristas in town.

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