Urth Caffé began as Jilla and Shallom Berkman’s dream over 25 years ago. In 1989, they met a passionate coffee farmer named Jorge from a farm in Peru producing organic, heirloom coffee. The Berkmans were intrigued by Jorge’s mission. They discovered many destructive practices were used in coffee production that made it one of the most chemically treated food commodities in the world. Heirloom coffee trees are very rare and have never been genetically modified. The Berkmans decided to become pioneers in health-conscious coffee.
After several years learning how to roast and brew great coffee, they launched the nation’s first exclusively organic, heirloom coffee company. They named it “Urth Caffé” because Urth is an old Welsh root spelling of Earth and Caffé is Italian for coffee. They wanted a name that embodied the natural richness of the earth and delicious organic, heirloom coffee. They were also importing and hand blending fine organic teas, so “Exclusively Organic Coffees & Fine Teas” was added to Urth Caffé’s logo. Shallom and Jilla were indeed pioneers of the “organic food revolution.”
In 1991, Shallom and Jilla opened the first Urth Caffé location in Manhattan Beach, CA. Soon customers were lined up out the door to purchase their soon-to-be famous organic coffees and teas. After three years, it was time to move so the couple expanded to a larger space on Melrose Avenue in the design district of West Hollywood, and added their iconic health conscious breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. In 1997, an Italian Executive Chef was hired to bake all their own signature ancient grain breads and fine desserts in-house.
In 2002, a café opened in Beverly Hills, followed by one in Santa Monica in 2004. This Santa Monica location was designed from the ground up and is a showcase for Jilla’s exquisite interior design sense complete with marble counters and Italian fixtures. In 2008, Urth opened its Downtown LA café and headquarters. Along with offices for their expanding staff, it featured a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen and coffee roastery. The beautiful Pasadena café opened in 2012.
Historic Building Restoration
Urth Caffé expanded into Orange County in 2015. Shallom and Jilla restored one of Laguna Beach’s oldest landmark buildings, The Cottage, to its original Craftsman-like Asian bungalow beauty. In July of that year, Urth Laguna Beach opened to great fanfare and local support.
Currently, Urth is restoring an 1888 iconic two-story Victorian building in Old Towne Orange, once again going the extra mile to reveal and preserve an architectural treasure. This latest café is set to open in late Summer 2017.
Internationally, Urth Caffé has two locations in Tokyo that specialize in the locally grown teas. On the other side of the planet, Riyadh has just opened a world-class, two-story café that is the first to serve exclusively heirloom, organic coffees in the Gulf Coast Countries. Guests watch as delicious foods, breads and pastries are prepared from scratch on-site each day in the bakery and kitchen.
In 2018, Urth Caffé will move its baking, cooking, catering and coffee roasting facility from Downtown LA to its South Bay Commissary & Café in Hawthorne. The site will not only centralize operations, but also offer a sprawling café with an epic South Bay outdoor patio for dining. Urth plans to open its coffee roasting facility for public viewing and to plant its own organic farm. The Berkmans announced in May their newest Urth Caffé Wynn Las Vegas will open in March 2018 in the new Wynn Plaza under construction between the Wynn and Encore Towers.