Android's Andy Rubin plans to join Googler caffeine fest in Los Altos

Googler and ex-Android guy Andy Rubin is apparently among the cabal that is secretly working to make sure there is one coffee shop for each and every one of Los Altos’ 30,000 residents.

The Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that Rubin is up to something caffeine related in the tony valley suburb that features fat wallets, monster homes and more coffee shops than you could shake a stick at. (Now why you’d want to do that, I don’t know. Shake a stick at coffee shops, I mean.)

The SV Biz Journal acknowledges that Rubin’s plans are little vague. The story is based on his Facebook post which is offering some barista his or her big coffee break:

“Who are the best Latte artists you know? I’m looking to hire two or three world-class Latte artists to practice their craft at a new-formula cafe in Los Altos, California. “

So, we know he’s going for a cafe. We know it’s going for a new formula. (I hope he doesn’t stray too far from coffee + water = hot beverage goodness.) And we know he can afford it. The SVBJ recounts his lucrative career — helping start Danger, the buzzy mobile play, and Android, which Google found extremely interesting.

While cafe au lait might seem like a weird left-turn for a tech heavyweight, the culinary calling is not without precedent. Who can forget Jonathan Kaplan’s (father of the Flip camera) 2011 pivot to grilled cheese sandwiches with the Melt? (What do you mean you forgot? Have you tried one of those bad boys?)

Rubin is also buying (apparently quite literally) into a rich tradition of Googler-backed coffee enterprises in Los Altos, which is just down the hill from ultra-rich Los Altos Hills. Sergey Brin, of whom you’ve perhaps heard, is apparently bank-rolling several square blocks of the berg through an outfit called  Passerelle Investment Co., which is no doubt some clever techie reference, but I don’t have time to look it up.

The Wall Street Journal, which reported the arrangement last year, says that Passerelle, backed by Google co-founder Brin, has bought up some downtown buildings and is subsidizing the rents for some of the businesses in them. Among the groups tenants, according to the Journal, is Bumble, a coffee shop “that has a supervised children’s play area and sandbox.” (Hmmm. Sounds like a new formula, unless you count McDonald’s Playland.)

It would seem that Rubin’s joint would be a direct competitor with Bumble, a cafe that Brin is known to frequent, by which I mean he’s been seen there. OK, at least once. Reportedly. Well, someone told me he saw Brin there.

No word yet on whether Brin is planning to cut his employee a break on the rent.

(Photo of Andy Rubin at Google in 2010 by Mercury News photographer Patrick Tehan)

 Note on 7.25.13: In this post I originally referred to Andy Rubin as an ex-Googler. Though he is no longer on the Android project, he is still at Google.

Mike Cassidy Mike Cassidy (173 Posts)

I write about the culture of Silicon Valley for the San Jose Mercury News.