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      SPECIAL: Free Delivery in Oakland!
      SPECIAL: Free Delivery in Oakland!
      the freshest, most delicious, high-quality spices

      Oaktown Spice Shop

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      When John Beaver and Erica Perez moved to Oakland in 2009, they found a community that placed immense value on food.


      But they noticed that while people were buying their produce at the farmer’s market and their meat at the butcher shop, they were not putting as much thought into where they bought their spices.

      John had developed a fascination with spices early on, mentored by William Penzey, Sr. at The Spice House, a local, family-run spice shop in Milwaukee's historic downtown.

      Each spice made him think of a new and different place, its history and its terrain. How remarkable, for example, that India did not have chiles until the 16th century, sometime after they were ferried by Columbus from the Americas to Europe. Now, chiles are integral to Indian cuisine and the modern culture.

      Under Penzey’s tutelage, John also became intimately familiar with the properties of each spice. Cinnamon chips had to go through the mill in several steps to reduce their woody, fibrous matter to powder, which then had to be rubbed by hand through the smallest screen to produce deliciously delicate dust.

      John quickly learned the difference between high-quality whole spices -- bursting with flavor, plump in shape and vibrant in color -- and their inferior counterparts. Grinding spices in the mill every day also taught him the advantage of freshly ground spices. The moment a whole spice is ground, it begins to release its oils and lose flavor. Grocery store spices, ground years before, were paltry substitutes for the freshly ground stuff.

      In 2011, John and Erica opened Oaktown Spice Shop and the business has grown to a full team of employees, two retail shop locations and a growing number of restaurants, bakeries and bar customers -- not to mention chocolatiers, distillers, popcorn producers and candy makers -- who source their spices from the shop.


      Erica and John, owners
      Just a couple of their world class spices


      KOA: Why did you decide to open up shop in Oakland?
      ERICA AND JOHN: We lived right around the corner from the first shop location in Oakland, and we thought the community would love a shop dedicated to spices, the same way they love the local butcher, local bakery and local farmer's market.

      KOA: How long have you lived in the community?
      Erica and John: 11 years

      KOA: What do you love about Oakland? 
      ERICA AND JOHN: We love the people of Oakland. We love that it is a welcoming and inclusive city.

      KOA: What does your store say about Oakland?
      ERICA AND JOHN: Oakland is spicy! People here love food, and they love to try new things.

      KOA: What are some other local shops you love?
      ERICA AND JOHN: Umami Mart, Preserved, Oakland Yard, Oaklandish, Oak Common, Silver Moon, Kosa Arts, Red Bay Coffee, Cupcakin Bake Shop, Angel Cakes Cupcakes, Crown Nine Jewelry, Maple Street Denim

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        from $6.75

        Zahtar

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        A versatile blend with many incarnations, Zahtar (aka Za'atar) can be used as a simple condiment with olive oil for dipping bread or baked on flat ...

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        from $6.75
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        from $6.25

        Cumin, Ground

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        We grind cumin seeds every week or two, making our version of this staple incredibly fresh. Introduced by the Spanish to Latin America, cumin is on...

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        from $6.25
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        from $3.00

        Cinnamon, Korintje Sticks

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        These cassia cinnamon sticks hail from Indonesia. They're perfect for infusing hot drinks, adding flavor to stews and curries and spicing up liquid...

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        from $3.00
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        from $4.75

        Thyme, French

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        This dried thyme captures much of the bright notes of fresh thyme. Grown in California. Try it with mushrooms, in egg dishes, salads, roasted potat...

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        from $4.75
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        from $9.50

        Umami Sea Salt

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        Umami: the fifth taste! We use black garlic and shiitake mushrooms to achieve umami rich flavor. This salt will enhance the flavor of meats, soups ...

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        from $9.50
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        from $6.00

        Paprika, Hungarian Sweet

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        Hungarian Sweet Paprika features bright red color and a sweet flavor, perfect for goulash, on roasted or fried potatoes, sprinkled on meats or to a...

