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.