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        from $6.00
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        from $5.75

        Grand Lake Shake

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        Rich, peppery, salty and a wee bit sweet. Rub liberally on meat or poultry, or shake into dips, on potatoes or eggs. Also try in your Bloody Mary i...

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        from $5.75
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        from $6.75

        Curry Powder, Madras

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        This versatile curry powder blends the flavors of Madras for a balanced sweetness of cinnamon, cardamom and fenugreek and a touch of cayenne heat. ...

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        from $6.75
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        from $8.00

        Garam Masala

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        The name Garam Masala comes from “heat” and “mix” and refers to the heat of digestion. This blend combines the sweet notes of cinnamon and cardamom...

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        from $8.00
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        from $3.00

        Bay Leaves, Turkish Hand-Select

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        The flavor of these hand-selected Turkish bay leaves only gets better the longer you cook them. The taste is herbal with camphor and a touch of eug...

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        from $3.00
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        from $4.00

        Nigella Seeds

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        You'll find nigella seeds gracing the top of your Indian naan, and bakers are finding it a winsome baking ingredient in other breads and crackers a...

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        from $4.00
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        from $5.25

        Sumac

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        This dried sour berry of a sumac shrub is used widely in Eastern Mediterranean cuisines. Sprinkle it on hummus, a cucumber tomato salad or on grill...

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        from $5.25
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        from $5.75

        Harissa

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        Use this Moroccan blend to make a Harissa condiment by mixing with warm water and extra virgin olive oil. Puree it with parsley, lemon, cilantro, o...

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        from $5.75
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        from $15.00

        Cardamom, Ground

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        The delicate and floral flavor of green cardamom lends warmth to pastries and other desserts. The pungent and camphor tones also make this spice a ...

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        from $15.00
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        from $6.75

        Shichimi Togarashi

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        With this lovely blend of hot, citrus, sea, and nutty flavors, you can spice up udon or ramen soups, rice, sushi, and grilled meats like chicken ya...

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        from $6.75
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        from $5.75

        Chili Powder

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        Our chili powder starts with a base of ground ancho chiles, with notes of cumin, garlic and Mexican oregano. Whip up a hearty and satisfying pot of...

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        from $5.75
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        from $10.25

        Wildflower Dream Tea

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        This delicate tea combines sweet flowers and robust herbs that are known for enhancing sleep. It creates a balanced and soothing cup of bedtime tea...

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        from $10.25
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        from $5.75

        Mexican-Style Adobo

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        Delightfully garlicky and earthy with a contrast of citrus, this blend adds a bit of zestiness to beans, soups, stews, eggs, chicken and pork. Add ...

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        from $5.75
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        from $6.00

        Tellicherry Peppercorns

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        Bring boldness and flavor to your everyday pepper. Our top-grade, extra bold peppercorns come from the pepper capital of the world, Mount Telliche...

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        from $6.00
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        from $6.25

        Cinnamon, Saigon

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        This cassia cinnamon is ground fresh in small batches to guarantee a potently hot, sweet and lingering cinnamon flavor. Our Saigon cinnamon has a m...

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        from $6.25
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        from $5.25

        Honey Powder

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        Honey in a crystalline form, this will dissolve in cold water, so it’s good for cocktails and iced tea. It has a great crunchy texture for sprinkli...

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        from $5.25
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        from $3.50

        Oregano, Mediterranean

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        Fragrant and herbaceous, our Mediterranean oregano is a must-have for salad dressings or red sauces. Try mixing with salt, pepper and garlic for an...

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        from $3.50
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        from $6.00

        Paprika, Spanish Smoked

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        Pimenton de la Vera dulce, as it is known in Spanish, is the sweet variety of red ripened peppers that are smoked over oak fires and deseeded and s...

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        from $6.00
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        from $7.50

        Jamaican Jerk Seasoning

        Oaktown Spice Shop

        Use this hot and savory spice as a rub with salt or in a marinade blended with citrus, vinegar, salt, and dried habaneros. The heat of dried habane...

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        from $7.50